Silver's Blog
a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog
 
 
The Future of the Industry
Posted on May 1st, 2010 at 4:07 pm by silvercc and

I was so excited when I read “Confessions of an Intellectual (Property): Danger Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Sonny Bono, and My Long and Winding Path as a Copyright Activist-Academic” by Kembrew McLeod because it discussed “The Grey Album” by DJ Danger Mouse. Earlier this semester, I left a comment on Nina’s musical text analysis of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” expressing how I never heard the original song, but I heard the “mashup” with Jay-Z’s “What More Can I Say.” Kembrew says, “the album had been downloaded more than 1 million times.” I am among this million! I never knew of the controversy this album caused or even heard of the online protest, “Grey Tuesday.” Honestly, I didn’t even know that these beats were chopped from the Beatles’ “White Album” until Nina’s entry. Overall, this journal was very informative in highlighting the distinct differences between authorship and ownership. One line stood out to me. Describing Eminem, Kembrew says, “His powerlessness illustrates how he, as an author, has little control over how his music is received and understood- that he literally does not have the final word…no matter how hard he tries.” It’s ironic to think of a rap superstar as “powerless.” In the (censored) words of Lil’ Kim “See I believe in money, power and respect. First you get the money. Then you get the power. And after you get the power, you get people to respect you” Eminem, and many other artists, have the money and respect, yet still lack power. I’ve never considered this until now. This line also interested me because when Kembrew says “how his music is received and understood” it reminded me of the point I was trying to make in my hip hop blog entry where I discussed listeners misinterpreting lyrics.

Both “Music Industry Counts the Cost of Piracy” and “What’s the Future of the Music Industry? A Freakonomics Quorum” analyzed the future of the music industry, given the creation and popularity of MP3s and illegal file sharing. My personal opinion is that once listeners have had a taste of “free” music, there’s no turning back. It isn’t illegal to listen to a song on YouTube, and that’s how I listen to most songs, for FREE! Now, actually posting the songs may be illegal, but not listening. The music industry needs to find other ways to keep up. I have no suggestions. I will say, however, that even before I had an iPod or used YouTube, I thought CD were overpriced and stopped buying them.

Lastly, in “Calling Almost Everyone’s Tune,” David Segal discusses the recent merge of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, as well as the successes of Irving Azoff within the industry. As sad as this sounds, I’ve never been to a live concert and after reading this article, I know why. The high ticket prices, the hidden charges, the “alienation of the fan base,”…. doesn’t seem like I’m missing anything to me… especially when I can watch it on YouTube the next day. Did I mention for FREE?

Music Embodies Imagined Worlds
Posted on April 24th, 2010 at 5:09 pm by silvercc and

All of this week’s readings discussed different “alternative subcultures” within the music industry. 

In “Technobanda and the Politics of Identity,” Helena Simonett describes Mexican American’s appreciation of technobanda, serving as an example of how diasporic music gives a sense of ethnic pride, identity, and affiliation. One line was so profound and well said that I chose it as the title to this blog, “Music embodies imagined worlds.”

 In “Post-Punk’s Attempt to Democratise the Music Industry,” David Hesmondhalgh gives an overview of the success and failure of Rough Trade, focusing on their use of the democratisation, and how this may have benefited, or disadvantaged them.

In “Just a Girl? Rock Music, Feminism, and the Cultural Construction of Female Youth,” Gayle Wald analyzes the female youth subculture that celebrated girlhood through the songs and lifestyles of female rock stars, “each with her own carefully cultivated star persona.” She discusses popular “girl power” artists such as Riot Grrrl, Gwen Stefani, and Spice Girls, to Japanese female bands such as Shonen Knife and Cibo Matto. The comparison of the Rolling Stone and Spin articles gave informative insight into how the media picks and chooses its stories in relation to their audience and status.

 In “What is Indie Rock,” Ryan Hibbett provides multiple broad, yet differing definitions of independent rock music explaining, “while it marks the awareness of a new aesthetic, it also satisfy[ing] among audiences a desire for social differentiation and supplies music providers with a tool for exploiting that desire.” He further demonstrates this point through his analyses of indie representative Lou Barlow and his home recordings, the ethos of post-rock, indie rock as a social discourse through websites such as soyouwanna.com, and the marketing of indie rock through websites such as Amazon.com. One thing I found interesting in this journal was the notion of “self-deprecation.” Hibbett writes, “As with Barlow’s music, everything must be outwardly downplayed – so carefully constructed as to seem not constructed and therefore ‘pure,’” when describing the rules provided by soyouwanna.com in order to fake being an indie rock expert. This line stood out to me because he defines indie rock as “independent of the economic and political forces” and claims that, “this independence exists in a positive correlation with artistic integrity and aesthetic quality.” However, with my knowledge that quality is commonly based on authenticity, “carefully constructed” outfits and hygiene seems inauthentic to me and lacks “aesthetic quality.” He later clears up that “the intent is not merely to be recognized as “indie,” but to communicate to the non-indie world that you are part of something, or that you know about something… which they are unable to identify.” I thought, “With websites like this that provide a how-to list of rules, how rare can this subculture possibly be?” In conclusion, he makes the argument that “the desire to be different is little more than commonplace, that the indie elite are more numerous than they would perhaps care to think.” Maybe my interpretation was right after all?

 I tried to think of a present-day indie artist and the first that came to mind was M.I.A. I’m not sure if she’s considered indie or not, in “music industry” terms, but I know when I first heard her music, along with her abstract style and use of art, I thought she was an alternative, indie artist. Her music integrates many genres and usually has a political message, representing her own personal struggles living in a third world country. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with M.I.A, here is one of her videos, “Paper Planes.” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewRjZoRtu0Y

Breakdancing
Posted on April 19th, 2010 at 6:32 pm by silvercc and

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing “Status Quo” perform at Boston College. They have competed in MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew twice, but haven’t made it far enough to actually win. This was the first time I saw a live breakdance performace and it was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. They incorporated skits, old school dance, feminine dances, etc. which kept the energy up, audience laughing, and completely entertained. I thought their performace was AMAZING and I find it unfortunate that they can’t be as successful as they should because breakdancing is a dying trend. I couldn’t help but think of this class and share this with you guys. Thanks for reading!

Hip Hop
Posted on April 11th, 2010 at 6:15 pm by silvercc and

All of this week’s readings discussed hip-hop. I know when I was younger my mother didn’t want me listening to hip-hop because of the violence and language that was represented in the songs and videos. My argument for her was “Just because they say or do it, doesn’t mean I will.” Growing up in the projects, I could relate to some songs, which would make me like the artist even more because I’d think, “Wow…They went through this too?” I will point out what I found most interesting from each essay. 

In “Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America,” Tricia Rose analyzes hip-hop culture, specifically focusing on breakdancing, graffiti, and rap. She defines identity in hip-hop as “deeply rooted in the specific, the local experience, and one’s attachment to and status in a local group or alternative family.” Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been able to relate to hip-hop. Many rappers address their roots, sometimes by describing where they grew up, or hardships they went through. To a listener like myself who may be in the same place they grew up, or going through the exact same hardship, it gives them a sense of hope and connection with the song or rapper. However, most critics of hip-hop focus on the negativity. As Rose concludes her essay she says, “hip hop’s anger is produced by contemporary racism, gender, and class oppression.” If only the critics of hip-hop thought like this… 

In “The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop,” Murray Forman discusses the origins of hip-hop, its influences, and its struggle for inclusion within the mainstream music industry. One line that stood out to me was, “The tendency toward narrative self-awareness and a more clearly definable subjectivity effectively closed the distance between the story and the storyteller, and the concept of a place-based reality became more of an issue in evaluating an artist’s legitimacy within the hip-hop scene.” While I agree that hip-hop artists generally incorporate stories of their lives in their songs, I don’t think that listeners should take this “closed the distance between the story and storyteller” stance on what is being rapped about. A lot of song content is completely made up and meant to entertain. One should be able to detect the difference, as I assured my mother that I could when I was younger.

To further demonstrate this point I will use, “I’m From Rags to Riches: The Death of Jay-Z,” written by Cynthia Fuchs, which gives an overview of Jay-Z’s career, specifically focusing on how his image has changed and been reshaped through the years based on his success and maturity. In the essay, Jay-Z is quoted saying, “Just like Denzel in Training Day or any other actor, I was acting out a part.” He said this when asked to explain one of his video’s gun violence and the effect it could have on kids. Then she explains, “hip-hop artists are rarely granted such distance from the ‘roles’ they play; rather, hip-hop performances tend to be read as direct translations of the artists’ experiences, beliefs, and self-understandings.” So why is this treatment of song content commonly applied to hip-hop artists? I think that people get ridiculously sensitive when it comes to hip-hop, as if drugs, sex, and violence aren’t spoken of, or practiced within any other genres.

Eminem is an example of a hip-hop artist that has directly addressed this tendency to read songs as direct translations. In the intro to “Criminal” he says, “A lot of people ask me stupid f***** questions. A lot of people think that what I say on record or what I talk about on a record, that I actually do in real life, or that I believe in it. Or if I say that I wanna kill somebody, that I’m actually gonna do it, or that I believe in it. Well s***, if you believe that, then I’ll kill you.” Similarly, in “Who Knew” he raps:

who woulda thought Slim Shady would be somethin that you woulda bought?
that woulda made you get a gun and shoot at a cop
I just said it – I ain’t know if you’d do it or not 

In these songs, Eminem makes it clear that he’s just rapping and not everything he says should be taken literally. 

I know that I’ve strayed from the content of the readings but this has always been an issue that interests me mainly because my family frowns upon hip-hop and I love it! I think it’s safe to say that society as a whole, if not now but at some point, has frowned upon hip-hop. I believe that the negativity towards hip-hop is justified in most cases (because of the content) but my justification for those cases would be that hip-hop isn’t for everyone. In closing, I’d like to use a line from a (rapper) Fabolous song, “The Bad Guy,” that borrows lines from the movie Scarface. I think this line is suitable because Fabolous is addressing this same tendency. When it comes to hip-hop, the focus is always on the negative, despite the positive, empowering songs that have been released. The way I interpret this is that someone has to be the bad guy… 

You need people like me
So you can point your f***** fingers
And say, “That’s the bad guy.”

Covering
Posted on March 6th, 2010 at 6:11 pm by silvercc and

This week’s readings dealt with a common theme of cover songs. The Michael Coyle article focused on the art of covering songs in comparison to “hijacking hits,” which he claims exploited racial inequality. The difference, for him, is when an artist remakes a song that is already popular, in order to make a quick profit. He says that cover songs “tended to cover older material and pay it homage as part of a tradition.” (pg. 147) He also brought up issues of authenticity, bringing up the fact that “it was producers who determined the vehicles for singers.” (pg. 141)

 The Millard chapters focus on the introduction of Rock & Roll and its impact in musical history, and the importance of the record, itself. Millard talks about how independent record companies were the first to capitalize on the rock & roll genre because the larger companies weren’t aware of the desire for this new sound from the younger generation. The larger companies later got involved by covering the new popular songs. Millard notes, “the covers often removed or changed” lyrics of the original song in order to appeal to a mainstream audience. He also mentions the crafting of performers in order to fit a certain image.

 Both readings refer to Elvis and The Beatles as popular examples of rock and roll artists who covered songs (rather than hijacking hits) and were incredibly successful in crossing over to a not-so-common genre of music (given their race) in that time. Rock and roll surfaced from the combination of different styles and genres and through its recordings, was able to disseminate cultures, blurring the lines of race.

Although when originally introduced, covering may have had a negative connotation because of authenticity and its relation to hijacked hits, today, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s interesting to see an artist put their own spin, edge, personality, creativity, etc. to a song that was already deemed a hit. Also, this recycling of hits adds to the original artist’s royalties, so it’s not like they’re losing anything. R & B and hip-hop artists (among other genres) are constantly covering, sampling, and re-making old time classics into modern day popular music. Although it lacks originality, it may make up for it in creativity.

There are probably countless examples of modern artists covering past hits, but the most recent example that came to my mind was from the 2010 Grammy Awards. Beyonce performed her song, “If I Were a Boy” and diverted into Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” which was a popular hit back in 1995. Beyonce didn’t change any lyrics, or take anything away from the song (at least to me.) I, personally, loved the song back then and I enjoyed watching Beyonce perform the song, because of the intensity of her performances. I’ve included a link to the Youtube video. Enjoy!

Beyonce at 2010 Grammys

Bebop & Hip-hop
Posted on March 1st, 2010 at 9:27 pm by silvercc and

This week, the Millard readings focused on the transitions of the recording industry towards a more efficient and affordable type of production. The focus was primarily on the improvements of the quality, fidelity, and portability of the new recording technology being introduced from the 1930s up until the 1960s. The later pages that were assigned dealt with the techniques used to perfect the sounds being recorded within studios from the mid 1920s up until the 1960s.

However, I want to expand on the “‘Dizzy Atmosphere’: The Challenge of Bebop” reading by Eric Porter. The article focuses on bepop, which Porter described as a “musical language [that] included rapid tempos, dissonant chords and melodic lines, tritone and other chordal substitutions, extensive chromaticism, off-beat piano accompaniment (“comping”), walking bass lines, polyrhythmic drumming, and perhaps most important, a focus on extended, improvised soloing on the front-line instruments.” The emergence of bebop is directly associated with the jazz genre and was important because it came within a time of rising black consciousness and dissatisfaction of racial inequalities.

My focus will be on the late 1940s and after, where bebop was associated with the music industry’s decline and the image of a “bebopper” was connected with that of a juvenile delinquent. One quote that stood out to me was from Ralph Gleason, a columnist for Down Beat, stating, “Perhaps it’s all for the best. When people all begin thinking that be-bop is a swear word, or a noun to be connected only with shoplifters, drunks, or users of narcotics, then they’ll forget its origin.” He was referring to the preservation of its origin, the jazz genre, and how it’s a good thing that the negative connotation won’t have an effect on jazz. When I read the quote, I immediately thought of hip-hop.

In order to further demonstrate the connection I’ve made here, I needed to find a similar quote describing the hip-hop genre in a negative light. The Hip Hop Wars by Tricia Rose held the perfect example in its pages. Rose states, “Hip-hop has been roundly criticized for representing and celebrating what many critics, scholars, and media talking heads consider black underclass urban ‘culture of dysfunction’… [revolving] around the notion that poor urban black people have themselves created a ‘culture’ of violence (which includes crime and prison culture), sexual deviance/excess, and illiteracy.” Her entire book is dedicated to the controversy of hip hop being associated with “caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and ‘hos.” With chapters entitled, “Hip Hop Causes Violence, Hip Hop Reflects Black Dysfunction, Hip Hop Hurts Black People, Hip Hop Demeans Women, etc” she dissects the stereotypes from both positions and explores these crucial issues.

From my personal observations of the hip-hop genre, I can agree that it is represented in a negative light. Yes, I’ll admit that some of these connections are justified. Some lyrics are raunchy and disrespectful. Some videos are risqué. Some of the subjects of the songs are violent. However, there are hip-hop artists that don’t engage in this type of song making, that shouldn’t be looked at negatively or generalized because of the genre that they are associated with.

Back to bebop… I’ve made this connection to hip-hop to show how history repeats itself. For me, it’s basically the same type of situation where the African American community took an already existing type of music, added their own culture, experiences, and intellectual love of music to it, to create their own form or genre, which some people understand, and some just don’t. Consequently, stereotypes and negative opinions are formed, discouraging the music from being produced. As you can see, however, the discouragements can only go so far, given the popularity of hip-hop today.

Cold Case Love by Rihanna (Song analysis)
Posted on February 25th, 2010 at 5:23 pm by silvercc and

We all know about the Chris Brown-Rihanna scandal. We all saw the magazine and newspaper covers, watched the coverage on the news, the interviews, heard about it on every talk show possible, and were even provided with in-court coverage of the trial. 

Video: Inside Court

However, what some of you don’t know is that Rihanna made a song describing the domestic abuse. The song is called “COLD CASE LOVE ” on Rihanna’s newest album, “Rated R,” which was released on November 23, 2009 on Def Jam. It was written by Justin Timberlake, Robin Tadross, and James Fauntleroy II and produced by JT’s production group The Y’s. This song was so significant in the history of recorded music because this is the first song tackling the subject of domestic abuse from an actual victim. There have been other songs such as, Aaliyah’s “Never No More” and Eve’s “Love Is Blind,” however neither artist was highly publicized in the media as being a victim of domestic abuse. The fact that Rihanna’s fan base saw the picture of her beaten up and that her fan base is largely teenage girls, required her to stand as a role model for these young girls and say that domestic abuse is a crime, I’ve had enough, and you’re not going to do this to me anymore. Which is exactly what she did.

“Cold Case Love” starts off gradually with an ominous organ playing and a light piano melody to give off an eerie, depressing mood. Correspondingly, Rihanna begins singing, “On my roof, dark and I’m burning a rose. I don’t need proof, I’m torn apart and you know.” This line demonstrates the emotional abuse that someone in her position would have undergone.

In a slightly louder voice, Rihanna continues, “What you did to me was a crime, cold case love. And I let you reach me one more time, but that’s enough.” Here, Rihanna clearly states that the abuse that she endured was, indeed, a crime. Cold case refers to a crime that isn’t solved. I think she is speaking to all of those victims in the same situation, yet it will remain a “cold case love” because they will never stick up for themselves and finally say “that’s enough,” as she did. While singing, her voice cracks, the emotion and compassion is felt, making the song truly seem heartfelt.

A drumbeat begins, introducing the hook  and letting go of the melancholy mood, moving on to a more liberated one. She sings, “Your love was breaking the law but I needed a witness.” This represents aspects of the battered persons syndrome, which can be defined as a pattern of signs and symptoms, such as fear and a perceived inability to escape, appearing in persons who are physically and mentally abused over an extended period of time by a significant other or other dominant individual. When she mentions needing a witness, this displays one of the stages of the syndrome, denial. According to Lenore E. Walker in “Treatment Alternatives for Battered Women,” “the three phases are: the tension building phase [where the denial is initially introduced], the explosion or acute battering incident, and the calm, loving respite.” Basically she needed someone else to tell her that was he was doing was wrong, because she wouldn’t acknowledge it herself.

Rihanna continues, “So wake me up when it’s over, it don’t make any difference.” This introduces another stage of the syndrome, enlightenment. She’s acknowledged that there is a problem with her relationship; however, she stays with the abuser in an attempt to keep the relationship in tact with hopes of future change.

The hook goes on, “Will it ever be solved?” Serving as a disguised call for help. “Or am I taking the fall?” Here, “the fall” representing the potential effect of the abuse, which people sometimes don’t realize can be so severe. “The truth was there all along, tell me how did we miss it?” This once again, brings up the subject of denial. The truth was there all along, that the relationship was abusive, but they kept pursuing it.

The chorus is introduced, “We opened up a cold case love. And it got the best of us. And now prints, pictures, and white outlines are all that’s left at the scene of the crime of a cold case love.” In this line, a comparison is made to a crime scene. This is to show her audience that this could be the possible outcome if you allow the domestic abuse to continue. “Prints, pictures, and white outlines” also known as death.

A violin plays over a drumbeat and piano briefly until the second verse begins, “Should’ve investigated, the love blinded eyes couldn’t see.” This once again conveys certain aspects of denial. Love is blind and therefore blinded her sight, and typically the sight of other women in her position. Instead of acknowledging that there was a problem and investigating where the problem started and how to solve it, she remained blinded.

She continues, “And then I tried to cage it but your love ain’t the kind that you can keep,” clearly making a person reference to Chris Brown. Because their relationship was such a hot topic in mainstream media, it’s very hard to have a functional, faithful relationship when your both superstars, hence, his love not being the kind you can keep.

The verse continues, “Release me now ‘cause I did my time of this cold case love. My heart’s no longer cold and confined, I’ve had enough.” Here, she compares their relationship to doing time, as if she were a prisoner in jail. Stating that her heart was cold and confined, the opposite of someone happily in love. Again, declaring that she has had enough.

The hook plays once again, followed by the chorus with the same instrumentals. She then sings the bridge, “We’ve lost our way, took this too far. And I’ll never find the pieces of my heart. We’ve lost enough looking for a truth that was here all along.” They took things too far in not ending it when they first discovered that the relationship was abusive. She’ll never find the pieces of her heart, obviously referring to her now having a broken heart. In terms of them “losing enough,” Chris Brown not only completely defamed his character, but he lost many endorsements and fans, which was clearly reflected in album sales. Rihanna lost someone that she truly thought she loved and was caused a lot of stress and embarrassment as the media had a frenzy with coverage of the scandal.

The bridge is followed by a louder drumbeat with Rihanna repeating the chorus twice, with even more emotion. The final two minutes concludes with an electric guitar playing over the new drumbeat and all of the previous instruments. It fades out with the piano playing softly. Over the course of the song, the mood went from eerie to upbeat, representing the relationship. When she was with him, she was unhappy. When she finally had enough and ended the relationship, she was content with her decision.

As you can see, these lyrics are very personal. According to www.songfacts.com, Rihanna was quoted in The Sun’s December 4, 2009 issue saying, “There are lots of emotions and things that go through your mind, things that you don’t want people to know about. On songs like ‘Stupid In Love’, ‘Fire Bomb’, ‘The Last Song’ and ‘Cold Case Love’, they get really personal. I’m able to listen back to it now but in the beginning it was really weird. I couldn’t even listen to demos or anything. It was too deep for me. I kept having to leave the studio when people wanted to listen to the songs.” Although it may be difficult to record, this is the type of a song that has such an influence on its audiences because it is so genuine and personal, yet relatable.

This song transitioned Rihanna from another superstar victim of domestic abuse to a role model for teenage girls (and even some grown women for that matter.) The objective of the song was to fully capture the emotions (heartbreak, denial, guilt, sorrow, pain, etc.) involved in an abusive relationship, up until that pivotal moment where you make an escape, or continue to endure and accept the consequences that may follow.  Prior to the creation of  “Cold Case Love,” never was there a song that a victim of domestic abuse could turn on and feel empowered to stand up against the violence, just as the singer did and publicly succeeded.  This is why “Cold Case Love” is significant in the history of popular recorded music.

Works Cited 

Chapman, Jane R. and Margaret Gates
    The Victimization of Women: Treatment Alternatives for Battered Women by Lenore E. Walker. California: Sage Publications 1978 

 Rihanna Discography <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rihanna_discography> Retrieved February 25, 2010

Song Facts- Cold Case Love <http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=17855> Retrieved February 25, 2010

Behind The Music
Posted on February 18th, 2010 at 9:58 pm by silvercc and

Both the Filene and Kyriakoudes articles talk about the misrepresentation and manipulation of the image of various musicians. Both articles raise the question of authenticity and display examples of misrepresentations in order to gain popularity, appeal to certain audiences, and/or fulfill the expectations of society.

Leadbelly was a 44-year-old inmate in a southern prison who knew a variety of songs in addition to being skilled on a twelve-string guitar. The Lomaxes’ wanted to portray American music in a pure, raw form, and would therefore search for talent in deserted, less common areas such as plantations, ranches, prisons, etc. The problems arose with the Lomaxes’ taste in songs that depicted the struggle that African Americans were going through, yet their desire to avoid confrontational songs that would question or challenge the current inequality in the system. They would alter song lyrics and falsely represent Leadbelly’s character in order to portray a “reality” of American culture and call it American folk song, although “their collecting was shaped by the cultural climate of the thirties, their standards of anthropological investigation, and their personal musical preferences. (Filene 619) Yet and still, the article does state that “Leadbelly… [is] considered folk forefathers of rock, pop, and blues.”

Similarly, George D. Hay, provided what Kyriakoudes describes as “a fabricated vision of rural life…a ‘misremembered’ past that Hay manipulated to create an image of rural white rusticity on the radio.” In addition to this, he would pick names such as “Possum Hunters” and even stage sets and wardrobe such as, “overalls and wide-brimmed straw hats, standing alongside hay bales and pig sties.” (Kyriakoudes 71) The Grand Ole Opry started out at a genuine folk level, then quickly transitioned. Instead of portraying the realities of the rural south through folk music and culture, he created a new type of southern music that had originated from a rural past but had hidden agendas behind his programs (like promoting life insurance to his listeners) in response to anxieties about modern life and new technology, and attempted to ease the fears by blending both worlds.

Although I am unfamiliar with folk music or culture, I can recall of an artist who was molded into a certain image, other than what she wanted to portray. The artist I am referring to is Pink. On VH1’s Behind the Music, Pink described how her R&B sound and image was manufactured and how her first album didn’t represent her, but what L.A. Reid (her record producer) wanted her to be. By her second album, perfectly titled “Missundaztood,” she completely transformed her sound to a pop-rock artist, what she really was. This album not only was more representational of her character, but also sold more albums. L.A. Reid soon realized that the more “authentic” Pink was more profitable than his image of her. In her first video “There You Go”, all the aspects from the R&B sound (lyrics and instruments,) to her movement, wardrobe, and attitude portray a completely different artist and genre, in comparison to a more recent video, like “Sober”.

I use this example to show that even in the mainstream popular music industry, (where pretty much anything goes), more “authentic” songs are preferred because they are more personal and as a result, heartfelt. (Not to say that there aren’t plenty of artists in the mainstream music industry living up to an “image.”) And since my understanding of folk music is that it is based on traditions and customs within a culture, I found it very interesting that it, too, can be manipulated. The very fact that someone would try to alter representation of folk music takes away from the authenticity and because the whole essence of the genre or culture is based on its authenticity, how can it still be considered folk music?