Saturday, November 17, 2012
And I could give you a pretty long list of the reasons why.
But, that would pretty obviously invalidate my veto.
In this particular moment, though, a list serves as the best underscore of the point I've been making pretty regularly now in both print and, every few weeks or so, on the morning radio show where I get to play music and wax witty.
The former a sure thing because of the station's "the most music in the morning" listener warranty.
The latter a matter of opinion.
I went Googling for a list of this kind because I wanted to be able to finance my aforementioned point with more than just the two cents I keep throwing down. And while the titles here represent an admittedly subjective collection (reason number three or four why I don't put a lot of stock in lists), they do serve the purpose of making the point.
Which I promise I'm going to get to momentarily.
First, from the Google and in no particular order, a list of "the top twenty four country songs of all time".
1) RING OF FIRE
2) GOOD HEARTED WOMAN
3) WHEN I CALL YOUR NAME
4) THE GRAND TOUR
5) HE'LL HAVE TO GO
6) I HOPE YOU DANCE
7) EL PASO
8) IF LOVIN' YOU IS WRONG, I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT
9) YOU'VE NEVER BEEN THIS FAR BEFORE
10) BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
11) MOUNTAIN MUSIC/DIXIELAND DELIGHT
12) COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER
13) SWEET DREAMS/I FALL TO PIECES
14) LET'S FALL TO PIECES TOGETHER
15) IT WASN'T GOD WHO MADE HONKY-TONK ANGELS.
16) THE LORD'S PRAYER/HOW GREAT THOU ART
17) WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED TURNING
18) YOUNG LOVE
19) DON'T LET ME CROSS OVER LOVES CHEATING LINES
20) SAFE IN THE ARMS OF LOVE
21) IS ANYBODY GOING TO SAN ANTONE/KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNING
23) ROSE COLORED GLASSES
24) LOVE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE
This list, again while purely the opinion of the lister, is, for my uses, a fair representation of "top country songs". And while there are a few proverbial, and regionally amusing, teeny drops of fly shit to be picked out of the pepper (If Lovin You Is Wrong, for example, was written and recorded originally as a great R&B song; You've Never Been This Far Before is Conway singing about the kind of love that tends to require a lot of lyin to get to the lyin down, etc), this list serves the purpose of making the point.
Which, much to your sense of thank Godness, I'm sure, we have now reached.
That, pretty much to a title, these songs, which are by any reasonable measure considered classics of the genre, are noteworthy not so much for what they got as for what they aint got.
They ain't got no beer.
They ain't got no honey.
And they ain't got no references to a woman's rear end.
Let alone any beer and/or honey dripping off of and/or being dripped onto a woman's rear end.
Your honor, if the court please, may I enter as people's exhibit one, a very brief, but very representative list of current country chart successes, all of which meet the aforementioned criteria of the mention beer, honey, a woman's rear end and/or of beer and/or honey dripping off of and/or being dripped onto a woman's posterior.
I Like Girls Who Drink Beer.
Red Solo Cup.
Country Girl (Shake It For Me)
Drunk On You. (This one in particular not only celebrates the hallowed American tradition of inebriation, but gives us, as a value added, the image of the aforementioned honey being dripped onto a woman's rear, in this case, referred to respectfully as her "moneymaker".)
And let us not overlook the granddaddy of the derriere' dittys.
Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.
The slippery slope one encounters whenever one offers up opinion as to cultural content is that art, for the purposes of this discussion defined as country songs, is, by its nature, something that cannot be faulted.
It simply is an expression of emotion, philosophy, observation, commentary, lamentation, pick the big word of your choice, about the multifacets of the multifaceted existence we know as this life.
And if that art happens to push the envelope in the process, then it is, rather than a transgressor, actually a transformer. Because envelopes were meant to be pushed and art came along to do exactly that.
Here's the point to the point, though.
For my own artistic sensibilites, the fact that country songs offering expressions of passion, romance, joy, heartache and/or break, lost love, found love, stolen love, even forbidden love, not to mention honestly artistically striking imaging like tears falling behind glasses with rose colored lenses or a burning ring of fire have morphed into not a whole lot more than raise your glass tributes to raising your glasses, dripping copious amounts of honey on and/or all over that part of the femalie anatomy that Grey apparently wasn't alerted is now designated the "moneymaker" (and let's not even get started talking about the lack of male cheeks having sticky shit poured all over them) is a source of some bittersweetness to me.
And not owing to any prudishness on my part.
Puritan, in my world, is a brand of cooking oil and nothing more.
(Come to think of it, there's another liquid that might flow sensually down and around a country girl's glutes)
My lament isn't about laviciousness.
It's about laziness.
Because as so many B or C budget motion pictures (not to mention assorted and sundry TV shows, reality and otherwise) have taught us all through the years, when there is no chance of creating a compelling story with crisp dialogue, colorful and interersting characters shining a light on our emotions or beliefs or unspoken dreams, resulting in our experiencing a tear welling up in the eye or the gentle, but poignant, feeling of our heart strings being tugged...a write can always find an audience by offering up a little T&A to distract us from the lack of compelling story with crisp dialogue, etc......
I think beer is cool.
I love the taste of honey.
And the woman's rear end, like pretty much the rest of her, is, in its best moments, a legitimate work of art all its own.
But it's not lost on me, as a songwriter, as a radio personality, as a man, that pretty much any list you can Google up with the "top country songs of all time" is going to be missing, at least, three things.
And, trust me, there's not a woman's ass in sight.
Lovely picture that makes notwithstanding.