The beauty of English is that we have hundreds of thousands of words. Sometimes we have several words for almost the same thing. almost.
The fun in having a large vocabulary is getting to play with nuance. The idea for this post started when I was listening to the radio. And it was a really lame song that shall remain unnamed (in part because I can’t remember what it was). Musically it wasn’t necessarily bad. But lyrically it was full of cliche platitudes and I just wanted to roll my eyes and mock them.
But then I stopped. Because the artist, I’m sure, wasn’t trying to write or perform a song that would be easily ridiculed. They were, presumably, trying to convey hope or inspiration or some sort of joy. I may not remember the actual song, but I remember the sense of what they were trying to share – they were just doing it badly.
Which got me thinking about the difference between sincerity and authenticity.
The musician was really sincere. They meant well and had great aspirations for their song. And most of all, they meant the words they were singing.
The problem is, those words seriously lacked authenticity. They were cheap and easy inspiration without depth; without coming from a place in the artist that resonated with reality and the power of experience.
The fascinating thing, to me, isn’t about the song or the musician. I just enjoyed how that moment of disdain opened up a chance to look at how we express ourselves as artists and the amusing, nuanced difference between sincerity and authenticity.