Shibuya-Kei’s Societal Spirit of Music Creation and Our Nation’s Youngsters’ Perception of Popular Music Culture

A short ‘sotoy’ writing I created during the days I loved to listen to any kind of music. Sebenarnya kapan aja, sih. Tulisan ini mungkin bisa merepresentasikan relasi identitas, kreasi music, dan kultur populer anak muda Indonesia sekarang. At least waktu penulisan artikel ini, gua melihat bahwa ada gap antara persepsi bagi identitas sesuai dengan genre atau tipologi musik. Tulisan ini berusaha bilang kalo relasi itu ga seharusnya eksis dan bahkan pada titik tertentu jadi kognisi yang prominen di masyarakat. Listen, love, and create apa pun bentuk musik yang kalian mau.

Shibuya-Kei — Compelling harmonic scene anywhere on earth should apply.

Do you believe in magic? Well, I do. This small regarded verse by one of many Japanese Shibuya-Kei music groups, called Cymbals shouldn’t be taken for granted. It represents the spirit, hope, and essence of any music creation process. Throughout the late 1990s til’ the early 2000s, sound enthusiasts were spoiled by the emergence of this tremendously majestic newborn music wave in Shibuya. It didn’t attempt to create, nor was it trying to invent something out of nothing and calling it experimental. It evolved, moved and let you taste music the way it should. The fundamental reason to entertain finally gained acceptance in the Western hemisphere, though it didn’t last long enough for anyone to reproduce this one and only magical spirit.

Hi, I’m David, a regular university student who loves 2000’s Indonesia Pop Band and Shibuya. Enough with the chit-chat. If you ask anyone the very basis of their music preference, you could end up with a never-ending conclusion; as these varieties of reasons were so diverse. Some depend on their sometimes-glorified musical knowledge, but some depend on their ‘heart climate’, as we youngsters usually answer when we’re being asked the question “What music genre are you into?” “Depends on my feelings of course, but I listen to Ardhito 24/7, because I’m so jazzy”.

Yes, you know exactly what I’m trying to say here. We are now faced with a variety of reasons which tend to be oddly related to people’s interest in music. When we turn back to the essence of artistic creation, a person’s preference for genre of art is usually based on his/her personal aesthetic experience—not on what his/her musical preference can say about his/her personal identity. At the end of the day, the discussion about a person’s musical reasons and preferences becomes closely related to their personal identity. Yap, today’s society is somehow very judgmental. “I will say Lomba Sihir is my go-to band while sober.” “Oh wow, you drink and love the band? That’s so indie and cool at the same time.” I mean, let’s assume Sun Eater’s still very much independent. Yeah, right.

Moreover, Indonesian prominent agency media which, of course, support Indonesian popular culture now have a function that we’ve never imagined before. The scope of popular culture and one’s artistic preferences also become related because a person’s performativity in popular culture is now able to provide stimulus to the social environment related to his/her self-branding and personality. What you listen to simply says a lot about your personality. When these two related situations meet up, we are being faced with this unique relationship between one’s self branding or identity and the increasingly blurred dichotomy of the popular and non-popular art realm. For instance, let’s take TikTok as an example. Yes, any music that enters the ‘For You Page’ and gets millions of impressions will get a place in South Jakarta cafes the next day. However, if in the end, your taste in music is very focused on what the popular media gives to society, your identity will be considered ‘that way’ by society, and vice versa. There is no need to talk about the reproduction of artistic entities that are intertwined in this popular culture. Nowadays, humans are often judged based on their knowledge of popular culture, and in some cases, this condition is used as capital for some people to improve their position in the social strata. Conditions and relations between the media, popular culture, and one’s identity are now leading to a situation that relates these three things to their musical preferences. I don’t know about you, but from my personal point of view, young Indonesians, especially those who live in densely populated urban areas, seem to be chasing popular or non-popular culture which represents their knowledge of art and their personal identity.

So, don’t be surprised when today’s people’s interest in the independent music scene is increasing and it seems that independent labels are no longer independent — moving from the consequences of an increasingly blurred definition of independent, because the spirit that is brought is no longer independent and non-commercial —, kawula muda listen to which is not offered by popular culture as the basis of his identity, which describes a unique personality, different from the others, and of course cool. While the rest? You can guess these guys are being judged as lame, product of popular commercial labels, and ‘biasa aja’.

Listen. Anyone’s music preference is valid, but to judge someone’s very basis of music preference and finally, identify their personality through what they listen to, is somehow not very ethical and in the majority of cases, ends up being invalid. I listen to J-rock, Armada, D’Bagindas, Noah, etc. and it doesn’t make me ‘jamet’. These guys’ musicality is far greater beyond any musician nowadays through the complex riffs, progressions, and at some point those stuck-it-brain solos. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay for anyone to hear independent labels nowadays, but to see the ‘other side of the Indonesian non-independent scene as anti-thesis and lowly for their identity representation sometimes irritates me.

Of course, there is a personal reason I put the Shibuya-kei explanation at the beginning of this article. How music is reproduced, created, and eventually becomes a new wave of Japanese popular culture should be an example of the spirit of musical creation in any society. These people are not limited to genres, let alone relate to one’s identity so that later musical regeneration can continue to develop for everyone’s musical preferences freely. It doesn’t matter if you like dangdut, or Malay pop, Cornelius used to listen to Western genres which were condemned as a form of Americanism. Now, everyone can see how J-Pop develops into something far greater and unique. Do not be afraid of what you represent. Teruslah berkreasi!

P.S. This is actually my very first writing, please understand any structural or grammar deficiency. Thank you!

HIQuarters, Meet the Author!

David Liberty Sitinjak

Mahasiswa tingkat akhir yang suka sotoy tentang musik, tapi juga suka gregetan buat semangat ngerjain skripsi, cielah. Semua yang ditulis di artikel berdasarkan komprehensi dan pengalaman pribadi, tapi banyak dibantu juga sama orang-orang keren di sekitar yang goyang mulu kalo udah muter J-rocks dan Armada. Enjoy!

David Liberty Sitinjak
David Liberty Sitinjak

Mahasiswa tingkat akhir yang suka sotoy tentang musik, tapi juga suka gregetan buat semangat ngerjain skripsi, cielah. Semua yang ditulis di artikel berdasarkan komprehensi dan pengalaman pribadi, tapi banyak dibantu juga sama orang-orang keren di sekitar yang goyang mulu kalo udah muter J-rocks dan Armada. Enjoy!

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