Genuine & Counterfeit

William Beckett, who plays very excellent power pop, both with his previous band The Academy Is… (whose final album Fast Times at Barrington High I reviewed here) and now as a solo artist, tweeted the other day that he’d be making times available for in-house concerts. And I was all, wait, this is a thing that can happen? I’ve had terribly bad luck trying to see Beckett live. He’s either been appearing near my home when I am off touring, or touring elsewhere when I was home — or on a couple of occasions, in the same town I was touring in, starting his gig the same time I was doing mine. But now I can have him come to my house and entertain me while I relax and have snacks in my ridiculously large chair? Done and done

And nicely timed for me, since his solo debut album, Genuine & Counterfeit, came out a couple of weeks ago and we’ve been grooving on it here at the Scalzi compound (Athena is also a fan). If you’re familiar with Beckett’s previous work, both with TAI and with his three solo EPs, then this album will be familiar territory: Beckett’s got a way with power pop hooks and smartly post-emo longing, both of which make G&C right up my personal listening alley. The album is loosely thematic, in that it tracks the course of a relationship from first blush through its ups and downs, with each track hitting a particular moment of  drama.

In that way, it’s a good companion piece to Barrington, which was also loosely thematic. If that album was about being on the verge of having to grow up, this is the one about actually learning to be a grown up, and being a grown up with one other person. Also like Barrington, it’s describing a time of life which I am well out of (18 years of marriage! Happy marriage! It’s a thing!), but it doesn’t mean I can’t reach back and remember what this was like. Humans don’t change that much. So it speaks to me. Since the individual songs work just fine as their own poppy moments, you don’t have to think about any of this if you don’t want to. But if you do, it’s there. Which I think is how it should work most of the time.

In short: Catchy and not at all dumb; easy to listen to, with enough upstairs to make it memorable, to me, anyway. I like it a lot; you might too. Can’t wait to catch the live show.

18 Comments on “Genuine & Counterfeit”

  1. I’ve been to a number of classical house concerts and a couple rock house concerts. I’ve even played a couple house concerts. They are a lot of fun. They harken back to the days before recording and provide an intimacy that you don’t get otherwise. It’s probably more fun if you invite a bunch of friends instead of it just being you in your large chair.

  2. SSteve:

    In fact it will likely be in conjunction with my daughter’s birthday party. There will be a festival crowd, as Spinal Tap would say.

  3. As I recall, you have a five acre lawn in an agricultural area … this could turn into a full-blown concert music festival … you could call it Whatstock …

  4. Thanks for introducing me to him. I was amazed at how perfectly The song Benny and Joon captured what it felt like to be a teenager (and how reflecting how quickly that feeling evaporated the moment I moved out).

  5. John,

    I noticed the comments seemed to be turned off on the “Feminist” story. I thought you looked good in the regency dress ;-) and I’m proud of the job you did on the yocal who dissed you. Thanks for standing up for our spouses/nieces /cousins etc.

    I enjoy your fiction too, really interesting, some excitement, some suspenseful mystery.

    Keep up the good work!

    JR Hodel
    Tango, West Virginia (mostly)
    Gleeson, AZ (Jan-March, the gloomy months in WV)

  6. Whatstock? Great idea. But I don’t think John’s 5 acres would be large enough to hold all the Whateverites (?) that would show up!

  7. @ hkhill
    The whole point of emulating Woodstock would be for Whatstock to become a massive debacle for the landowner …

    (this, along with basic decency etcetera, is why I am very much kidding)

  8. Mmmm, Whatstock. I’m in. John, you don’t mind if we crash on your lawn overnight, do you?

  9. Just downloaded it, and shoved it in my iPod to listen at work tomorrow. I have a sweet tooth for pop rock, thanks for turning my onto to this. Now that I think of it, I bought Barrington based on your recommendation as well.

    Ever heard of Lorde? I think you’d like her. Look up her song “Royals”.

  10. The song is much better than the video. Watching the video makes mean wonder what they’re advertising. Is it a Gap ad, or some kind of perfume?

    The base line is “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. One of the annoying things about getting old is hearing old songs in new ones. There’s one on the radio these days that opens exactly like a Beach Boys song and confuses me every time.

  11. I’m afraid this one didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t hate it, but it just didn’t move me in any way. I guess that’s why there are so many bands playing different music, huh?

  12. Hmmm, for some reason I’m seeing him as a sweet mix of Robert Sean Leonard and David Tennant (that’s meant in the nicest way!), with a lovely voice. I must get some of his music now, so thanks for the heads up!

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