Driving across this great country of ours over the summer, I was struck by something — about two million gut-filled insects on the windshield.
But I was struck by something else: What the hell’s the deal with country music these days? I know: If I don’t like it, I shouldn’t listen to it, right? But there are vast stretches between Florida and Montana where, when you get fully sick of the Jack Johnson mix you made in 2005, you are forced to turn on the radio. And when you do, you’ve got three choices:
- messianic Bible-thumpers railing about the godless;
- messianic talk-show hosts doing the same thing;
- country music.
Mile for mile, I guess I’d have to go with the Bible-thumpers. Because I’ll tell you, those messianic talk-show hosts are not doing it for me anymore, and if I hear that song “Love Like Crazy” one more time, somebody’s going to get hurt. I hate that freaking song. I hated it in July, when it was riding near the top of the country charts and getting played about every 3.2 minutes, and I hate it even more now since recently discovering that it’s still on the Top 10. This is September, right?
I’d post a link to this stupid song, but I’m afraid that might somehow help keep it on the charts through Halloween. Suffice to say that it involves the world’s most boring couple, the male half of whom eventually sells his garage-built business to Microsoft. This feat is celebrated with several choruses of the words “…and love like craaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzy…” — except that the word crazy gets parked on autotune and auto-loop for a few minutes while singer Lee Brice presumably steps out for a smoke and wedge of pie.
This is what country music has come to in 2010: celebrating selling out to a big corporation. That or slippin’ down to the fishin’ hole with your sexy girlfriend, or ginning up nostalgia for some mythical America that still has fishing holes. It’s about drinking beer and preferring to stay home with that same sexy girlfriend because she’s purtier in raggedy cutoffs and it’s kind of expensive to go out to Ruby Tuesdays anyway.
Thematically, these songs are not exactly “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain.” They’re not exactly “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Musically, they’re overwrought, hyper-refined tidal waves of Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake syrup, each built on a couple of hooks and a play on words that usually has the same half-life as an overripe banana. These songs get old quick. Which is why I’m at a loss to explain the enduring popularity of “Love Like Crazy.” I suspect the Church of Scientology is somehow involved.