I'm not sure how, exactly, I came to obsess over a style of music I, for the great majority of my life, despised with gleeful, smug contempt. I think this is the sort of logic, which occurred chronologically and naturally over the last, oh, ten-to-fifteen-to-twenty years, that I'm going to employ for a brief, disturbing rationalization: In the Beginning, there was Nirvana, which led to Punk Rock, which led to 70s Punk, which led to 70s Metal, which led to Southern Groove Metal and five Pantera concerts in high school, which led to 70s Classic Rock (specially Lynyrd Skynyrd)--and to the absolute, resolute avoidance of all emasculated, fashionable, hipster "Indy" music in college--which led to Johnny Cash, which led to Outlaw Country, which, finally and with mind-bending terror, leads to Popular Country.
Therefore, it follows, Punk Rock eventually leads to Pop-Country. Necessarily. See how that works! Simple deduction, folks.
Of course, I'm part country, too. So, that may have something to do with it. One side of my entire family is composed of, as my Great Aunt Sissy says, "simple, red-neck, red-state folks," who inhabit the more godly, small-town, rural and ranch lands of the Great Southwest. This family of mine, where I'm from, are living in what I call The Vestige.
Moreover, I've spent the last nine summers of my life in the country-est of all backwoods, all backwaters, all hill-billy towns, all moonshine-brewin, whiskey-sippin, cigarette-smokin, animal-killin, fish-slayin, cheap beer-drinkin, American counties in the country one could imagine. This locale happens to be in the Great American Midwest, the Heartland, "Flyover Country,"--my favorite expression for it--the terrifying No-Man's Land for any forward-thinking sonuvabitch with a Prius tuned to NPR as he meditates on the physical AND moral benefits he awards himself by embracing veganism, yoga and sucking dick on the weekends. The locals in this particular province are also part of the Vestige, as the Vestige is not just one single place of geography, but of the heart and soul. And, yes, the locals rock.
That makes me very much a little bit country and a little bit (punk) rock and roll. There's an actual genre for the strange, genetic hybrid of punk rock and country music: it's called "cow punk." Al Gore himself couldn't think of a duller expression for such a lovely creature born of cross-breeding two different, and at times mutually hostile, genres of music. So, I like to call it Pounktry (or Kunt Rock, but that could be misinterpreted to mean something related to Progressive Feminism and Rachel Maddow, which is an equivocation we should dodge at all costs). Anyhow, we'll move on to my church of Pounktry and its highest priest, Hank 3, at a different juncture. For now, let us cringe and celebrate in revulsion the synthetic sounds of Pop-Country. God help me, I can do no other...
First up: Miss Sheryl Crow's "Callin Me When I'm Lonely":
Wasn't that a moving piece of confessional bravado with strong sexual undertones suggesting why even clean, classy country gals have a weakness for the cock? Yes, I thought so, too.
Next up: Chris Young's "Who I Am With You":
Third up: And for our first wanna-be hipster pop-country song: Billy Currington's "We Are Tonight"!:
4th up: Fuck, I hate how goddamn catchy these guys are. They're going to have several hits up here at The Cantankerous soon. Bastards: Florida Georgia Line's "This Is How We Roll" (featuring another turd named Luke Bryan):
5th up: Josh Thompson's "Cold Beer With Your Name On It":
6th up: Another video with the lyrics! Randy Houser's "Goodnight Kiss":
7th in line: one of my favorites (no sarcasm, and fuck you): Dierks Bently's "I Hold On":
8th up: Frankie Ballard's "Helluva Life":
9th up: Ah, here we are. These cock-suckers again. See, told you. Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise":
And number TEN: Though the last video for this first gut-wrenching segment, Lady Antebellum's "Compass" exemplifies a trend in pop-country (a trend within pop-fashion?) to out-hipster its competitors. I think the video was filmed in--oh, God--who cares. It could be another insipid healthcare.gov propaganda piece for Christ's sake. Country meets Pajama Boy. Whatever. It's catchy. Thus, it makes my list for endearing songs that deserve to burn:
Yibbidy, yibbidy, yibbidy, that's all folks! Stay tuned for part two, if you can stomach it. And may the force be with you, fellow hill-billies...always.