Monday, January 05, 2009

Country Music, and a confession

Consider this a bit of a confession. I used to like country music. I mean like as in listened to a lot, knew a bit about, etc. Back in the 90's.

Now I live in Seattle, among people with a higher median education level than most people in the country or the world. Country music is associated with various things which all have bad connotations in Seattle, such as Rednecks, the military, American jingoism, and so forth.

But I still turn it on on the car radio occasionally. So recently I turned on the local country radio station and they were counting down the top whatever number of songs from 2008, and this song came on which had gone number one, and which had been nominated for country music association's song of the year, and so forth. It made me realize I don't like country music all that much anymore.

One of the things that country is supposed to be good at is being melodic. And this song the melody is just not working at all, in my humble opinion.

the video is pretty cheesy, but it has the music, so there it is.



Does it affect you the same way? The whole song I'm thinking "My God, the melody is just frakked. Whoever composed it should be fired".

Maybe part of my lessening like for country music *is* it's embrace and promotion of certain (incredibly obvious) rather dangerous cultural lies. As in the lyrics from this song, Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American) by Toby Keith, which went number one on Billboards Country Charts back in 2002.



American girls and American guys
Will always stand up and salute
Will always recognize
When we see old glory flying
There's a lot of men dead
So we can sleep in peace at night
When we lay down our head

My daddy served in the army
Where he lost his right eye
But he flew a flag out in our yard
Until the day that he died
He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me
To grow up and live happy
In the land of the free.

Now this nation that I love
Has fallen under attack
A mighty sucker punch came flyin' in
From somewhere in the back
Soon as we could see clearly
Through our big black eye
Man, we lit up your world
Like the 4th of July.

When uncle Sam
Puts your name at the top of his list
And the statue of liberty
Started shakin' her fist
And the eagle will fly
Man, its gonna be hell
When you hear mother freedom
Start ringin' her bell
And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Brought to you courtesy of the red white and blue

Justice will be served
And the battle will rage
This big dog will bite
When you rattle his cage
And you'll be sorry that you messed with
The U.S. of A.
Cause well put a boot in your ass
It's the american way

Hey uncle Sam
Put your name at the top of his list
And the statue of liberty
Started shakin' her fist
And the eagle will fly
Man, its gonna be hell
When you hear mother freedom
Start ringin' her bell
And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Brought to you courtesy of the red white and blue.

4 comments:

Joe said...

I never liked country music, thought it was over-sentimental and obnoxious. Rock is more my thing ;)

But then, I've been a miserable sinner for many years. Actually I also quite like bluegrass for no apparent reason.

Karin said...

Have you heard of Steve Earle? He may not be so popular at home in the US as he does not embrace and promote cultural lies. In fact he does quite the opposite, so may be considered dangerous by some of his compatriots.

He does have a gritty delivery so if you want melodic you may wish to listen to his songs sung by others, such as Joan Baez' renditions of 'Jerusalem' and 'Christmas Time in Washington'.

I'd recommend 'The Revolution Starts Now' and 'Jerusalem'.

arenda said...

I agree that today's country music is all pretty much crap... but there is some great older country music by artists like Merle Haggard ("Mama Tried" is fantastic) and of course Johnny Cash.

Seren said...

I love country music. And bluegrass. It's interesting the whole country music/ redneck thing. In Australia country music is actually alot more grassroots than Idol style pop. It is also the brand of music with more Indigenous artists than any other.

I went to the Tamworth Country Music Festival a few years ago. I thought I would be viewing it through a lens of irony, from a detached distance. But i LOVED the whole thing. THere was music on every street corner, i remember turning into an ALLEY, for goodness sake, and there was a group of five brothers singing the most AMAZING melodies. Yes, country melody!

It was, like, this is the music of the people, man.