Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music Hardcover – February 17, 2007
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
The authors begin with Kurt Cobain singing a Leadbelly song on MTV unplugged. His manner of singing the song, his complaints about being "real" and even his suicide act as a springboard for the whole book. We learn more about Leadbelly and his promoter, John Lomax, and where they actually fit into the music world of their time versus what white people believed about their heritage. John Hurt, who was a legend as an old man among the sixties folk singers. Yet, in his youth he was not nearly as popular nor as "authentic" as the sixties idolizers would have had the public believe.
It turns out that the Black public preferred Jazz and its sophistications to the blues and rural music that Leadbelly, Hurt and others performed. Nor was it as rooted in the slave past as the traditions believed. There was a lot of cross between rural White music and the rural Black music. We also see this in Jazz. It was only later that the schism between what is authentically "Black" or "White" became a fundamental issue, and its conclusions are largely wrong.
We get to compare the truly personal music of Jimmie Rodgers and his "T.B. Blues" against other music of its time and the tradition of autobiographical music. It is not as deep, rich, or lengthy tradition as one might expect. There is a lot of "character" biography, but not deeply personal stuff such as Rodgers singing about the tuberculosis that was killing him.Read more ›
This isn't a guidebook on how to "be real," nor a Rolling Stone-esque exposé on (Your Favorite Artist), but serves more like a history of American music with an industry-related context. It explains personal and professional strategies that swayed particular musicians and bands into fakery or reality, and explores those notions carefully.
My only problem is definitional; the authors were too Manichean about authenticity versus the lack thereof. As I see it, while a second edition of Moby Dick may lack the authenticity of the first, it is nevertheless a desirable artifact. In other words, such other factors as age and popularity (i.e., staying power) may compensate for missing authenticity. Accordingly, while the authors would classify as "inauthentic folk music" such songs as Early Morning Rain and City of New Orleans, I would be a less restrictive; they are destined to join such equally inauthentic folk songs as Camptown Races and This Land Is Your Land in the great American folk canon.
Similarly, the authors define as "authentic" a song by Kurt Cobain and an album by Neil Young that were each recorded in one take and display all kind of [authentic] imperfections and angst. However, I question whether that makes them more authentic than a perfect opus by Pink Floyd or Miles Davis, or for that matter, Sinatra's perfect cover of I've Got You Under My Skin, which reportedly took over 30 takes to complete. And, if it is angst that confers authenticity, then that goofy pop tune, It Never Rains In California, takes the cake ("Out of work, out of bread, out of self-respect, I'm out of my head, I'm under-loved and underfed, I want to go hoooome").
Buy the book; just pretend that its title is Random Thoughts On Post-60s Music; you'll enjoy it and it will make you think.
My only hope is that they make good on the idea of an exploration of authenticity in hip hop.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Forgive me for any language mistakes, i'm from Brazil and I've find this book really interesting about the perception of authenticity by the listener, with a lot of stories about... Read morePublished 21 months ago by clovis d m baptista
More than I ever knew, the concept of "keeping it real" to oneself and musical audiences is essentially as old as music itself. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Julian Wyllie
This book addresses the motivation of music fans in a way that resonates. I recognized my logic (or lack of) in the choices I made. Here's an example. Read morePublished on February 8, 2009 by bitemeadolf