Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Country Music Round-Up: Aughts in Review

It's time for another country music round-up. Of course, it doesn't make mathematical sense for an end-of-the-decade article written in December 2010 to go all the way back to 2000, but I don't care—this one goes to eleven:

Alan Jackson: "Where I Come From" (2000)
Where I come from, it's cornbread and chicken
Where I come from, a lotta front porch sittin'
Where I come from, tryin' to make a livin'
Workin' hard to get to heaven
Where I come from
Fair enough. Alan Jackson clearly does not come from a place with, say, a vibrant local arts scene. And, as reiterated by practically every country song since Little Jimmy Dickens' "Country Boy" (1949),[1] there ain't nothin' wrong with that. But what happens when Jackson finds himself out of his element? Things get uncomfortable, that's what.
I was chasin' sun on 101
Somewhere around Ventura
I lost a universal joint and I had to use my finger
This tall lady stopped and asked
If I had plans for dinner
Said no thanks ma'am, back home
We like the girls that sing soprano
This is a transsexual woman we're talking about, I assume, and for all we know, she's spent her whole life in the decidedly non-country sprawl of Southern California. But, on the other hand, maybe her background is just like Jackson's. I mean, she's willing to pick up hitchhikers—it doesn't get much more country than that. Maybe she also has a strong work ethic, an appreciation for homemade cornbread, an inexplicable love of dirt, and everything else a country upbringing entails.

Maybe she'd love to get out of the big city and go back home, but, for some reason, just doesn't feel like she'd be accepted. Ever think about that, Alan Jackson?

Brooks & Dunn: "God Must Be Busy" (2007)
I know He’s heard my prayers
‘Cause He hears everything
He just ain’t answered back or He’d bring you back to me
God must be busy
The basic message here is hard to argue with—there are a lot of awful things going on in the world, and odds are your problems are pretty insignificant by comparison, so you should probably calm down. It's a fine song, until this part:
There’s a single mom, just got laid off
Went and lost her job to foreign hands
In some far away land
An American lost her job to a foreigner!? And God allowed this to happen!? It's like we're not His favorite country anymore!

Brad Paisley: "American Saturday Night" (2009)
There's a big toga party tonight down at Delta Chi
They've got Canadian bacon on there pizza pie
They've got a cooler for cold Coronas and Amstel lights
It's like were all livin' in a big ol' cup
Just fire up the blender, mix it all up

It's a French kiss, Italian ice
Margaritas in the moonlight
Just another American Saturday night
I like it—a celebration of America's long tradition of incorporating elements of other cultures into our own. Or a celebration of our long tradition of naming stuff after other nationalities to make it seem exotic. A little of both, I suppose. Anyway:
You know everywhere there's something they're known for
Although usually it washes up on our shores
Which is great, as long as it's tasty, alcoholic, and/or legally documented!

Dixie Chicks: "Not Ready to Make Nice" (2006)
I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I know what you're thinking: This song doesn't belong here—it was written in response to the criticism the Dixie Chicks drew when Natalie Maines went and declared her opposition to the Iraq War and her disappointment with her fellow Texan in the White House.

The backlash was severe. Boycotts were organized. Country stations stopped playing Dixie Chicks songs. Maines even received a death threat. The whole mess was as sad as it was ironic, really, because what could be more conservative than speaking your mind and refusing to back down when people get offended?[2]

Johnny Cash: "Hurt" (2003)
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way
I have nothing to add, except that this is my all-time favorite audio recording of any kind (and the video's good enough to link to twice).

1. In fact, the two songs—recorded some 50 years apart—bear striking similarities, and that really speaks to the essence of conservatism, doesn't it? Compare the lyrics: Dickens and Jackson appear to hold identical views on the value of remaining true to one's modest background, the joys of a simple country life, and the importance of being wary of city folks who—it's probably safe to assume—just don't get it.
    But, in other ways, the songs illustrate how much things can change over the course of a half-century. Namely, cornbread is no longer spelled with a hyphen.
2. Answer: Blindly supporting a Republican president through two shaky administrations, then letting loose with relentless criticism as soon as a Democrat takes office.[3]
3. Ha ha, just kidding.[4]
4. No, actually, that sounds about right (pun not intended, but neither was it removed upon discovery, so make of that what you will).


  1. Kendi Şiir ve öykülerinizi ücretsiz olarak paylaşın.

  2. Türkiye'nin ve dünyanın her yerine tatil planınızı yapabilirsiniz.

  3. Just so you know from a conservative here. Alan Jackson isn't talking about transsexuals. It's missing some context but seeing as where he is, perhaps how she asked, and maybe what she was wearing he's simply saying he dates Christian conservative women. (Soprano is a female vocal range in acapella church singing if you weren't aware) Brooks and Dunn don't care about immigration. He is outright speaking against government tax law that cause businesses to defer their work overseas. And now the Dixie Chicks. Like you said there is nothing more American and conservative than speaking your mind. The problem is she did it on foreign soil. You don't openly disrespect the leaders of our country to people who may have no accurate knowledge or opinion on America and it's also generally distastefull to bring politics into entertainment, especially abroad. Just wanted to help clarify if you were confused

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.