I have to admit something. I am not a white person. Yes. That is correct. You read that right. I am not a white person.
Thusly, I am an expert in white people. Look white people, if there’s one thing you guys can’t be objective about, it is race. Y’all just flat out sucked up until the 1960’s and that was only 50 years ago and you’re still not that much better at it! I mean, “congrats,” you’ve done the decent thing, I guess.
So as a brown person who has grown up in the American Southwest for 25 years of his life, I have a solid four or five Ph.D’s worth of White-People Studies.
That is why I am here for you, young white person coming of age in the mid-2010’s. Are you feeling lost and alone and in need of someone to speak to your struggles? Are you wondering what you can listen to that will speak to you on a deep and personal level?
Come. Gather round me and lemme put you on to that playlist you can listen to while you share that John Oliver and Daily Show link.
This list is not ranked.
1. Animal Collective
I mean. Do I really have to explain after that? Look at that shit. Just look at it. You know who would think about playing a song called “My Girls” at a wedding and play the Animal Collective one? White people.
I’ve been to Animal Collective concerts before. White people wild the fuck out. This is the dance music they’ve been waiting for. They drop five Mollies in one setting and trip the fuck out to psychedelic colors flying around their faces and three (sometimes four) white dudes yodeling at them for an hour and a half. It’s “dance music” for white people.
It’s a lot of fun. Start with Merryweather Post Pavillion.
2. Arcade Fire
In 2010 Arcade Fire dropped The Suburbs, an album that deals with the hardship and toils of being a middle-class person living out in the ‘burbs. Are you tired of being surrounded by all these fake people living in cookie-cutter houses? Are these people cold and distant and just don’t have the genuine affection that you are looking for? This musical embodiment of Catcher in the Rye went out to win the Album of the Year Grammy in 2011, making music snobs all over the world yell in unison “Finally!” It was a victory for “real music” for the ages.
3. The Beatles
If there’s one thing white people really excel at, it is at cultural appropriation. Who else did it better than The Beatles?
The Beatles are the quintessential band that everyone mentions in the conversation for “Greatest of All Time.” If you’re going to get into the serious music opinion business, then you’re going to have to start having an opinion about The Beatles. Are they the most overrated band of all time? Or are they the end all and be all saviors of everything that’s good about music? They’re like an older, whiter Kanye West. No one ever just goes “ehhh.”
“Hey Jude” also gets a crowd of white people singing at any bar. Go to a karaoke and watch how LIT white people get to this.
Go with The Beatles (commonly referred to as “The White Album”). “I Will” is one of the sweetest love songs ever written.
4. Belle and Sebastian
They’re Scottish, they’re twee and they were accused last year of being “[unbearably] white.” Belle and Sebastian are even the subject of a favorite white people literature genre. The “Think Piece.” It’s the sort of stuff that makes it onto your Buzzfeeds, Upworthys or Thought Catalog. It’s the sort of thing that makes a white person confront their whiteness. You’ll come to a stage in your life, metropolitan and worldly white person, where you’ll meet a friend, maybe even lover, who is a person of color. You’ll think to yourself, “how should I interact with this individual?” “Am I a racist?” That’s where these invaluable pieces will come handy. They will educate you about your privilege. And then someone like Donald Trump will come along and you’ll ask in indignation, “How can this happen in 21st Century America?” And your friend of color will just tell you, “The United States is racist as shit.”
Did I mention that they’re also in a John Cusack film? Key film for all future music snobs. You’ll need it, fam.
Definitely start with Tigermilk and go chronologically. That run from Tigermilk, If You’re Feeling Sinister and The Boy with the Arab Strap is absolutely fabulous.
5. Immortal Technique
Soon, young white person, you will be getting involved with politics. Now if you’re listening to indie rock, chances are you’re going to be of the liberal variety in your politics. That’s fine. In my opinion, you’re on the right side.
Here’s the thing, though. You’re going to want to listen to someone who keeps it real and speaks about real issues. All that other hip-hop is too misogynistic and full of the “n-word.” Why do they get to say it in 2016? That’s racist.
The cool part about Immortal Technique is that he was a part of Occupy Wall Street, the proto-Bernie Sanders campaign that sprung up in the 20-Tweens. Very anti-establishment and the dude knows what he’s talking about.
The important thing here is to not lose focus. When you go to those Bernie Sanders rallies, you need to know your information and how rigged the system really is. When you start lecturing all those minorities for not voting for Bernie and hector them for supporting “Super Predator” Hillary Clinton, you’re going to have to know your facts and talking points. “Bernie marched with MLK,” “Bill Clinton locked up the most black and brown people in the history of this nation,” etc. Black and brown people just need more white people yelling at them.