Faking It (4 stars)

Hugh Barker & Yuval Taylor

Faking It (Faber)


The concept of ‘keeping it real’ is one that has been ever more bastardised by popular music recently, when even the most formulaic and constructed of bands can drop the phrase as some self-imposed token of relevance. Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor recognise this in their excellent collection of essays, and cut to the chase by revisiting ten moments when authenticity really mattered with the history and theorising pitched perfectly.

Is Donna Summer’s faked, 14-minute orgasm on the extended version of ‘Love to Love You, Baby’ any less relevant a piece of art (remembering that women moaning over repetitive beats had never been heard before 1975) than the exaggerated showmanship of punk? Does anyone else see the paradox in Kurt Cobain (the archetype of authenticity) worshipping the music of blues icon Leadbelly (a construction of the primitive hype of his day)? A book for people to whom music really matters.

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