"Melodrama and escapism are precisely soulfulness and authenticity in inverted commas, not believed. I'm off looking for something which makes inverted commas redundant, for a little while at least.
So says another Tim at Sink, a charming blog Mike discovered. It is cool to hear an intelligent voice actually defending authenticity without falling back on the usual cliches, but I can't really agree with this. Aren't melodrama and escapism actually older than concepts of "soulfulness" and "emotion"? It's hardly as if the former are merely the latter-plus-raised-eyebrow - I don't see much post-modern ironic posturings in the opera I see, for starters. As far as I can tell, the sole reason for the existence of authenticity as a criterion within music was that music journalists needed something to write about when they couldn't come up with anything about the actual music of the artist in question.
It's not so much that inauthenticity is a quality, but rather that the issue shouldn't really have to come up. Choosing melodrama over soulfulness is not necessarily definining yourself against authenticity so much as not considering it. Sure, I'd agree that there has been a lot of "soulful" or "authentic" music that is also actually good, but in ninety-nine percent of cases this would be where said soulfulness and authenticity were not a conscious aim of the musicians (ie. "keeping it real" in a non hip hop sense), but rather an unmeditated byproduct subsequently grafted onto the music by the ideological boxing of critics. And even then such unconsciously authentic music can never be inherently superior to inauthentic music.
Why? Because the "truths", if they exist in music, are hardly ones which need relate to life. These are pop songs, and even the most grittily realistic will only hold true for as long as the song is actually playing. I like music because of the effect it has on me, at the time that I'm playing it, and if I can still get teary-eyed listening to "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" although I know full well that I'd never throw myself in front of a bus for my friends, it's hardly going to matter a jot to me whether Morrissey did or possibly might at some stage carry out his promise.