Country music has always been the butt of jokes for many. It’s hokey, corny, twangy and sometimes sounds down right ignorant. It’s always been mostly wholesome and you didn’t mind listening to it in the car with the kids, no explicit language or questionable material. As long as you weren’t looking for your music to be grammatically correct country was a safe bet. I appreciated that country singers sang what they liked, country fans liked what they liked and were unapologetic about it. Things have changed.
Popular music today has become song after song about “tonight”. Everything is happening tonight, can’t wait for tonight, tonight’s the night, gonna be a good night, on and on about the instant gratification of what mindless debauchery will happen TONIGHT. No one is longingly singing baby anymore. So I started listening to country again. I think things are just as bad over there, just wrapped up in dust and denim rather than nylon and glitter.
I used to appreciate country’s unapologetic hokiness but they’ve gone a step to far. There’s a line between hokey and stupid and both Toby Keith and Trace Adkins have pole vaulted over it. Toby Keiths songs since 9/11 have made me uneasy.He’s “putting a boot in your a#* it’s the American way” he’s an “American Soldier” he’s “Made in America” he’s on an “American Ride” but mostly I feel like he’s pandering. He’s making patriotism into something corny and commercial. Trace Adkins….besides giving my husband the line “every light in the house is on” to sing as he makes his rounds in the evening has contributed virtually nothing to music. “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”?!!? Are you kidding me!?!
Country music is no longer a wholesome safe haven either. There’s not a thing wrong with people having a drink but my daughter singing the ridiculously catchy “Red Solo Cup, I fill you up…” (thanks again Toby!) is not cute. While hip-hop gets the bad rap (no pun intended) of objectifying women country music is becoming just as bad. “Country girl shake it for me, girl shake it for me, girl shake it for me” The only difference between this and a rap song is the man “singing” its pants. One pair is falling off; the other is cutting off circulation. Sadly though I can imagine many a girl in cut offs and a rebel flag t-shirt doing just that.
I find myself listening to a lot of oldies these days. At least the innuendo there is actually innuendo. Frank never asked a lady to “shake it for him”.