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Re: Hot Topic Punks in a Fake Punk World

October 9, 2009

Every day I read the headlines on Yahoo. I read a lot of articles and shortly afterward wish I had that 90 seconds of my life back. Rarely do I find articles that I find so frustrating that I decide to write about them. Previously, I have written about Jericho Scott and well…nothing else that I’ve found on Yahoo.

But recently I stumbled on a blog entry titled, “Hot Topic Punks in a Fake Punk World”. Growing up in what I felt like was the heyday of pop-punk (mid/late 1990s) and having an ongoing interest in marketing and the commercialization of musicians and their music I felt compelled to read the article.

I can’t honestly say that the authors thoughts on the topic don’t echo my own. The problem I had with the article was that his criticism comes half a decade (at least) too late. Avril Lavigne hasn’t had a hit since 2007. Blink 182’s last album came out when I was still in college.  Yes, Hot Topic has done a lot to water-down music trends and market genres, but that has been going on for years. I remember being told in high school that MxPx sold-out when they released “Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo”…that was 1998.

More than anything the article bothered me because it felt uninspired, yet I suppose it inspired me to write this. Whether it’s Dave Matthews/John Mayer/etc. on college campuses, the latest Miley Cyrus clone, 50 Cent vs. Kanye or the punk-rock status of Green Day/Blink 182/Avril/whatever, commercial enterprises will continue to find ways to manipulate trends and market their products to their desired demographic. It’s nothing new to take a trend in music and pervert it to the needs of commercialism. I wasn’t old enough to remember, but I bet Sears and JC Penney sold ton of flannels riding the coat-tails of Kurt Cobain in the early 1990s, and Hot Topic selling tight jeans and eyeliner to appeal to a generation that thinks it has the market cornered on “emo” is no different.

As a people we just need to find a way to sift through the mess that is music marketing and decide for ourselves what is good and what isn’t. We need to figure out what we want to wear and decide that we’re going to wear it because it makes us feel good about ourselves, not because it was featured in the latest Britney/Gaga/Attack! Attack! music video. Most of all we need to realize that people are people, and there are reasons that people do things (marketing/conviction/for kicks) that we cannot understand unless we take a moment to listen to what others try to say with the way they live their lives. Only when we listen can we also have meaningful discourse and determine what music/fashion/art truly means to the individual and how these things can impact or be impacted by positive change.

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