The Most Obscure Listener

Maesyn L. Pollock, Hour 1

For days, weeks, months, and years I have pondered, who is the biggest hipster? The person who spends hours meticulously curating their music taste so that when asked their favorite artist at a party they can reply and nobody will know who on God’s green earth it is. I have brooded over this question for many moons and have finally found a definitive (not really) answer. Embark with me on this journey to find The Most Obscure Listener.

The Search

I started my quest with a fresh faced sophomore, Alayna Heibler. Her favorite artists are Olivia Rodrigo and Willow (Will Smith’s Daughter!). When asked if her music taste was similar to her peers, Heibler said, “No, they all listen to country or rap.” Truer words have never been spoken. I see kids listening to country and rap music all the time. In fact, it was just the other week someone had hacked into one of the tv sets in the lower commons and started playing rap music videos. The TV has remained off since. However, the hunt continued as last I checked Oliva Rodrigo has around 37 million monthly Spotify listeners.

Cassie photographed by my home’s doorbell camera

My next interviewee, Geek Squad member Cassie Stremkowski, was strange and off-putting to say the least. “I enjoy new wave artists like Talking Heads, The Cure, The Smiths, and this isn’t new wave but also Will Wood.” Cassie has the music taste of a 50 year old formerly goth person. Cassie had definitely tipped the barrel with Will Wood, who has a little under a million monthly Spotify listeners, but it still wasn’t enough.

Desperate in my search, I began to survey just about anyone who’d listen (my coworkers and Instagram followers). Among my coworkers I found that the least mainstream artist was Bastille. Not good enough, not good at all! Everyone knows Pompeii! That song spent 53 weeks on The Billboard Hot 100! The Instagram survey proved to have more diverse results such as Alex G, and Raleigh Ritchie, among many others. I never hear these folks on the radio but Alex G’s TikTok famous and Raleigh Ritchie, AKA Jacob Anderson, was in Game Of Thrones so here I am at square one once more. 

Marley’s Take

Back to interviewing, this time with renowned genius Marley Potter. Marley had some insightful things to say about today’s pop music, “i think it’s boring. It’s not like absolutely horrible, I don’t hate it, I like some of it when it comes on the radio, but a lot of it is just the same song ran through a different production process..” he adds, “It’s very rare to see a pop artist truly Doing Something, in my opinion.” So brutal! Marley brings up some interesting thoughts on how pop artists today often make music to be marketable and ultimately lose their individuality. However that isn’t to say all pop artists are dookie dumb dumb, like Doja Cat who Marley enjoys a fair amount, “She’s no BTS, but golly does she make me nod my head and tap my foot.”

At this point I’m sprawled on my bedroom floor, going through every interview and survey answer, a mantra of “not obscure enough” playing through my head. When it hit me. The answer was always in front of me in the form of my own flesh and blood. My brother was the biggest hipster, he had to be! After all when confronted about his Obscurify rating (website that calculates how obscure your spotify listening habits are) he had a whopping 98%, and he had always claimed to like sea shanties before they were cool. 

The Answer

So I decided to interview him to really gauge what this hipster mastermind listens to and why he does it. The answer shocked me to the core, “Honestly man, I can’t stop listening to BTS right now. My bias is Jimin, I love that crazy little rascal..” Julian replied. I was beside myself. What was I to do with this information? How was I supposed to accept this? Had my searching all been for nothing? I pondered and I pondered and I finally came to a conclusion. There was never an ultimate hipster. Spending long periods of time designing a music taste so obscure and unheard of to make yourself seem cool is actually very embarrassing and unnecessary. So let this be a lesson to all you hipsters, get over yourself and listen to some BTS! We all love them and that is A-okay.

Photo by @bangtan.official/Facebook