Humanity is nostalgic. There is no other way in which to explain the strips of antique malls in the Midwest or the string of collector shows on the shop-at-home networks. Like the sightseers searching for the Grand Canyon pictured on the poster in a local travel agency, humans are such experts on past experiences and expectations that they cannot help but attribute perfection to recreation of the old (Percy 589). Therefore, the easiest route to fame for a musician is to remind the audience of a musician who already found his or her route to fame. But where there is an easy route, there is also a hard route, a route that many bands, like Sonata Arctica, choose to follow. And when it comes to establishing sovereignty through authenticity, this band succeeds where others fail. Nothing modern can ever perfectly replicate something old. Sonata Arctica does not try to attain authenticity by imitating the bands that have come before them; instead, the band produces a voice that remains authentic to itself, a voice that generates its own sovereignty instead of borrowing from the past. A voice is only truly authentic when it seeks its authenticity through creation instead of through emulation.
[...] Some may claim that the overuse of instrumentation detracts from the songs, creates interference, but Percy questions whether or not purpose is seen better in the absence of distraction (590). Strings and opera may better suit the serious overtones of progressive metal on the surface, but when it comes to breathing life into characters, Sonata Arctica succeeds tenfold. Their characters are their voice, their children, and by creating the musical world in which they exist in such a shocking manner, they truly make their characters their own. [...]
[...] Humans do have a certain undeniable attachment to all things in the past, but to seek authenticity through mimicking someone else's authenticity is not authenticity at all; it is merely a futile effort to benefit from the work of others. There is a reason that every Beatles' cover is analyzed so particularly; their voice is authentic to the point of being embedded in the memories of an entire generation. But it is understandable why so many musicians rely on genres, rely on the past; with so many established voices in existence, it is an endeavor to not sound like someone else. [...]
[...] It all depends on the manner in which they approach their learning, and just as learning styles differ, so will the outcomes of these various methods. Although Sonata Arctica's choice of language, and the consequential effect on their voice as person, plays an important role in their sovereignty, their authenticity is best measured through the key elements of their music: the sound and the story. The distinction between the two, however, is rather complicated, but the authenticity exists because of this complication. [...]
[...] There is one in particular that illustrates how successful they are at owning their characters and, consequentially, the songs they perform: Bette Midler's “Wind Beneath My Wings.” They are not seeking emulation. They are not seeking a new identity by forging their voice into the copy of the original (Frith 289). They are instead seeking their voice, their sovereign voice, in the confines of a song that has probably existed longer than they have been together. And because of this, they are able to turn one of the greatest contemporary American love songs into the pain of a stalker. [...]
[...] This creates a tradeoff between sincerity and poetry, as either on its own is hard enough for the band to grasp without utter comprehension of English, and the songs that achieve sincerity hardly rhyme and the songs that manage to rhyme come across as immature with lines such as, “Walking in the cool night air without underwear” (Sonata). Still, how many bands would compose such lyrics when discussing the pursuit of a girl? Authenticity is not lost through the use of a foreign language; if anything, it is gained, because when numerous musicians are learning English, it is highly unlikely that they will all learn in a similar manner. [...]
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