As we seclude ourselves in the toasty warm work caves we call our dorm rooms to cram for finals, our one glimpse of hope—winter break—seems at times unattainable, given the sheer volume of studying and writing necessary to reach it. Yet the holidays are fast approaching, and there’s nothing better to ease the pain of school than some jolly new tunes and retail therapy—a season of good ol’ fashioned American consumerism. Some might believe that the modern hipster’s predilection for counterculture would prompt a rejection of the holidays’ rabid capitalism. But as we all know, the only thing hipsters love more than identifying with the downtrodden and the rebellious is going out and buying stuff. Thus, I present to you, “The Hipster’s Guide to Christmas 2010”:
A Gift of Irony: Sex Pistols Fragrance ($89) – Urban Outfitters
On sale at the much-loved “joke gift” section of hipster haven chain Urban Outfitters, “L’eau de Sex Pistols” features the Pistols’ legendary “God Save the Queen” poster on its front, and complete with a stylish plaid bottle cap, simply reeks of irony. The fact that the infamous poster children for the 70s punk scene have collaborated with Etat Libre D’Orange, a French beauty company, to produce their own fragrance make this the perfect tongue-in-cheek present for any fan of fauxhemia (assuming that, like most hipsters, your wallet is fat enough).
Dress for Warmth and…Rehab?: Amy Winehouse Designs ($100 – $450) – Fred Perry
Who wouldn’t want to dress like Amy Winehouse? Nothing speaks more to a foreign-flavored, irony-tuned retro fashion sensibility like a clothing line from Britain’s most ephemeral star and tabloid terror. Teeming with checkered frills and argyle patterns in a Pepto-Bismol pink palette, Winehouse’s new clothing line, in collaboration with British retailer Fred Perry, leans heavily toward the ’50s-era waitress meets androgynous German dominatrix porn star look—a perfect gift for any patron of pop culture pastiche.
Keep Warm. Look Absurd: Panda Mask/Lumberjack Mask/Squid Mask/Walrus Mask ($28) – Urban Outfitters
Another gem from the marketing geniuses at Urban Outfitters, these soft-knit acrylic masks clearly tap into any hipster’s love of all things animal. Yes, they may prove semi-functional for the cold upcoming winter, but also seem to cement this year’s holiday hipster’s abandonment of dignity in favor of debacle. This distracting, poorly-designed mask practically screams “my ‘creativity’ only goes as far as the attention I get for it!”
Best Indie Christmas Collaboration: “Got Something For You” – Wavves & Best Coast
The cutest lo-fi surf-fuzz couple in the modern cool-mosphere, Bethany Cosentino of L.A.’s Best Coast and Nathan Williams of San Diego’s Wavves collaborated to produce “Got Something For You,” a sugary acoustic-esque duet that somehow manages to retain enough of the bare bones aesthetics of its performers despite the goofy Christmas bells peppered throughout the song. Nothing pleases hipsters more than labeling their favorite musicians as “sell-outs,” so the fact that Williams and Cosentino produced this song for Target’s annual Christmas Gig compilation will surely arouse some lovely critical discussion over a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Remix for the Holidays: “Indestructible” (A-Trak Remix) – Robyn
Finally capping off her domination of the 2010 dance floor, Swedish-born pop sensation Robyn unleashed the final album in her Body Talk trilogy, appropriately entitled Body Talk, in record stores last Tuesday. The first single, “Indestructible,” buzzes along ascending spacey tones and viscerally persistent beats with the same youthful liberation of Body Talk Pt. 1’s “Dancing on My Own.” It fits perfectly then that Montreal DJ and Fool’s Gold Records founder, A-Trak, whose remix of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll” stood out as last year’s best, crafted his own interpretation of Robyn’s latest hit. The result, an elated, disco-fueled dance-floor romp that remains necessarily reverent of the original, will surely keep enough bodies moving over the break to fend off the cold.
Most Ear-Grindingly Annoying Song: “Holiday” – Vampire Weekend
Nothing screams hipster holidays like a frustratingly simple, two-minute jumble of syncopated guitars and Ezra Koenig’s cartoonish wail, made twice as unbearable by its inclusion in a series of Honda commercials and as the “hip” Christmas soundtrack for any retail store. One listening to “Holiday” makes suffering through an endless loop of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” while waiting in a two-hour check-out line at a crowded Best Buy sound like a refreshing option.