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Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:12 pm
by sowhat
Hi gang,
sincerity, or honesty, has been mentioned a few times by different people here as one of necessary features for rebel music. Of course, we can say it doesn't refer to rebel music only and alone, but still. In case of modern "chewing gum" pop, for instance, it may not be that important — you just have to "move to the music" and nobody really cares whether you believe that the performer is honest or not.
The question is, how do you decide for yourself whether the performer (singer, player) is honest or not? Say, why do you believe some John Smith and don't believe some Mike Green? Of course, we can always say "i either feel it or not", and that it's more of intuitive, but as they say, intuition comes with knowledge. We can also say that "if he's of (about) the same age, epoque, gender (?), national/social/cultural background as me, and he sings about something that i've experienced in my own life, i believe him", but is that all? Well, for some that does matter indeed (otherwise there would be no teenagers who throw away music of their fathers because it's "too old" and therefore they "cannot relate", etc), for some it doesn't (otherwise we wouldn't see teenagers listening to "oldies"). And don't you sometimes believe in sincerity of somebody who's telling about something you don't understand/never experienced? Or, did you ever have a moment when you wanted to believe the performer (cause you have — or once had — sympathy for him or whatever) but just couldn't for some reason?
Or — "an old rich person singing about poor teenager's problems cannot be sincere" (or "a well-fed guy singing about hunger", or "an adult American guy singing an impersonation of a small poor kid from Africa", etc). Is that always so or could there be exceptions? What if he [performer] is singing from his memory and re-lives his old emotions again?
So how do you decide whether this or that performer is sincere or not? (Yes, i know that's a silly and boring topic, but still :wink: )
As always, all kinds of opinions welcome.

Re: Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:25 pm
by sloop_john_b
If we're talking about strictly lyrics here, and leaving image and what-not out of it, you of course can never be sure when someone is being honest. It's entirely up to the listener to interpret these things on their own. Charlie Manson thought that the Beatles were honest when they sang their racial "call-to-arms" anthem "Helter Skelter", but we know that's not what they meant. Or is it?

Re: Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:42 pm
by sowhat
If we're talking about strictly lyrics here, and leaving image and what-not out of it

Is it possible at all?! :shock: Methinks not lyrics only, but performance, image, between-songs speech, movements, etc, etc also matter.
Yes, of course, it's up to the listener to interpret, and the question is — how he does, which signs in performance — be that voice, intonation, face expressions, moves, maybe even clothes etc — he may use (interpret) to make a decision. What he personally sees in the song is another question, a very interesting one (imho), cause while discussing it people may discover new sides to "old" and well-known.

Re: Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:56 pm
by sloop_john_b
sowhat wrote:the question is — how he does, which signs in performance — be that voice, intonation, face expressions, moves, maybe even clothes etc — he may use (interpret) to make a decision.


That is a really tough question! The more I think about it, the more I realize that for me, honesty in performance is not necessary - only honesty in lyrics, because therein lies the true art form. I can look past everything else - the message is in the words, and if the words strike a chord (no pun intended) with me, then that's all the honesty I need.

BTW, I had to look up the word "epoque", but I can't seem to find any definition for it - what did you mean by that?

Re: Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:40 pm
by sowhat
"Epoque" (with accent above first "e") is French for "epoch", or "era", or "period". Believe it or not, till today, i had no idea in English this word is not written the same way. :oops:
Thanks for your opinion.

Re: Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:54 pm
by sowhat
Takes time to think. :wink:
Never came across such position and find it a bit hard to understand. That, for me, sounds like, "i don't care who tells the story, i care for the story itself". Or, say — does it mean that if the song that you believe would be sung by somebody who you don't believe you wouldn't have a feeling that "something is wrong" (i'm not talking technical aspects here, like sound/vocals quality)? Or if there's two different cover versions of a song by two different acts, and one of these acts you believe and the other you don't (or do you mean you don't consider the acts in terms "believe/don't believe" at all?), with about equal quality of sound/vocals, that would make no difference for you?
Or maybe i am missing something?
Or, how about instrumental music, with no lyrics at all?

Re: Sincerity is the key?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:42 am
by antipodean
To quote Groucho: "Sincerity is everything. Once you can fake that, you've got it made!"