Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Pitchfork Hipness Quotient

Record dorks collectively released held breath when Pitchfork's Top 50 List was recently unveiled at the hollowed address that is the home to all things indie. It's always fun to see what made the list, and which ones I have, because I'm a record dork. Except, this year, I seem to have made a transition from the physical to the digital realm. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess I've spent less money on CD's and vinyl this year than any in the past 15. I've become very comfortable browsing iTunes and emusic and saving my real money for the absolute must-haves (I usually avoid the peer-to-peer, because it cheapens [no pun intended] the whole experience for me. It's like free used porn.). Of course, this is bad news for record store owners, with whom I'm sympathetic, but I digress.

I perused, sometimes with approval, but more often with shock, disappointment, and ignorance what made Pitchfork's list. The problem really, is that I can't tell if I'm still hip. I mean, did I lose it? This is an issue of mammoth proportions and central to my self-image. Have I lost my edge? Have I become uncool, out of touch, or (gulp) LAME?

This list confuses more than clarifies the issue. I mean, yeah, I got the new My Morning Jacket, and I love it, but who the heck are Antony & the Johnsons?

In an effort to find concrete answers to these questions, I have devised the Pitchfork Hipness Quotient (PHQ).

Simply put, the PHQ is a quantification of an individual's musical "hipness," the standard, or course, being Pitchfork's Top 50 list. It's a simple system of points awarded for albums bought, and albums (or portions thereof) and singles legitimately downloaded. Here is the key:

For every CD bought - 5 points
For every full album downloaded* - 3 points
Partial album (3 songs or more) downloaded* - 2 points
Single song downloaded* - 1 points

Bonus: If an album was bought on vinyl - 7 points.

*Free peer-to-peer downloads earn no points. If you didn't sacrifice a penny, you earn no hipness.

Based on this system, the highest score would of course be 250, without bonus vinyl points. I highly doubt that even the editor in chief at Pitchfork could achieve such hipness, but then again, he/she probably received lots of these as promos, and is therefore exempt and granted honorary hipness.

Now, onto the tabulation:

This year I bought on CD:
#42: My Morning Jacket, Z
#26: The Decemberists, Picaresque
#10: Wolf Parade, Apologies to Queen Mary (which I really don't even like that much)
#8: LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem

only four! But 20 points.

I downloaded #33, Bloc Party's Silent Alarm (3 points) and partially downloaded #23, Ladytron's Witching Hour (2 more points). I downloaded the single from the #4 album, M.I.A.'s Arular for 1 more point. (I also saw her in concert with LCD, but no points there.)

Alas, I bought none of the top 50 records on vinyl, so no bonus points for me.

My PHQ (drumroll please) is. . . .26!

What's yours?

New rule: If your PHQ is less than your age, you are undeniably unhip by modern Pitchfork standards. You should be ashamed that you spent your time on such a ridiculous exercise, accept your unhipness, and move on. I am.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Dharma said...

waaaaa, i am hopelessly "unhip", but then again, i guess i already knew that.

9:15 AM  

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