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September 22, 2009


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It's actually amazing that Nitsuh would omit The O.C. I remember meeting the Warner rep at my local record store and chatting with him about those compilations. They sold like hot cakes! I can't think of another show since that's been able to market music of any kind. Does anyone really care about the music on 'Gossip Girl'?

I remember a website called something like musicfromtheoc.com where people would immediately ID every track played during an episode. In fact I even got hipped to a few acts because of the OC!

I don't think Gossip Girl gets the same reaction, though I missed most of last season so I can't be sure. I know one of the characters tried to reinvent herself as a rocker, so maybe they're trying to pull that angle a little harder now? I don't know. But there's no "Seth" on Gossip Girl, so in that sense the show can't ultimately be as trustworthy about its tastes.

I don't think there's any other show that has functioned to that end as well as the OC did, especially for its first couple seasons.

yo scott,

loved the article! i remember the first episode of the oc i ever watched: they were talking about the bright eyes show they were getting ready to go see :) the venue on the pier they would go watch bands at... far cry from modified or spaceland!


Is it me or did the OC strike while the iron was hot? That is, I get the sense that the indie music had really become a lot more accessible from say 1999/2000 to 2004-2005. Maybe I have poor insight but I sense the turning point was 2003 in the wake of "the rock revival" and the iPod commercial with Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?". After this point, it just seemed like there was just more great pop by indie bands. Modest Mouse did "Float On", Spoon did "The Way We Get By", Yeah Yeah Yeahs did "Maps". The Shins did "New Slang" in 2000, but the zeitgeist for the song was 2004. But then again, Death Cab For Cutie and Belle and Sebastian had been doing accessible indie pop for years. Maybe it was the post-mp3 ipod mindset where the song became the dominant musical consumable--"there's all this good stuff out there for the taking, no need to get bothered by ALBUMS".

I have a specific OC recollection of when all these factors came to my attention. Circa 2005, age 19, I was riding home with some friends and the driver was what someone whom I generally considered preppy and not particular musically-obsessed--not a Pitchfork reader. For music he plays his iTunes-purchased copy of the OC soundtrack and it was very pleasant and enjoyable car music. Another passenger and the driver began to talk about the music, giving equal attention and praise to Rooney and Spoon, oblivious to how such a conversation would be a total cred-killer in other circles. But it all made sense: It was Lifestyle Music, a social soundtrack, pleasant music convenient packaged and free from all the indie maven gossip and baggage.

Tristan nailed the point about lifestyle music, which I think fits with what we talk about when we talk about the dropoff in indie bands with a degree of edge to them. So much of the mechanics of how something gains a larger pop culture presence are tied up in things other than moving the album as a unit right now that it seems a little quaint to complain about selling out, especially once you realize that all that talk about egalitarianism means realizing that bands have to pay rent as well. However, the dangerous side of this is that a huge degree of politeness does help things rise. On the corporate side, this is wonderful because artists are either organically lining up to neuter themselves (though I'm not sure how many know it) or the critical apparatus is feeding things up the chain in a way that guarantees a solid mix of pop appeal and cachet. I feel like my generation is the first wave of indie peeps to have "Can I play this for my boss?" not only be a salient question, but an occaissionally damning one.

looks like sonic youth is coming to gossip girl..... http://www.examiner.com/x-18340-Lexington-Pop-Culture-Examiner~y2009m9d4-Sonic-Youth-to-make-an-appearance-on-Gossip-Girl

Great post, but what's the #1 DIY band of the decade?

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