This column is downright Pixieish

When bands become adjectives and cashiers become rock stars

by Keri Carlson

A 17-year-old girl orders a coffee from my friend David working behind the counter at a St. Paul coffee shop. Actually, she doesn’t order a coffee; she orders a double espresso cappuccino with skim milk, a shot of vanilla and two Equals.

Her mother laughs and says mockingly, “My daughter is so demanding.” But really, the mother is beaming.

David makes the drink and hands it to the girl with two Splendas. “Sorry, no Equal,” he says.

“You’re a rock star!” the girl replies as she takes her drink.

Instead of saying “thank you” or “thanks,” this belly-shirt-wearing, lame-drink-ordering, high schooler tells David – who actually plays in a band – that he is a rock star.

David and I contemplate this. Was she mocking him? Was she making a cultural analysis, acknowledging the new breed of Franz Ferdinand-like rock stars who look like your waiter or barista? Maybe.

But the girl is not alone. High schoolers from across the country (or maybe just Edina) have begun to replace “thank you” with “rock star.” It’s part of the catch that comes with rock being cool again.

And “rock star” is not the only new slang replacing common expressions. When even Hilary Duff is name-dropping the Smiths, rock ‘n’ roll slang is increasingly taking over.

Here are other examples:

DEFINITION: A sad, nostalgic boy, glum over a breakup, who still preserves a level of optimism.

ROOT: Comes from Ben Gibbard of moody Death Cab For Cutie.

EXAMPLE: “It’s good to be very Gibbard after Suzy, man.”

DEFINITION: To feel neutral or apathy, to not care either way.

ROOT: Former Smiths member with a successful solo career, Morrissey is also known for his asexuality.

EXAMPLE: “The movie choices you gave me leave me in a Morrissey conundrum.”

Killers vs. Bravery
DEFINITION: To be in a fight which no one remembers, or cares about, the origins.

ROOT: The rivalry between “it” bands the Killers and the Bravery.

EXAMPLE: “So what if he’s going to be at the party? Your feud is so Killers vs. Bravery.”

Andre/Big Boi
DEFINITION: To have a split and still be on good terms.

ROOT: Reference to “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” the OutKast album where the duo each recorded a solo record that was released together.

EXAMPLE: “After we broke up, we’ve been very Andre/Big Boi and hang out all the time.”

DEFINITION: To capitalize or to be opportunistic on a resurgent trend.

ROOT: From the Pixies reunion tour that Black Francis admits had a lot to do with the money.

EXAMPLE: “Selling your Cure records on eBay is very Pixieish of you.”


DEFINITION: An unsuspected Christian.

ROOT: From the freak-folk artist Sufjan Stevens who has Christian undertones in his songs.

EXAMPLE: “I knew him for five years, and he pulled a Sufjan on me with his Bible.”

Keri Carlson welcomes comments at [email protected].