The Ghost of Authenticity Rears Its Ugly Head Again...

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23 Jun 2008, 18:25

A couple of weeks ago, I watched The Big Lebowski for the second time, and I was struck with how great a movie this is, and how awesome a soundtrack it has. Of the songs on the sountrack, through, the most brilliant one is Kenny Rogers' "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)". That I think this one is the best of the many good ones has kinda surprised me, as I never really heard anything good of or about Kenny Rogers before this, and pretty much had him tagged as a plastic country artist.

This, however:



is primo stuff, especially for those like me who have a kind of a thing for more or less trippy pop songs.

And if its one thing this one is, its trippy. It has so much drug imagery it feels a bit over the top. In fact, it is so filled with metaphors alluding to the effects of hallusinogetic drugs, I find myself suspecting Rogers of writing and recording this track in the late 60s or early 70s only to cash in on the widespread drug use of that era. "I saw so much, I lost my mind", "I Found my brain in a brown paper bag", and sentences like these just seem too much, you know? And Rogers himself seems like such a square guy, he couldn't possibly have been doing anything like LSD or whatever else these drugs are.

In short, I began doubting the authenticity of the song, and I began believing I liked it less because of its (imagined) lack of authenticity.

Which is more than a little weird. I think I became aware of this whole authenticity-craze that's been wracking the world of rock music since its birth, when I was 16 or so, and I've never really liked it. My favourite band, Radiohead, used to get some criticism from some other rock bands at least a few years back (and I've read some dumb comments from one of the Gallagher brothers this winter, but feel reluctant to pay attention to anything those guys say), and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to suggest that one of the reasons why I've been reluctant to immerse myself in the genre is its insane (literally, in fact, as it was Varg Vikernes who instigated it) demands for its bands to be "real" satanists and whatnot.

If I bothered to do some research, I could probably come up with a few hundred other examples like these, but these two will have to serve my point, which is that I, who loathe this whole authenticity thing and is more or less aware of it, found myself liking a Kenny Rogers track less because I -- who have never done any drugs harder than booze, never will try anything harder than weed, and don't even drink anything stronger than Guiness these days -- I! questioned the authenticity of his drug experiences!

This leaves me kinda pessimistic with regards to the prospects of ridding the world of this nonsense; I'm beginning to believe that this is the cost rock music has to pay for its continued coolness. Some few* bands and artists and fans are able to ignore it and rise above it, but it seems the majority of us are doomed to having to continue to care about such idiocy as image instead of just loving the music.

In other words, we're doomed to spend the rest of our lives as twelve year-old boys.



*Few, though? Perhaps not. Maybe it is the majority that doesn't care, and only a minority of very visible and audible fans that makes it seem like they aren't a minority after all...

Comentarios

  • SinisterTwister

    You know, this journal entry really ties your whole site together.

    24 Jun 2008, 22:31
  • Terje1985

    You peed on my fucking site!

    17 Jul 2008, 12:03
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