Long Live the Monkees! (or, Why “Honest” Music is Overrated)

From Time Magazine:

I’ve never been a fan of the snobbery that demands authenticity over everything, and sees copycats or “calculated” music as somehow inferior or less “artistic” or worthy than the impassioned output of someone who “really feels it, man.” I’ve got nothing against the idea of self-expression, but when it comes to music, what’s most important to me is how it sounds. Does it make me feel something? Does it make me want to shake my booty in a way that reinforces how ridiculously old and white I am (thereby making the fact that I used the word “booty” that little bit more embarrassing)? If the answer to either question is “yes,” then what does it really matter whether or not it was cynically constructed for maximum effect — or a happy accident like Paul McCartney waking up with “Yesterday” almost fully formed in his head?

The Beatles, of course, are a fine example in why inauthentic music can be great. When they started, they weren’t even a proto-Greatest Band of All Time, but, rather, four guys trying to capture the vibrant energy of music produced by a country and culture they didn’t know, let alone understand. What made them great wasn’t their authenticity—a fact underscored by the various tell-alls written about the band after their split, that reveal just how many of their latter songs were attempts to keep themselves interested—but their willingness to experiment and expand.

Thinking about the most recent earworm to have dominated airwaves, Internet streams and people’s hearts, it strikes me that Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is nothing but pastiche — lovingly crafted, stupidly catchy, and addictive pastiche — and was lovingly embraced by all and sundry.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Time Magazine