American Country Music Embraces Reality… How Long Before The Rest Follow?
September 23, 2007 (9 Responses)
AMERICAN COUNTRY and Western music is about as red, white and blue as you can get. It’s traditionally the type and style of music which is supposed to appeal to the average Joe and Jane American and it’s usually held up as a reflection of what middle america is thinking.
When the tragedy of September 11th 2001 hit, Country music was endowed with lots of patriotic anthems and vengeful lyrics. It has often been saidÂ that an observer could take the temperature of America by simply reviewing the top 20 C&W charts at any point in time, and by examining the lyrics a fairly accurate picture of how America was thinking could be derived.Â Certainly in the years after 2001 the C&W music industry seemed to respond to all the political rhetoric and they did their patriotic duty as expected. That however was then, and things have changed a fair bit since those days.
Now days American Country and Western music has changed to reflect a new mood in middle America. The songs nowÂ reflect the disenchantment with the current administration, the anti-war message is much more vocal and although support for the troops is evident there is a concerted drive towards bringing them home. No longer are the charts filled with jingoism and patriotic anthems promising swift victories over the terrorists. Support for the troops is high, but not for the cause anymore. Now the songs are more meloncholic, more politically aware and to some extent more realistic – in respect of what is actually happening in the world rather than what people were told back in 2001.
Examples of this include Tim McGraw, a C&W singer with 3 Grammy awards and over 26 number one hits to his claim. One of hisÂ latest songs entited “If You’re Reading This” takes the form of a last letter home from a dead american soldier, where the lyrics reflect the desperation and isolation felt by the US troops on the ground who feel abandoned by their administration back home. The soldiers continueÂ to do their duty, but they don’t believe in it any more either.
Country legend Merle Haggard has been doing likewise with his tracks. He released a song entitled “America First” back in 2005 with lyrics pleading for America to withdraw from Iraq. More recently he penned a track called “Hillary” where he sings “This country needs to be honest, changes need to be large, Something like a big switch of gender, let’s put a woman in charge” – an obvious reference to changes at the top in the upcoming 2008 elections.
So, broadly speaking, middle America seems to have finally started to catch up with the rest of the world and is seeing the reality at last, but the question which remains is how long will it take the rest of America to see that Iraq has been a disaster from start to finish, and that they need to get the hell out, go home and sort out the growing list of domestic issues before trying to classify the entire world into either ‘for’ or ‘against’ and embarking on yet another pointless and misguided crusade? How long indeed.
Perhaps America’s temperature is finally starting toÂ change and the warmongering and paranoid fever is hopefully breaking with it.