The Melancholic Indie Pop of “The Xennials” by Blissful Red is an Ode to Coming of Age in a Time Before Constant Connection and Instant Access

Blissful Red, photo courtesy the artist

From the stop motion drawing animation of the music video to the start and stop dynamics of its spare melody, “The Xennials” by Blissful Red captures a sensibility that came to the fore during that early to mid-90s period in Western culture. One that embraced a lo-fi sound and songwriting approach favored by artists like Microphones and Sebadoh, willfully rough around the edges but making that into a more authentic and intimate songwriting style inspired in part by that brief period when artists that didn’t fit with the previous era of overproduced music and bloated bombast or the one that came after of conservative artistic choices guided again largely by commercial potential over artistic originality and a turning away from idiosyncratic creativity. By putting into the video visually interesting but rough drawings of classic 90s album covers and clothing colored in by crayon and colored pencil by hand it’s almost as though Blissful Red is invoking how coming of age at the that time was a mixture of having art handed to you by an older generation and discovering what was meaningful to you in your anecdotal way long before almost everything could be researched on the internet sans the context that made it all meaningful to the people to whom it resonated originally. Almost as though the act of the drawing was a way to emphasize how your identity had to be hand crafted analog style with the context not summed up for you in some online article or playlist. There is a sense of a loss of that way of being and the culture that came out of that time that fostered a real sense of having access to an alternative culture by having to pursue and cultivate it rather than have instant access. Of not being able to access everyone all the time and feel an artificial sense of connection, of existing before a beige, interconnected monoculture set in. It’s not a mournful song, but one that looks back fondly to a time not so long ago that may seem quaint to many now. Watch the video for “The Xennials” on YouTube and follow Blissful Red on Soundcloud.