4.0
August 21, 2023

2 Country Singers, 2 Songs: One with a Message of Love, One with a Message of Hate.

I love music.

It feeds my soul and sets my heart dancing, most of the time.

As a writer, I know the power of words to narrate a story and transmit a message. Two songs that have created buzz, for different reasons, have made the news. The first which came out back in May is called “Try That In a Small Town” performed by Jason Aldean. I am linking the song here, not because I endorse it, but in the realm of equal time, I am offering the readers a chance to see for themselves what the buzz (pro and con) is about. In all transparency, I have to tell you that this is the first time I have watched the entire video. On the surface, it sounds like people being protective of their neighbors. A good thing. It reads like being tough on crime. Got it. As we dig deeper into the lyrics and watch the accompanying video, which was released in July, something darker shows up.

[Verse 1]
Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk
Carjack an old lady at a red light
Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store
Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like
Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you’re tough

[Chorus]
Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
‘Round here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town

[Verse 2]
Got a gun that my granddad gave me
They say one day they’re gonna round up
Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck

[Chorus]
Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
‘Round here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town.

[Bridge]
Full of good ol’ boys, raised up right
If you’re looking for a fight

Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town

[Chorus]
Try that in a small town
(See how far ya make it down the road)
‘Round here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town, mm-mm

[Outro]
Try that in a small town

Kelley LovelaceKurt AllisonNeil Thrasher & Tully Kennedy

That lyric referencing taking guns away? No one is coming to take people’s guns away. We want them used safely and responsibly and not as weapons of assault in an attempt to settle a grievance or express hatred. Kind of paradoxical when the song proports to be in opposition of violence against “their own.” Who falls into that category? “Good ol’ boys, raised up right.” What does that even mean? When I think of the term, what comes to mind is sexism, racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. Raising someone up right, in my book, means acceptance, understanding, and responsibility to make this world a better place, not “otherizing” people who don’t look like you, don’t love like you, don’t worship like you, don’t come from your country of origin, or don’t have the same skin hue as you.

What made the video even more controversial is that it was filmed at the Maury County Courthouse. It was the site where a mob of 250 white men lynched a Black teenager named Henry Choates in 1927. How could he or someone on his crew not have known the significance of the location?

Once it aired on Country Music Television and outraged viewers contacted them since it sure looked like the video was endorsing lynching, they pulled the video. It has not, however, stopped the song from skyrocketing to the top of Billboard 100.

An observation I had as I watched the video just now was that the seemingly peaceful scenes of families living in the bucolic small towns Aldean references all had one thing in common. Unless I missed it, I saw only white faces.

In addition, some of the images were not even from protests in the United States.

I also wonder if respect for police extends to the officers who were protecting the Capitol on January 6th at which they were “cussed at and spit on” and the flag was used as a weapon.

Many have been quick to side with Aldean as they see in his song a rallying cry to glorify their perception of the way things used to be when people of color, women, and foreigners knew their places.

The other song is called “In Your Love” performed by Tyler Childers. It is a love story that takes place in a coal mining town, between two miners, both men. The initial poignant imagery is of an older man who is plowing a field with his horse. He bends over to pick up a four-leaf clover and is brought back in time to the dark and sooty caverns where he surreptitiously interacts with his sweetie until they are discovered by another miner who assaults one of them. Love overcomes hatred as the men buy a home, plant their fields, go to a local bar, and listen to music. One gives the other a four-leaf clover while they are having a relaxed afternoon on a blanket under a sun dappled tree, thus the symbol in the beginning and sadly at the end as one falls prey to Black Lung Disease.

[Verse 1]
I will wait for you
‘Til the sun turns into ashes
And bows down to the moon
I will wait for you
It’s a long hard war
Ah, but I can grin and bear it
‘Cause I know what the hell I’m fightin’ for
And I will wait for you

[Chorus]
We were never made to run forever
We were just meant to go long enough
To find what we were chasin’ after
I believe I found it here
In your love

[Verse 2]
I will stand my ground
I’m a bad man looking for takers
You’re the finest thing around
So I will stand my ground
‘Cause it’s cold out there
And you know some men search for ages
For the love that I have found
So I will stand my ground

[Chorus]

We were never made to run forever
We were just meant to go long enough
To find what we were chasin’ after
I believe I found it here
In your love

[Bridge]
Honey, I will wait for you
Honey, I will stand my ground

[Verse 3]
I will work for you
‘Til my hands are tired and bleedin’
I know what it is from us I’m needin’
I will work for you
Like a team of mules
Pullin’ Hell off from its hinges

[Chorus]

We were never made to run forever
We were just meant to go long enough
To find what we were chasin’ after
I believe I found it here
In your love

This video, too, received public praise and disparagement. Listening to both songs, one turns my stomach and stirs up anger and the other makes my heart swell and tears fall. I’m sure you know which is which. Sadly, there are people who would say the opposite. I will always be on the side of love.

~

Please consider Boosting our authors’ articles in their first week to help them win Elephant’s Ecosystem so they can get paid and write more.

Read 4 Comments and Reply
X

Read 4 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Edie Weinstein  |  Contribution: 52,280

author: Edie Weinstein

Image: YouTube

Editor: Elyane Youssef