Saturday, October 02, 2004

Country Music

My first car: The fall of my senior year of college, my father acquired a car for me from a friend of his whose mother could no longer drive. It cost me $250 and was a 1976 Buick Skylark. This thing was big and ugly. My father, who is color-blind, had it repainted (cream) and had a new vinyl roof put on (brown). Before the car even made it down to me, it needed a new radiator. It was much later before I could afford the new springs it needed. Because of the bad suspension, the car rode with the back way low and the front way up high. Very hip. The front bench seat was stuck all the way back, and I had to prop myself up with pillows because of the slant. To top it all off, the car only got two radio stations: Christian talk, and country. That spring I spent a lot of time driving around, trying to procure myself furniture, an apartment, and a job (yes, in that order). I learned to appreciate country music.

Now that I have a car with a functional radio, tape deck, and CD-player, I'd never consider programming in a country music station. But on a long drive in the middle of the night, I love me some country music. I try to forget the fact that much of Nashville supports President Bush. I do this by convincing myself, whenever I hear a song that I enjoy, that "This guy is obviously an exception." Denial is a powerful thing, and this trick works surprisingly well.

Country music is great for long drives in part because you only need to hear the chorus once, then you can sing along for several more minutes. The melodies are simple, the lyrics are predictable, and both are repetitive. I'll confess that I like the really catchy tunes like the one about the "Watermelon Crawl" and the sing-your-heart-out belters like "How Do I Live?"

The other reason country music can be such fun is that sometimes the songs tell great little stories. I don't love the songs that, like pop songs, wail on and on about some lost love or stolen pick-em-up truck, or whatever. I really enjoy the songs that tell a sweet story, and I get all caught up in listening to a story about a farmer and his wife on the porch during an afternoon rainstorm; a father telling his son about the way daddies love their kids; or a husband telling his wife that although he understands that she misses the way she looked at 17, he really loves the way she fills out her jeans now, and, if she hasn't noticed, the kids are asleep. "So . . . you wanna?"

1 comment:

frog said...

Well, I love country music. Love it. Not all of it, of course, but a whole lot of it.

It's possible that I sing Patty Loveless songs when no one else is around. Mostly when I'm thinking about Elvis.