The term "hipster" is one that has evolved from a benign adjective used by grandmas and square folk to describe those with an inclination toward the arts and the off-kilter to a derogatory term of implied arrogance.
Although we all know at least one individual who is guilty of the modern hipster's self-importance (perhaps a music journalist?), the negative connotation of "hipster" — at least in our experience — is generally used by people with a predisposition toward feeling inferior. Somewhere in the gray of it are young people who hop trends with little rhyme or reason and strive to completely embody whatever specific artistic existence they've appropriated for the moment. Some examples include the posthardcore folkie, the post-death-metal-noise "musician," the person who graduates from twinkling indie-pop to Sigur Rós records — the paths are many, and the hip are legion.
Generally speaking, of course, one thing these people all share is a lack of reverence for the classics or anything that could be considered even moderately plebeian. A few artists, however, appear to transcend this phenomenon, and Fleetwood Mac is one of them.
Maybe it's the fact that hip girls love gussying up like Stevie Nicks in pseudo-occult jewelry and dark garb sourced from only the darkest bandwidth of Etsy? Maybe it's those infectious melodies that defy genre? Whatever the reason, Fleetwood Mac is a classic band that hip folk still get into. If you're really hip (like, one of those people who writes off anything the Stones did after Brian Jones' death), you might only like the Peter Green era — but, no matter what, you still like Fleetwood Mac.
The Mac is coming to town this week. In our excitement, we've been pondering other classic acts that span the genres and years to have their work come to rest among the songs of hipster Spotify accounts. Join us, if you will, as we take a closer look at some of the classic artists adored by hipsters.
5. The Velvet Underground — Go somewhere that hipsters hang out and you'll no doubt meet someone who looks like a member of the Velvets. Be it the guy wearing Lou Reed leather — regardless of the weather — or someone (guy or gal) rocking a cut that features John Cale's late '60s sweaty bangs, the Velvet Underground has spawned a legion of fans who shamelessly bite its style and aesthetic. Where is your Warhol banana tattoo?
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4. Kraftwerk — Have you listened to so much rock 'n' roll that you've finally concluded that everything made with organic instruments is just too mainstream? Are you digging hard on synth-punk, electro-clash, or bootlegged comps of Brian Eno's Microsoft Windows sound effects? If so, then you almost definitely love Kraftwerk and should get around to listing the guitars collecting dust in your room on eBay.
3. Frank Sinatra — Sinatra's music is timeless, his love songs are infinitely relatable, and just about everyone enjoys something the "Chairman of the Board" did, so much so that Frankie's music might be the only music you and your parents can enjoy together. There are also a lot of well-heeled hipsters who think they're better than you, and Frank Sinatra did self-importance in a suit better than literally anyone, so this all makes a lot of sense. However, if you're really hip, you listen only to Dean Martin, because Dean had so much more soul.
2. Black Flag — For a car to be considered a classic, at least by the hobbyist community, it needs to be at least 30 years old. Black Flag was formed in 1976, and despite the myriad of phases and lineups the band went through, Black Flag might be the only hardcore band still constantly appropriated by hipsters who don't go to hardcore shows. People have ripped off the iconic "bars" logo for everything from cats to Lady Gaga, and most of them still can't name a member of Black Flag who wasn't Henry Rollins.
1. David Bowie — David Bowie is impervious to time, artistic critique, and genre boxing. He is as relevant to the hipster as he is to the average joe in that he always strives to make artistically relevant music that remains accessible. Throughout every phase, from Ziggy to his period biting Trent Reznor's vibe in the '90s to his recent, surprise full-length release, The Next Day, Bowie has made great music that is just so fucking cool that everyone has to love it, even if everyone else loves it.