Sep 30, 2016
File this under: the obvious like the sun is hot, but I think we have unequivocal proof that Nashville-driven pop country is garbage – a steaming shitheap of garbage. So much waste you need waders to stomp through the bullshit. Like, before it was a lot of the obvious raised eyebrows, the throwing of hands in the air, and to everyone who likes this trash, a complete denial not seen since the last Trump speech.
What I’m talking about is uber-tools who use auto tune and wear man buns, the Florida/Georgia Line doing a song with the Backstreet Boys. Come on dudes. There’s zero defense that pop country is just pop. We need to finally come to terms as a species and tell everyone that their new song God, Your Momma, and Me has culturally absolute zero with anything Johnny Cash or Waylon ever did.
I only cite them because every dork in a trucker cap and a flannel with beautiful teeth name drops them constantly like it adds some sort of credibility – well, hoss it don’t. Luke Bryan still sucks, and these two clowns parading around with a geriatric boy band only proves the point further. Yeah, Luke, we remember Here’s to the Farmer where you pander to every blue-collar worker out there in some maligned attempt to be “genuine” – too bad it’s genuinely awful.
But, back to the task at hand, God, Your Momma, and Me – this song defies any logic of how horrible it is. It’s like if AIDS fucked Cancer and created a super hybrid that killed you within an instant. That’s what this is. Within the first few verses, we nail the archetypes of all pop country diatribes: God, love, mommas, angels, shotguns. Of course, they turn up the radio on a dirt road. And they call this malignant colon of music “country” – what the fuck is country about six dudes dancing in tandem and wearing $200 jeans?
Next time you’re at the bar some clown in turquoise “dress boots” starts giving you the business when you tell him Jason Aldean is as country as a Cher, you’ve got probable ammunition to go down the rabbit hole. We already knew Florida/Georgia Line sucked to the infinite levels with their hokey, cliché driven audio enemas, but this is some next-level suckery.
God, Your Momma, and Me is so awful because it falls on pretenses like they’re being slick about singing some shitty love song that features one guy and four other guys oohing and ahhing. That’s the point, it’s deft and meant to distract you from a cold truth: pop country is Rihanna in a cowboy and tight jeans. It’s pop, it’s harmless, its bubble gum and it fucking sucks.
Fight me at swings after school.
*entirely devoid of editing by lazy Trailer*
As I was listening to this album it hit me hard that this is the album I've been missing. The logical next step in recent Southern albums that are more or less overtly political- from Southern Rock Opera to Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires' Dereconstructed to now, American Band. It never resonated with me to listen to some person from the North (or Midwest or West) to talk about these issues, because they weren't/aren't from here- they don't grasp the subtleties. To hear it from Southern voices, that talk the way I grew up talking, that use the same cadence and same odd slang I use, that's something entirely different. And, to be clear, I don't think you HAVE to be a Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, to fully appreciate the political air of this album and what it means for Southerners (and the country) right now.
Drive-By Truckers have always been somewhat political. Whether or not they were overt was dependent upon the song, but you can't get more political than past songs "The Righteous Path," "Uncle Frank," "Puttin People On The Moon," or "Wallace." They may not be set in the current time period, but they are political powerhouses nonetheless. Interestingly, it's always seemed that Patterson Hood was the one who was willing to delve a bit more into the political side of songwriting, until American Band. (Which, can I just say as a side note is a perfect name for this album. A political album by a band from the South called American Band. No other regional distinction necessary.) Now we have Mike Cooley really diving deep into the same waters and we are much, much better for it.
I've always been more of a Patterson Hood fan when it comes to songwriting- I like his storytelling and fierceness. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved Cooley as well, but Hood has always hit a little closer to home for me. However, on American Band, Cooley has the knock-out punches to me with "Ramon Casiano," "Once They Banned Imagine," "Surrender Under Protest," and "Filthy and Fried." I mean, when Cooley sings "to half-cocked excuses for bullet abuses regarding anything browner than tan," on "Once They Banned Imagine," it's heavy. That line got me like a punch in the gut. The other Cooley songs on the album are wonderful takedowns of the good ol' boy South. Whatever, or whoever, got us thinking we are too macho, or stubborn, to accept any sort of change has been detrimental to ourselves- and more importantly, those who chose to leave- in so many ways. The South has been dealing with "brain-drain" for years and I can tell you firsthand, some of us want to go back to a better South, not the same old South.
Back to the album though! For Hood, his two songs "Guns of Umpqua" and "What It Means" stand to be two of my favorite Hood songs of all time. "Guns of Umpqua" paints an incredibly eerie and horrible picture of someone on the verge of getting gunned down in the community college shooting. "What It Means" questions the recent violence on young black men in America and what that means for us as a nation. These are supremely touching songs and I can't imagine the DBT catalog without them already.
At the albums core, American Band is all about dealing with the current state of the American way of life. Where do we go from here? How do we process the last couple of years of utter outrage and fear? At what point do we start the healing process? I think it can begin at any moment we want it to, but we have to start asking ourselves the tough questions, and that can begin with those of us in, or from, the South. Southerners are strong people, mentally and physically. I miss the South I grew up in where hatred sure didn't seem so prevalent (although I'm sure it was there). American Band is a good starting point, so go listen and listen with friends and family. Ask yourselves what it means. Now, let's see where we can go from here and let's be better.
American Band is available today on all modes of ingesting music.
Something that never has to be asked
at a Shooter Jennings concert
Aldean's favorite thing about American Idol contestants
When your buddy comes through with
some Robert Earl Keen tickets
When somebody says Sam Hunt is country
Name three Darius Rucker songs:
Say what? You don't like Whitey Morgan??
When you hear Jason Aldean had the #1 album in the country