A rant about Grizzly Bear and writing with an audience in mind
There’s a good profile of the band Grizzly Bear by Nitsuh Abebe with the headline-as-question: “Grizzly Bear Members Are Indie-Rock Royalty, But What Does That Buy Them in 2012?” Spoiler: not much. Everyone who’s interested in making a living in the music business and what it means to be “big” in the indie scene should give it a read. (I was a little surprised how much their rundown read like Steve Albini’s classic “some of your friends are already this fucked.”)
What’s truly strange to me is how divorced these guys seem to be from the old-school music notion of writing “a hit” — a song that moves units, yes, but also moves asses (and hearts) — while simultaneously being baffled by why their songs aren’t played on the radio.
“I’ve always thought we write pop music,” Ed Droste says. “I think songs of ours could be on the radio. They’re not.”
Having actually listened to their music (I’m in the “suffocatingly fuss[y]” camp), this is baffling to me.
Austin Kleon on Nitsuh Abebe’s Grizzly Bear profile in New York magazine (featured yesterday on Longreads), and what it means to “write hits.” Some additional background from Abebe here.