3/29/2014
Because, apparently, the 1975 is a big thing

Now, before you grab pitchforks and call me a hipster, lemme clarify something: I don't have an opinion about the 1975. They're just this band I've heard on my many sojourns on foreign radio, with a song about chocolate and a song about sex; I never really just cared about them, no matter what they did.

Well, maybe it's not surprising that they were brought here for a series of mall shows. An inhumane number, I still maintain: four mall shows in two days (plus a hastily-added "fan meet" on a third) is a bad idea in an urban region where traffic is king. But that aside, not surprising. They're a pop band. They're young and cute and apparently have relatable songs. I can't tell; I'm no longer a teenager.

My dad noticed their billboard along C5 as we went home from work one night, and he asked me: "are they all born in 1975?" They got their name from a poetry book, apparently, when they were still struggling musicians in the early noughties. Maybe they aren't young, after all.

So, yes, I write this as the British band mount the last of their four concerts. I see a photo on Twitter, showing what Dexter described as a "significant crowd", leading to a bad joke about how there are only 1975 people in the crowd, the same way there were only 7107 people in that other crowd five weeks ago.

"I didn't know they were that pop here," Rainy texted me.

Apparently she likes the band. Well, a bit. I don't know. Sometimes I feel Rainy's not telling me about which artists she likes, because it's likely I will be all "ew!" because, really, everybody calls me a hipster.

"Actually they aren't," I answered, playing the expert role I'm not supposed to play. I mean, I don't listen to pop stations anymore, but nonetheless, if you're "that pop" here, I would know, because you would be that ubiquitous, even if you're actually crap, like that putrid song from Frozen.

"[Not] until they were announced to be coming here."

But that I know too. When news that the band would come here came out, there suddenly was an awakening of sorts. Suddenly there was a big fanbase. Suddenly there were lots of shrieking tweeters whose pronouncements make it seem like they're going through the best day of their lives, their la-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aves. (Ugh, I hate that song. Rainy and I agree on that.) Only then did I see their album sold in our record stores. Only then did radio stations play their music. Call me a hipster if you want, but that's ridiculous.

Well, not the fanbase. It's 2014. People listen to music through YouTube now. I know a lot of people who like Haim, and their CD is not yet sold here (although there's what Alana Haim apparently said). So, yes, it's not out of the question that there will be a big following for a band that's technically not introduced here because, well, it's easy to bypass all that now.

But the only time they begin to "exist" - meaning, in everybody else's eyes - is the moment some realize that there's money to be made. Take the 1975. They were a niche concern until someone got them to perform here, and now radio stations are all over them, because there's money to be had in those extra listeners. There's money to be had when someone spends P2.50 on a text saying "please please play 'Sex' thank youuuu!" There's money to be had when someone buys a CD at our excuses for a record store. And there's more money to be hand when those people jostle to buy another CD so they can get in, and another CD so they can have a photo opportunity...

I don't know if I'm just being cynical, if I'm just caring too much about something people reckon I shouldn't care about at all. But really, this is ridiculous. Ridiculously funny.

Of course, this is a thought you can easily, dismissively, shoot down. Yes, I want my favorite bands to come here. Yes, I will probably go gaga when they do. Yes, I bought a second (and third) CD to watch Allison Iraheta live. Yes, I did the same thing for Lindsay Stirling. Yes, I did crazy things to watch Dia Frampton. Why am I being a hater all of a sudden?

Because money is involved, that's why. Because the only time our passions matter is when someone else can make money off of it. (And looking cool. It's really all about looking cool, right? What else explains the bullshit that is Project Pie, an "artisan pizza" restaurant with many branches, therefore diluting the idea of "artisan"? Also, yes, hipster statement.) And because, in the end, there is nothing we can do about it.

And your responses...

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