Indie pop and kitsch

Stephin Merritt

Indie pop has had a complicated relationship with mass culture—it simultaneously depends upon and deconstructs notions of authenticity and truth, and it is especially adept at generating personal authenticity.

It is useful to turn to the concept of kitsch, understood as an aesthetic and not a synonym for bad. Kitsch functions to cultivate personal attachment in the face of impersonal mass culture; it is this aesthetic that indie pop has cultivated through its lo-fi and often nostalgic sound world and through its dissemination, which has relied upon dedicated collectors.

The honesty of indie pop does not arise from an illusion of unmediated communication, but instead from the emphasis on the process of mediation, which stresses the materiality of the music and the actual experience of listening.

This according to “‘…This little ukulele tells the truth’: Indie pop and kitsch authenticity” by Emily I. Dolan (Popular music XXIX/3 [October 2010] pp. 457-469).

Above and below, Stephin Merritt, whose music and career serve as a case study in the article.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Performers, Popular music

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s