If you can't buy a band's music on iTunes, that's a pretty good sign that you, as a member of Generation Whine, shouldn't be listening to them, or at least displaying them on your chest. Case in point: t-shirts for the Beatles, who suddenly grace every hipster's weakling frame like a bastardized henna tattoo.
Once the lamest thing you could admit to, enjoying your parents' music is now all the rage, showing you can subvert the crushing orthodoxy of your generation in favor of someone else's shrieking, sobbing bandwagon. And yet the Beatles are the most mainstream 'rent-rock band imaginable, defeating the purpose of wearing a band shirt. One member, relative or sex partner of the Fab Four is on some form of media every second of every day, most likely The Today Show, a Pixar movie, a hip-hop mashup on YouTube, or come September, the latest Rock Band release.
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So what would you wear if not the Beatles? Pink Floyd has some cool artwork. Jimmy Hendrix's drugged-out face and coif are iconic. And every indie band worth its eyeliner and crotch filler today offers a shirt with a respectably creative design, so your friends will Google them after your hookah party, download the album from some sketchy offshore site, and set their iLike alert for the band's next local show. My Halloween, Alaska shirt, for example, features the title of the band's latest album in Cyrillic, which only my Kazakhstan-bound friends in the State Department could translate.
By wearing a Beatles shirt, with its clip art-film logo, the wearer proudly proclaims: 1. I'm so beyond Lady Gaga. 2. Music doesn't have to be complex, it has to be GOOD! They GOT that! 3. I like the same thing everyone else has liked and ceased to be controversial or noteworthy for 40 years. You might as well pledge your undying love to the standardized test. To show some appreciation for a real pioneer, slap a silhouette of Bach on a t-shirt and wear it under your blazer to the next art walk.