From artists like Joanna Newsom and Andrew Bird to Grizzly Bear, The National and The Tallest Man on Earth, a growing group of popular musicians don't seem to feel the same need as Lady Gaga or Ke$ha to refer to themselves in the third person or pound out huge choruses hidden behind auto-tune.
It's not that these musicians don't aspire to fame; they're just not bent on seeking out the psychotic grandeur of pop superstardom. Instead, they are letting the growth of their music take the lead, and it shows. Slow Pop is a different kind of mainstream than the last decades of bubblegum and hip-hop have brought us, harkening back to a time when concept albums were cool and guitar playing was more important than a band's stage show. I'm guessing in the coming years we will be seeing a lot more of Marling and musicians like her—stars as well as cultural icons who don't need to wear an Alexander McQueen dress and lobster boots to play a gig.
There's no shortage of stuff to be bothered by here—it's the most oblivious display of old-school rockism I've seen in years—but the most egregious aspect of it for me (aside from his use of the term "Slow Pop") is the implication that this is something new, that the indie artists he mentions are doing what they do as some sort of response to Lady Gaga. And I understand the need for a narrative, of course, but this piece could have been written at literally any time in the past 30 years, presenting any batch of indie bands as a game-changing antidote to any mainstream pop trend, and it would have proven false almost every time.