I’ve been having an affair. This may seem like something too personal to share here and I would’ve agreed had it been a few months ago. In my attempts to live a more open life, I’ve decided that if something about my life could possibly be an interesting blog, I’ll share it. I’ve been having an affair.
With country music.
I’ve known country music all my life and there have been flirtations between us as far as I can remember. I distinctly remember wearing out a cassette of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Some Gave All” (yes that’s the one with Achey Breaky Heart on it). But we’ve never been able to form a real lasting relationship. Everytime we’d get close, inches away from that companionship, something would come between us. Be it 90’s Alternative, Hip-Hop, Neo-Jazz or motherfucking Toby Keith, one way or the other Country and I, just couldn’t love each other.
Sometimes I’d get jealous. I’d see Country driving around with other boys. They’d make themselves so obvious. It was almost vulgar the way they’d hang on each other. But part of me wanted to be vulgar. The problem was I was stuck with the latest literary-infused-indie-sensation. Sure I had songs about wildfires in California, but you just don’t drink beer to those songs.
Then one day it just happened. We found each other. I was wandering in the night hours of the morning, unsatisfied with the heavy drums of some neo-folk wailing. Country music was where it always was, 97.1, 104.5, and 99.7. I was nervous as my fingers fumbled with the radio. I might get caught, I was committed, it all felt so wrong, but I just couldn’t stop. One song went by, then another, then a commercial for car insurance, then a few more songs. It rushed past me so effortlessly. By the time I reached my destination I couldn’t get out of the car, I had to wait a little in the afterglow.
Part of me hopes that I’ll be discovered. Maybe that’s why I’m really writing this, maybe I want to be found wrapped up in the arms of secret admiration. Just know, blues, rock & roll, jazz, I do love you. I just need something you can’t offer me.
Okay, in all seriousness I have recently found a new appreciation for country music. Like a lot of people I definitely railed against the genre for a long time. There are still some things about the music I don’t like, but for the first time I’ve been able to ignore those things for the most part.
There’s a few things that country music does better than any other type of music. One of those things is love songs. Sure, they may be a little hokey. They probably go a little overboard with lyrics about the moon, whiskey and Chevys. But they feel real. They feel like stories that are actually obtainable. They generally don’t bother with intangibles, which is kind of refreshing. It’s nice to be able to put myself inside the songs and realize that I could actually do the things that are being sung.
I also have a certain appreciation for the songs that are simply about having a good time. There’s something pure and (excuse the cliche) American about dancing around a bonfire somewhere out in the middle of nowhere getting drunk. It’s an uncomplicated sort of fun. It doesn’t require a lot of thought or planning, it’s not something that needs to be dwelled on when it’s over. It’s about living in the moment and the songs that can capture that are great.
Now, the genre does have it’s flaws. I personally can’t stand the patriotic songs. Not that I have anything against patriotism, but generally I feel that the songs that try and depict this emotion tend to exemplify all the wrong reasons to be patriotic. They become so hamfisted in their urgings that America is the greatest, that it feels almost satirical, except I know it’s not.
I’m also not a fan of the glorification of The South that is pretty common in country music. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve lived in a Union State my whole life, but I just can’t wrap my head around the claims that the South is better than anywhere else in the country. I’m sure they’re very proud of their culture and traditions and I wouldn’t deny them that. It’s just the songs tend to be antagonistic in their celebration and it simply rubs me the wrong way.
I’ve been accused of thinking about things too much. It’s true, I do tend to be a little too analytical and critical which is probably why I spent so long avoided the music. But, I’m listening now, and I have to say. I’m liking it. Yeehaw.