05 March 2010

Tragically Hip

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She reconsidered the eight story drop to the street
{ Photo: Hertha Humaus, Dwell, March 2004 }

Okay, I admit it: I'm a fairly happy-go-lucky-gal for the most part. Yet I do have my fair share of gloom and doom songs which to my chagrin, don't make for the most engaging blog fodder. So I was pretty elated when Unhappy Hipsters (UH) became a darling of the internet a few weeks ago.

Unhappy Hipsters is a lovely site that pokes beautiful photographic fun at the bobo* lifestyle for the 30-something generation. (a term I learned while working on Land Rover's brand strategy, fittingly enough)

*bobo (adj.): A fairly affluent or educated person who repudiates, denies, or rejects the background from which he or she comes and embraces that of another, most likely lower or less educated, socio-economic one so as to not appear snobbish. Bobos, from the French term “bourgeois bohémien” often graduate from private schools, live in hip, but somewhat sketchy neighborhoods, marry an ethnic or ‘other’ to upset their parents, or espouse unconventional food or cultural traditions to prove that they are above their bourgeois upbringing. As soon as the going gets tough, however, their breeding will show, and they will watch your napkin placement and use at the dinner table.

Serendipitously, UH became a muse to which I've paired some of my fave melancholy tunes that are more tongue + cheek vs. slit your wrists. Essentially, this post is really me being "down". I realize the irony. Enjoy, despite the conundrum. ;) ~Joy

St. Vincent's Marrow
I saw St. Vincent this past winter when she opened for Andrew Bird. Annie Clark is electric in concert (which is why I'm posting a video vs the mp3.) She is waif-esque in appearance yet she writes these gut wrenching tunes that are rich in guitar distortion. This tune in particular embodies the ying/yang nature of Unhappy Hipsters.

Kiss With a Fist
Florence + The Machine 
Love this tune. It's catchy, campy...but give the lyrics a good listen: one hell of a lover's spat, eh?

Nico Vega
Heard this on my morning drive w/this blog post in mind and, "Over time you can kill me, But I'll resurrect so...NANANANANANA" caught my attention immediately.
Bear in Heaven
This band was a find off Seattle's KEXP's weekly download. Dreamy tune w/an ever so slight bitter tone--a wonderful, delicate balance.

Little Lion Man
Mumford + Sons
Mark my words (and essentially every other music blogger's) these guys are going to be huge. Their sound is so robust. The songwriting is superb. If you don't like it out of the gate, stay at least until 1:10 mark. It gets wonderfully layered from there on out. There is a clean version to this song, but the explicit one I'm posting here is essential to get the angst that fits this blog post in particular. Enjoy it fully.

Pursuit of Happiness (Kid CuDi Cover)
Kid CuDi is all the rage now yet I feel this version by LA fusion band Barbara is incredibly smooth and reigns supreme over the original. Sorry, Kid.

Gotta Cheer Up
Cotton Jones
This tune could easily be the soundtrack for ANY of the images posted on Unhappy Hipster. Def take a moment to check out the site-the image captions have a Larry David nature to them. Brilliant.

I've been wanting to feature this song in a blog post for quite a while. Just love the downtrodden lyrics against the melody. My fave part of the song however is when he sings, "C'mon" at the 2:28 point which kicks off the instrumental. Just. Dig. It.
The Almighty Defenders
The quasi-shouting effect in this tune is was grabs and pulls me in. And keeps me there for 4:04 gritty minutes. 

Virginia, Don't Drown
Chin Up Chin Up
This tune was a toss up w/Pinback's Penelope, but then I realized I posted Penelope in my Poster Child post from March '09. Frankly, I'm not precisely sure what these lyrics are even after reading them...love that confusion. Ha!

Sooner or Later (HeartMe! remix)
And I REALLY don't know that Zaza is saying/singing in this song but that it warrants belonging to this post as the vibe is so choice. That, and I wanted to end this post on a tune that will linger with you.


  1. I think we could be friends.

  2. Sooner or Later is a rad track...my favorite of the bunch.