I will begin this by saying I do not use TikTok. Proud disclaimer. However, because I’ve not been able to avoid contact with the internet in its totality, I’ve become aware of the Pinegrove Shuffle– a dance trend to a song from Pinegrove that’s been going around the video-sharing app.
Pinegrove is a band whose work I’ve adored for years, but some of that admiration was marred when Evan Stephens Hall– the group’s frontman– was accused of sexual coercion in 2017. The band took a year to refrain from releasing any music, and Hall took time to work on himself, stating that he’d begun therapy in the Facebook post in which this was all revealed.
Since then, it seems Pinegrove and Hall have been mostly accepted back into the spot they once had in the music scene. This acceptance has been solidified by the burst of the band’s alt-country music regaining public attention in the TikTok trend.
The Pinegrove Shuffle itself is a mix between the hardcore two-step and something else, resembling a bird flailing. Its movement suggests a melancholy feeling that matches the song– “Need 2,” well.
After the TikTok trend went viral, the band re-released “Need 2,” this time with a slow version, a fast version, and a hyperspeed version. The song hasn’t been reproduced at all but has instead just had its speed altered in the new releases.
Robin Murray of Clash Music describes Pinegrove’s re-ascent into the public spotlight “incredibly, bizarrely unlikely,” given their history. I could not agree more.
Even when an artist has done their time in therapy or has completed the proper reparations after an incident such as the one Hall was a part of, it feels strange to have them resurface at such a public level, especially with Pinegrove in particular. Historically, they’ve been adored, and since Hall’s accusation most have been unsure how to feel about the group.
It seems the dance trend has brought them back to a normal, inoffensive position that old fans and listeners were not exactly prepared for. I can’t say the trend is wrong or shouldn’t be popularized, but I can’t say I adore the booming popularity of a band with a sticky history either. It’s tough territory. In the meantime, I’m still enjoying the sped-up versions of “Need 2.”