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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle


A guide to the twisted world of pretentious music culture.

For many, music is a pastime. Something to occupy the mind while driving, reading or otherwise engaged. Maybe the average listener knows what they like, or maybe they listen to the hottest new tracks, but it’s all low stress, after all music is supposed to be fun right? But there is a certain group, a subset, perusing at Smith Rock Records in their favorite pair of pre-distressed Levi’s, or mingling around the capitol explaining the meaning behind their newest patchwork style tattoo, Maybe passing downtown in their brand new skull cap beanies, The Smiths faintly playing through their headphones. To these people music isn’t a footnote. 

There are many layers to music culture, like a wedding cake, or hell. The majority of them are harmless, maybe conversations around a new album, or who Taylor Swift is dating now. Two friends may have a conversation about the best rap artist of all time, or a civil disagreement over the quality of the latest hit single. This is not the kind of music culture the average person needs a guide for, this is easy, fun, approachable even. The real danger comes from diving too deep and stumbling upon the dreaded pretentiousness.

The transition from fun loving and collaborative music appreciation to brutal, cutthroat warfare is surprisingly gradual. It generally begins with something innocuous, like an unreleased track from a popular artist, or a side project from the frontman of a booming band. Then, slowly, listeners are dragged deeper, new genres, new artists and one day they’ll look up and find themselves debating whether or not Car Seat Headrest’s reissue of “Twin Fantasy” is better than its original mastering(If that sentence makes no sense to you then can consider yourself lucky.)

This harsh and hostile environment can be daunting for those who are just dipping their toes into snobby music. Since this culture is virtually built on disagreements it’s nearly impossible to figure out the unspoken rules. So before you get caught wearing the merch of a band who’s discography you don’t have memorized, get educated and remember that no matter what, never under any circumstances admit that you found a band on Tik Tok*.

1: How do I know if I can share this band?

The holy grail of pretentious music culture is the divine recommendation, colloquially known as “putting someone on.” But don’t move too fast, it’s not always a safe bet to recommend a band, even if the recommended party is unfamiliar with the group. Firstly it’s important to look at listenership, if the artist has more than 500,000 monthly listeners you should probably rethink sharing them, even that is pushing it. The real gold comes in under 100,000. Also be familiar enough with the band to be able to talk at length about how their second project isn’t for true fans. Sure it’s a lot of extra work to research a band and its fanbase, but that’s a small price to pay to not be mistaken for a “casual listener.”

2: I have this band shirt, can I wear it?

The general answer is yes, assuming that you can name three songs, otherwise it’s basically social suicide. Even still there are some red flags when picking new band merch. Popularity isn’t necessarily at issue here, not listener wise at least, but you should keep in mind the general popularity of the clothing item itself. If you see a band tee often it’s best to steer clear, unless you want to end up wearing a sublime shirt. If you’re dead set on a popular merch item your only real hope is to desperately try and prove that you’re a mega fan at every turn, it’s imperative that you make it clear that all other wearers of this shirt are posers or otherwise unworthy of the garment.

3: should I put this song’s lyrics in my bio?


4: how do I establish my indisputable opinions?

The most important part about being interested in music culture is being right. Luckily as an art form, music opinions are almost entirely subjective, that being said, there are some opinions that will get you absolutely lampooned. A great way to start forming your indomitable line of reasoning is finding a mentor, someone who’s already familiar with the ins and outs of the current conversations. Hang on their every word and parrot their views until you feel confident enough to strike out on your own. If you can’t find an in person solution you could always rely on the internet, find a publication or Internet personality to regurgitate, but be careful, enough Anthony Fantano opinions and your credibility may take a hit. Remember, the most important part of sharing your viewpoint is to do so loudly and with unshakable surety that you are correct.

5: Does anyone care?

Yes! There are dozens of us!

The journey into music pretentiousness is exciting and is bound to open a new and uniquely toxic chapter in your life, congratulations! Follow the rules unless for some reason they don’t apply—like to most 90s bands for instance— and never EVER admit that you found your favorite band on Tik Tok.



*This piece and particularly this sentence in no way represents my actual opinions or views, no matter what me or any other music obsessed no life tells you, listen to whatever you want. I love “Last Friday Night(T.G.I.F.)” by Katy Perry, sue me.

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About the Contributor
Jackson Crocker
Jackson Crocker, Crest Editor

Being a senior has given Jackson a wealth of free time. Many would take this time to work, prepare for the fast approaching future, and attempt to better themselves. Jackson has, however, made the tactical choice to spend his endless free time writing and listening to music, becoming alarmingly involved in such useful fields as fashion and casual rock climbing, and, of course, looking longingly into the woods dreaming of what could have been. Luckily though, these hobbies do make for interesting Crest stories.

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    pretentious jesseJan 19, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    i love car seat headrest