Following on from thinking about the importance of sincerity to art (first bit).
'Art' you can think of as 'articulation'. We forget that though words are vast and can be bent to present a fathomable 'articulation' of what we want to say, they are weak, loose-fitting definitions that can never fully pronounce what we really want to express. If we agree with W.Benjamin that works of art are mere deathmasks of the original (link, number 13), then words are merely pale stabs in the dark.
Talking about her husbands lyrics, Olivia Harrison (George's wife) said "George usually referred to the lyrics of Bob Dylan when trying to make a point or elucidate his own feelings of isolation and frustration brought about by things in and beyond this life. Many times he said "I wish I knew more words", but perhaps all the words in the world, including the Sanskrit and mantras integral to his vocabulary, could not fully express his depth of feeling and realisation"
This is true of all of us, and its the reason a certain song (or painting, poem, anything) can be so cherished for us in moments of heartbreak (or joy); they seem to pronounce so much more what we are trying to articulate than our words ever could.
This I feel is in the succincticity of all parts strung together; the melody, the beat - fast or slow, & the lyrics themselves, all joining, working together to relay the depths of what we feel inside & wish to express.
A very good example of this is Dylan on the track 'Positively 4th street'. (Note - A good example if you are familiar with his other work, so apologies for my rose-tinted view) On this song Dylan sounds defiantly self-righteous, so scornful to his ex in lyrics that kick off with "You got a lot of nerve, to say you are my friend, when I was down you just stood there grinning".
However its not only in his lyrics but in the self-righteous way he sings them, the beat of the drum chugging away, and the melody which sweeps in and commands a sense of resolution to the scene he portrays. This ain't Charlie-Chaplin-Dylan caught in play-rhymes or serious contemplative solemn Dylan like we've heard in previous songs; this is him with his back up & his tail withdrawn from beneath his legs.
Words alone can't command such articulation. For example the lyrics themselves could be imagined in a broken, detached voice, distant and silently self-righteous. But the character he presents is one we can all find within ourselves when the time calls.
Another example, which is perhaps more widely recognised, would be Sinead O'Connor on Nothing Compares to you. Again, the words, her articulation of those words, and the simple, sad karaoke-esque backing track all tie together. With this example, we have the video too, which sticks in your mind just as emphatically as the rest.
On second thoughts, this post has a degree of hypocrisy when levied against the preivious post on the subject. Subjectively for myself, Dylan speaks volumes, however what's to say Christina Aguilera singing Diirty - written by someone else, perhaps not with her full 'sincerity' behind - can't speak with equal truth for people as Dylan does? It's certainly sung with equal gusto, and afterall, art is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of its conception.
The same could be said for a Beyonce song (who I feel is simply playing the game) or a One Direction song (who, undeniably, are as factory-processed as they come). Is sincerity really fundamental?
I spose at the very least it's a great lynch-pin, if something is sincere, then it is worthy of consideration. If someone truly feels something then it is a statement to adorn the great human tapestry. Culture is a reflection of us, in our place & time - regardless of whether that's Sinead O'Connor singing despairingly about the death of her mother or Robin Thick singing ironically & testingly about rape.. Irony, malevolence & disdain are sincere emotions too afterall..
Then on another level, even if Robin Thick wasn't sincere, the reaction to it from the masses (people unflinchingly dancing away) too tells us something to further our understanding of ourselves & our current condition (culture).
Anywho, thoughts thoughts thoughts. Roll on.