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Friday, March 25, 2005

Chris Don't Write Too Good

So it pretty much starts with Scott listening to the new radio station in town. The CD player at work's been out for about three months now, which pretty much limits our musical options to the college station, the Fox, and sweet, merciful silence. Now since we can't always get WUSC (and when we can, there's a chance they'll be playing shitty death metal), and the Fox plays host to the most wretched sounds that Hell itself can spew forth, sweet lady silence has gotten more and more attractive over the past few weeks.

Enter Scott and his newfound fascination with Country Legends 94.3. He talked about it almost every time I called him there for a while, and it finally occurred to us to give it a shot after lunch on Wednesday. And lo and behold, it's not bad, even with Reba McEntire every hour on the hour. So, being a novel new sound, we played it for three days straight.

Now, while we're in the midst of tumblin' outta bed and stumblin' to the kitchen, pourin' ourselves a cup of ambition, Tracy walks over and says to me "I never figured you for a country fan."

Oddly enough, this was the second conversation I'd had about my opinions on country and western in the span of a week, which is a personal record. The first was to last Friday's lesbians, and involved me jabbing a finger at one of 'em and going: "Fuck Nashville!"

So I told Tracy and the Lesbians the same thing: I like older country, but can't stand the stuff that's coming out now. What I mean by that is that I like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, and the guys that have that kind of sound. But Tracy took issue with my stance on the matter, and a friendly miniature argument ensued.

I think the problem was my broad generalization against new country as a whole. But considering that everybody speaks in generalizations all the time, I think he should've cut me a little slack. I mean, I may say that I like John Ostrander, but you don't see me running out and buying Bishop miniseries left and right. I did, however, buy a run of Ka-Zar for reasons even I don't quite understand. Anyway, back to the point.

Today, I saw something that pretty much vindicated my feelings on the current state of country music, just in case Toby Keith, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill weren't doing a good enough job of that on their own. The song's called God's Will, by Martina McBride, and brother, it's rough.

Before I go on, I'm just going to clarify something: I'm an asshole. I mean, I consider myself a pretty nice guy in general, but some of the things that come out of my mouth--and Phil and Shaka know exactly the stuff I'm talking about--have pretty much guaranteed me a spot in hell. That said, I don't think I lash out without cause. Some things just push me over the edge, and instead of turning green and smashing cars, I end up miming Tom Cruise eating a baby.

So the song. I managed to catch the video twice almost back-to-back flipping through the channels this afternoon, and man. It might be the most pandering thing I've ever seen. It's a song about this kid, Will, who has the good fortune to have a name that's easily turned into a pun. That pretty much puts this song on par with the Brian Bosworth/Lance Henriksen epic Stone Cold right from the title, and that's no place to be.

Will's mentally and physically disabled, hobbling through the video occasionally dressed as a bag of leaves, and now you see why I don't even bother making shit up anymore. Also, halfway through the song, we find out he's terminally ill for some reason, and he gives our protagonist/singer a crayon drawing in the most artificially heart-wrenching musical moment since that fucking Christmas Shoes song. And believe me, that's another one I could go on for hours about.

Now before you get all pissed off at me making fun of the retarded kid, allow me to stress one thing: The chorus of the song--the chorus, the part that's repeated several times--starts off "Will don't walk too good / Will don't talk too good." Now once you've written that down on a piece of paper and then sung it into a microphone, you've pretty much given up all rights to not be made fun of on the internet, because that pushes this gem over the line from godawful right into hilarious.

It's the worst kind of pandering, and it even goes so far as to involve poor grammar, so I can't help but hate it. And it tries to make you feel guilty if you see through their paper-thin wall of bullshit. Well, mister, you picked the wrong person to lay a guilt trip on. I've said things about Judd Winnick that'll peel the paint off a Chrysler at 20 yards.

So here we are eight hundred words later, and the one point I've managed to hammer out is this. That song? Didn't care for it.


Blogger vickmacky said...

Good country = oxymoron. That's the feeling Shaka expressed and I'll take it to the bank.

3/26/2005 12:48 AM

Blogger autryman said...

Willie Nelson is a poet. A long haired, dope smokin', golf playin', tax-evadin' poet.
Pancho & Lefty
Seven Spanish Angels
But it's like any other music, there is a time and a place for it.
For example, if you're about to propose to your girlfriend, she should be feelin' it enough not to put the Luke CD in.
I've liked diferent music at different points in my life. At this point in my life, I absolutely hate rap. The only thing worse is some poser rap-metal band. I've liked it before...6-minutes, 6-minutes, 6-minutes, Duggie Fresh yur on, uh uh on! I still got all of the lyrics memorized.
First music I ever owned was a Johnny Cash, I walk the line 45, and a Kool & the gang, Celebration 45. Still two of the best songs I've ever heard. Thaz where I'm at.
I hate new country...well most of it. New country is now typically just really bad pop music. There are exceptions like Randy Travis. I shook his hand at his concert on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1996. I felt a connection.
I also made a banner for Anthrax, out of the Dennis the Menace bed sheet that I used as a kid. Anthrax held it up on stage at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas.
I think that Martina McBride lady sings another song that drives me up a damn wall, Let Freedom Ring. I'd give my left nut not to here that shit again.

3/26/2005 12:51 PM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

New country does suck. Old country is awesome. I'm been on a Dwight Yoakham kick of let for some reason. His later stuff isn't as good, but his old stuff is great, in that Johnny Cash/Hank Williams style. I also love the Rockabily, which is what I sometimes like to call Punk-Country.

3/26/2005 6:34 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Man. I was all over the place with this one. It's like reading Coleridge backwards.

3/27/2005 3:40 AM

Blogger Mark W. Hale said...

People who say "I listen to everything but rap and country!" really piss me off because they are Ignorant. But they don't deserve the subtle joys of Busta Rhymes or Lyle Lovett, so fuck 'em.

I thought modern country artists were too busy singing about bombin' towelheads to sing about cripples. Guess I'm out of the loop.
I spent a lot of time talking music with my boss at the school library, and during a conversation about country music he said this to me: country music is roughtly 20 years behind popular culture, which is why nowadays popular country sounds like 80s music with a twang. Which seems pretty accurate to me.

I listened to a lot of country music growing up. Old stuff and current stuff, when guys like Dwight Yoakam and Randy Travis were still kickin' it. It's good stuff. And now that Yoakam's all hip now I get the satisfaction of knowing Ilistened to him first.

3/27/2005 1:04 PM

Blogger Mark W. Hale said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/27/2005 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well i really like all kind of music and i really enjoy listening to country and God's Will is one of my favorites songs sou need to bug off ok

3/30/2006 4:08 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

If you acknowledge that most country is too busy talking about bombin' towelheads, 9/11, and other jingoistic crap, you should cut the people who don't listen to country some slack, you know? You already understand why they probably don't. And most rap's the same way. To get to any good stuff, you need to wade, neck deep, through dozens of guys talking about slapping bitches, shooting people, and selling crack to little kids.

12/02/2007 12:35 AM


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