In Which I Rant About Country Music 3


Buckle your seatbelts, because it’s Friday and I just decided that Fridays are for random topics, because it’s my blog and I can do that. Besides, I need to come up with a schedule anyway, so I may as well start slipping in themed days. The rest of the week will be devoted to literary posts, but Fridays will be about anything: TV shows, video games, movies. What won’t I write about?

Sports. I won’t write about sports.

Now to the topic. Country music. Musical taste in general is as prone to subjectivity as taste in genres of books or TV shows. You may like pop music, hate rock music, be indifferent toward rap music, whatever. If you like rock music, there may be some rock songs/bands you don’t like. If you hate pop music, there may be that one song that you just have to bob along to because it’s so damn catchy.

I can’t forgive country music, though. Lyrically, it’s so hypocritical it’s the musical equivalent of the Duggars. While it espouses family values, it’s also jingoistic, sexist, evangelistic, and downright confusing at times.

Plus, I just don’t like the way it sounds. You may say I’m being subjective now, but I argue that there are only a few different variations on the sounds of country songs, and only two variations on singing voices – the two being male and female voices, each with their own unique(?) twang.

There’s a newer trend now where country songs are starting to sound like pop songs, but with steel guitar, violin, and the aforementioned twang. Perfect example: Lee Brice – Parking Lot Party. I’m pretty sure Lady Gaga could do this same song and it wouldn’t lose anything.

If you’re looking for an example of jingoistic country songs, the obvious one should be Toby Keith – Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue:

And you’ll be sorry that you messed with
The U.S. of A.
`Cause we`ll put a boot in your ass
It`s the American way

Seriously. Can we not rile people up for war like this? “We’ll put a boot in your ass” is the kind of thing an abusive father might say to his son. I guess it matches up with the demographic.

Then there’s Cole Swindell – You Ain’t Worth the Whiskey:

I don’t care that you done me wrong
‘Cause I’ve already moved on

You’ve moved on, yet you’re writing a song about her? What is this, a Taylor Swift song?

But I’ll drink to a country song
To another long work week gone
And I’ll raise my glass to a long lost buddy I ain’t seen.
I might stay for one more round
Or I might close this place down
But don’t think for a second I’m out to drown your memory
Baby, you ain’t worth the whiskey.

So, he’s going to drink to all those other things, including a country song, but he won’t drink to the memory of the unnamed lost love, because she ain’t worth it. What she is worth, however, is a whole freaking song. Yeah, he’s totally over her.

Finally, my favorite. Darius Rucker – Come Back Song:

I woke up again this morning
And wouldn’t you know it… pouring rain
I went and burned a pot of coffee
And like us I poured it down the drain

‘Cause I didn’t know I needed you so
And letting you go was wrong

He needs her because he can’t make a pot of coffee. I’ll just leave it at that.

This all may sound silly and unimportant, and largely it is, but it’s the kind of crap that makes country music so annoying to me. Of course, I have coworkers who love it, and they go to concerts all the time. One of them said he didn’t like it at first, but it grew on him because of the friends that made him listen to it and go to the concerts. One coworker requests country music on the radio when I’m in charge, and when I tell him no (not just to be an ass – it’s not one of our approved stations) he mopes. Like, the kind of moping you’d get from a dog after showing her a slice of pepperoni then eating it. I know that look because I’ve done it.

But the most illuminating thing happened this week, when someone said, “Even if you don’t like country music, the concerts are still fun.” I asked why you’d go to a concert if you didn’t like the music, and mopey guy said, “Because sometimes it’s not just about the music.”

It all clicked into place. The guy who claimed country music had grown on him (and his friends) are frat-level manwhores. One of them claimed to have made out with “eight chicks” at a concert, until another coworker reminded him that one of them was fat, so he amended the count to seven.

Now I’m wondering if anyone likes country music, or if it’s some sort of code for people who want to hook up.


About David Shank

David T. Shank is a writer, runner, and musician, in that order. His blog is hopefully an oasis among the vast ocean of negativity that is the Internet. He lives in Cleveland studying how to write good.


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