Friday, February 14, 2014

My Pop-Country Obsession (pt.2)

Well, we ended the last segment beginning this adventure into the bright, cheery world of manufactured country music with Lady Antebellum's "Compass"--the most hipster of wannabe hip, hip hipping popular country songs. (The video serves the song's purpose well in this category also. Did anyone find Pajama Boy in it yet! He's in there hopping around with overpriced, mandatory health insurance plans and a cup of hot chocolate. Trust me. ) Shall we continue our exploration into the clean-cut, predictable rhythms and synthetic aesthetics of current popular American country music? I know we shouldn't. But we shall.

Don't worry. I shall redeem that which you can't abide with your ears by explaining why popular country, like pop music in general, actually shouldn't be disrespected as much as it is around The States. The thing is, however, people in general respect pop-music to a certain degree, while pop-country is something to be scoffed at, even in pop-music circles. Pop music is popular in way which pop-country definitely is not. Moreover, there are socio-political reasons for why pop-music gets a pass but pop-country doesn't. Related to this point remains the sixty-year-old cold war that exists between Pop-Country (Nashville) and Outlaw Country (Honky Tonk)--in brief, the Outlaws understand what the aesthetic and political stakes are for becoming like Nashville, an industry of power and prestige that 1) doesn't care about dick besides reputation, status and money, and 2) seems completely ignorant of its own self-destructive tendencies in the pursuit of being fashionable, respectable and "well-intentioned". (If the political analogy isn't popping off the page yet, I'll just spell it out for y'all: Think the Republican Party versus us evil, radical, extremist, extremist extremists. Or, think suburbs vs. the sticks.)

Anyhow, let us commence with the festivities!

Up first for this round's list of wannabe hipster heavyweights, Eric Paslay's "Friday Night":

Next up: Cassadee Pope's "Wasting All These Tears":

Wasn't that the Gilmore Girls theme song from the '90s, or something? At least these country gals are smokin' hot females with far more than a slight trace of femininity to them. Isn't femininity a "social construct" created by racists, rapists and extremists? If so, then let's give those gents a hand for socially constructing some very, very attractive country girls. Thank you, fellas. Now, Number 3 is one po-dunk mother fucker who's in cahoots with a rather talented ghost writer (or several) for his material since he'll probably be gracing our charts a number of times. Wait, do these people write their own songs, or no? Ah, well, fuck it: Jason Aldean's "She Says Baby":

It's an honest question: does someone like Jason Aldean write his own stuff? Music or lyrics? This dude has a quite a number of hit singles. But why should we assume that Jason Aldean writes his own material anymore than Madonna or Lady Gaga does? And if his art is fabricated by a faceless suit, then how do we know for sure that his entire identity isn't as well?

Check these other songs out, and you tell me: Fourth up: Jason Aldean's "Night Train":

Fifth up: Jason Aldean's "Amarillo Sky":

Sixth up: Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party":

Seventh up: Jason Aldean's "Take a Little Ride":

The same question can be (should be) asked of this dude--do you write your own shit, man?--Number 8: Luke Bryan's "Drunk On You":

Ninth up and ditto to this dude (and notice the extraordinarily forced hipster sound to this song and equally forced Black-Eyed-Peas ((BEP)) visual elements in the video): Jerrod Niemann's "Drink to That All Night":

How's that for country music, boys and girls! Are we starting to understand why the Outlaws would be absolutely disgusted with any association between themselves and their commercially successful BEP-influenced counterparts?

And then there are those, similar to the strain of Jason Aldean's aesthetic, who are attempting to ride the wave of commercial success while remaining true to their country roots (or some other metaphor I'll mix with another to compound the cliches). This dude even calls himself "new Outlaw," but the old Outlaws think it smells a bit too squeaky clean to reek of real Marlboro cigarettes.  In fact, the song performed below by this "new Outlaw" was written by another person, Rhett Atkins. It seems to me that the contemporary holy trinity (plus one) of mainstream country stars pretending to be authentic gritty mother fuckers includes Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Eric Church (whom we haven't played yet) and the last asshole of this round's country contest: lucky number 10: Blake Shelton! Here's his most well-know hit, and the one he uses to posture as a "new Outlaw" (hardy-har-har): "Kiss My Country Ass":

You gotta love the "fuck you" spirit in this song, but is it real? I'd say not. But why not? In our next installment, the offices of The Cantankerous Mustache will probe these questions deeper, like a country dog digging for a bone buried long ago by its dead master, and discuss the nature of these slick sons-a-bitches who make up the holy trinity (plus one) of commercial country by marketing a "new Outlaw" image to the masses: Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton...and Jason Aldean. Then we'll move onto new territory, and ask why David Allen Coe shouldn't beat the shit out of everyone of these mother fuckers.

Until then, Happy Complimentary Sex Following Lavish Dinner Day for all you couples out there!  I'm recently divorced (again) and heading up to The Vestige with one of my best friends since first grade and his old man to eat clams, play shit-faced golf, shoot guns and drink whiskey as we watch non-stop fireworks blast off over some lake in the high desert. Praise Jesus for rich Chinese corporations who've mastered the delicate art of using gun powder and pyro-technics well enough to make Blake Shelton piss his pants. Adios, amigos.

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