This can be a little misleading. What we are covering here is not a phobia of Normcore as an arbitrary dress code but a hindrance to songwriting creativity. Lest we confuse the two.
It should not surprise us that your favorite musician is just as bored and spoiled as we are. Let us not put the blame on anyone. Let us all blame it on our flat societies and this relatively new evenly-distributed accessibility of products in first world countries.
K-Hole, a free online publication and a trend forecasting group based in New York, in their latest issue, have covered a phenomenon we are now mostly familiar with: Normcore. By given definition:
Normcore understands the process of differentiation from a nonlinear perspective. […] Normcore doesn’t want the freedom to become someone. Normcore wants the freedom to be with anyone. You might not understand the rules of football, but you can still get a thrill from the roar of the crowd at the World Cup. In Normcore, one does not pretend to be above the indignity of belonging.
We would like to think of Normcore as a fact and a threat to our understanding of art and especially music. Its state of ubiquity has now surrounded us in its chamber. It walks slow and lurks quietly in the dark. We do not have to search to find it since it is already a part of us.
Normcore is administering its fresh strong roots in our agenda and has already knocked us out in a few rounds. In our “Keep Calm…” and Unknown Pleasures hoodies, our Fjällräven rucksacks, our OBEY hats, our pasta carbonara and guacamole, looks like the Normcore RFID transponders are already implanted under our skin. It is getting harder to separate the next guy in line for a Glastonbury performance with the guy who is actually giving it. In fact, the next guy in line has IDM flares and has a Bandcamp page and he will probably be selling his CDs right after the other guy’s performance.
As a way of living, Normcore is a safe pedestrian walk in a developed society. It is probably a very healthy and recommended lifestyle. As unpretentious and unisex as it appears to be, it has inevitably found its way into popular culture. What we get is a mass of Normcore musicians and an extra group of hardworking musicians who find solace in bandwagoning them.
However, there is a very thin line between adopting your zeitgeist into one’s artwork and wholeheartedly surrendering to the norm. We are glad we do it in our household chores comfortably and cozily on the surface level, but if the music we are listening to is target to Normcore, this is the beginning of our disappearance. Normcore in music form is becoming the dominant horse in the race by means of the cheat sheet to societal democratic values. Somewhere back a-decade-or-so ago, somebody thought it would be a great idea that music, just like my favorite pizza topping and the right to vote, should become available to everyone. That was wise and led to great things. The guy that took it the wrong way was another one, however! The second man misinterpreted this liberal gesture and gave a new version of it: The music I listen to should not be fruit of effort, study and potent songwriting.
In the relatively new, wry and slightly misanthropic adaptation of Normcore into music, as self-contradictory as it all sounds, boredom, laziness and complete lack of motivation into provoking the listener, is a virtue! And just like Twitter hashtags for social causes, any objection is ridiculed with a psuedo-liberal response. Any bona fide effort into a dedicated time for making music, hiring orchestras for your backgrounds and elevating your chord progressions is deemed showy, overproduced and unnecessary. The result is daylight clear: monotonous, uneventful, momentumless albums. Not trying hard enough is the new black. It sounded good for the first two hundred times. It sounded new when Pavement did it and when James Murphy sang about “maybe not doing hits”. For a brief moment in history, they mirror our weekly agendas. The fear, though, is when they establish themselves.
This post is nowhere near sufficient to cover the issue and we hope you have not taken us the wrong way. We are only worried about the future state of artistry and production. If you happen to be an aspiring musician in the age of no-stardom, and are under the impression that separating yourself from the rest can lead to your isolation, you should probably give your whole career a second thought. There is still a lot of time and space to go bonkers with what you do. If you need some time off to come in terms with yourself, gift yourself a hibernation! Upon return, be fierce and bold! Go Black-Dice-brave! Go Lightning-Bolt-bananas! Go left where all go right and derail from this chronic wave of Normcore. May you find the rebellious sound inside you. We are patiently waiting meanwhile!