Thursday, September 24, 2009

Geek Chic and Rock and Roll

In America, there exists a trend known as "geek chic" -- a popular term
in our culture
 which I will describe as kind of poindexter with swagger.

When applied to rock and roll music, Buddy Holly emerges as an icon in the genre. Holly is remembered for two things: first as a pioneer of rock and roll music, and second as the perpetrator for his often-copied geeky signature style.

Holly earned his fame in the mid 1950s, only a few years out of high school when he hit the big time with singles like "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue." His musical style was original and discernible with his hiccup-y crooning and complex harmonies with his band The Crickets. Instrumentally, his band was one of the very first acts to write, produce and perform their own music and lyrics with the two guitar, bass and drums template. This set up became the defining characteristic of all rock and roll music.

His tragic and untimely death propelled Holly into another realm of fame. He was 22 years old when his plane went down, the da

Despite his rock and roller status, Holly's style of dress reflected the wholesome attitude of the 1950s in America. He usually performed in collared sweaters, sophisticated suits with skinny ties and great big smile on his face.

Perhaps his non-confrontational looks helped his success?

And then there are those glasses. The horn-rimmed styles of eyewear were exceedingly popular from the 1910s to around the 1960s in the United States. The look of these glasses is synonymous with geek culture and therefore, geek chic. 

American youths have repeatedly embraced and rejected the geek look. Nerdy fashion showed up in some indie rock circuits as an ironi
c and creative style of dress, including but not limited to: suspenders, bermuda shorts, high-waisted skirts, frilly blouses, saddle shoes, sweater vests, calculator watches, bow ties, and as always, the horn-rimmed glasses.
 The birth of "emo" music accommodated legions of cardigan-wearing lover boys and girls. Today, geek chic has taken on a life of i
ts own -- it's a style aesthetic so prominent that fashionistas of all kinds cannot resist it.

So even though the geek chic bandwagon is full of followers, 
let's not forget that rock music has given some true geeks a platform to sing their hearts out and embrace their lonely souls. Whether their look is in vogue or not, rock music will always show their nerds some love. And no one personifies geek chic more than this century's Buddy Holly and the Crickets: Rivers Cuomo and his awesomely geeky band Weezer.

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