The Facebook-o-sphere has been buzzing about a recent article that hits people of my age and cultural persuasion straight in the gut. Frannie Kelley’s provocatively titled Has ‘Indie’ Become ‘Adult Contemporary’? has all the ingredients to provoke an outrage. My first response was to answer that question with another question: “Will we dance to booty music at our weddings?”
That’s actually not my question. It belongs to a friend from high school who insisted we call him Drew, was a serial streaker, and bummed rides off of me even though he lived two blocks away from school. But I digress. Drew posed this question in 1999 in the aftermath of yet another homecoming dance dominated by booty music. I immediately rolled my eyes. Of course not! How can you play booty music in an event with grandparents as well as toddlers present? It would be way too awkward to have DJ Laz or Uncle Luke at such an affair; if you’ve ever danced to this music you know there’s only one way to dance to it—dirty and like you mean it.
But Drew’s question hit at something more profound. Whether we realized it or wanted to admit it, this was the music that defined our youth. And during moments of nostalgia, when we sought to recapture those memories, of course THIS would be the music we’d like to play. It’s the same sentiment that has inexplicably carried indie rock from the margins into the mainstream. From the alternative radio of my teen years to my dad’s easy listening station.
But we’re not so old that we can’t enjoy new music. I’ve lately been obsessed with Beyoncé’s “Countdown.” I’m aware of the controversy and I don’t care. As an art historian no image is sacred and beyond that any creative output is up for grabs. Not only is this a great pop song—especially where she breaks it down—but she’s pregnant in it and still dancing. And she’s my age. So if she can still dance dirty and like she means it, so can I.