“Time to Pretend”: The Emerging Adulthood of Indie Rock

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1 Scopus citations


Indie rock has long presented itself as a nontraditional and unconventional genre, one that has served more as an exploratory pathway than a stable career for its postcollegiate twenty-something middle-class participants. In this regard indie closely parallels the developmental life stage of emerging adulthood, a label encompassing the increasingly extended road from adolescence to adulthood. Focusing special attention on the music of noted indie groups MGMT and Vampire Weekend, and the years of the Great Recession (2007–2009) in which they first emerged, this article considers the connections between indie and emerging adulthood from a variety of social, cultural, and musical-stylistic perspectives. As the examples of these groups show, indie musicians have frequently depicted the years of emerging adulthood as a liminal period of optimistic exploration tempered with great instability and ambivalence about the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-500
Number of pages20
JournalPopular Music and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020


  • Emerging adulthood
  • Great Recession
  • Indie Rock
  • middle class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Music


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