The one who got away.
The Brothers Osborne were WAILING! Their new track “Shoot Me Straight” was playing atop Spotify’s Hot Country playlist and I was wondering why all the rockers lamenting the death of their format were not listening to this. Sure, the band was not breaking new ground, but this was a natural extension of what once was in the classic era more than all that derivative hogwash on the Active Rock format, the Brothers Osborne could single-handedly bring back the art of the guitar.
Did you read that article about the guy eaten by an alligator recommended by David Brooks? You absolutely should, because it illustrates how the other half lives. You think everybody’s just like you, trying to get ahead, taking enrichment courses, to get into a good college, or bitching that the system is screwing them, but there’s a plethora of people who barely make it out of high school, if they do at all, and go into jobs of manual labor and live to drink and are not complaining but have contempt for you, and that’s what’s wrong with the country right there, a misunderstanding of how everybody lives their life. And, unfortunately, the media usually misses all this. Just like it missed hip-hop, and now says that hip-hop rules.
Because it embraced the internet.
Thomas Rhett’s “Marry Me” is slowly climbing up the Mediabase chart, even though it was a hit on the day it was released, which is why it’s number two on the Spotify Hot Country playlist.
She wants to get married, she wants it perfect
She wants her granddaddy preaching the service
Yeah, she wants magnolias out in the country
Not too many people, save her daddy some money
Another sappy country song about love, I’ve got it, even though the melody is enticing.
That’s what’s wrong with too much country music, it plays it safe, speaks to a market, does its best to be inoffensive, but that’s business, not art, art is truth, it comes from the inside.
Ooh, she got it all planned out
Yeah, I can see it all right now
Seemingly every girl has this fantasy, despite their demeanor.
I’ll wear my black suit, black tie, hide out in the back
I’ll do a strong shot of whiskey straight out the flask
I’ll try to make it through without crying so nobody sees
Yeah, she wanna get married
But she don’t wanna marry me
Wait a second, this is just a typical small town lower middle class southern story and then…
Suddenly it’s EVERYBODY’S STORY!
No one compromises in hip-hop, no one saves anybody any money. No one wants to do it small, but everybody gets their heart broken.
Maybe it’s your first love. Maybe it’s the first person you had sex with. Forty years later I’ve got a friend who laments the one he lost his virginity to, he stalks her online, sees her new life, wants to contact her, but is afraid of her husband and two kids.
As he should be.
He’s convinced if he was with her he’d be happy.
We’re all looking for happiness.
What would it have been like?
Sometimes you had a relationship, sometimes a connection, sometimes just a crush. You played it out in your brain, what it would be like with them. And usually you get old enough and you realize this is not the way it works, that they really didn’t slip away, they just took a different path, and you’ll find your person, you just have to keep searching.
I remember the night when I almost kissed her
Yeah, kinda freaked me out, we’d been friends for forever
And I always wondered if she felt the same way
When I got the invite, I knew it was too late
Those moments of intimacy. Are they sexual or just friendship? If only you could stop the movie and speak the truth, but you can’t do this. You go by feel, you’ve got to step up to the plate, but you’re afraid if she doesn’t feel the same way it’s gonna ruin it. Forever.
And I know her daddy’s been dreading this day
Oh, but he don’t know he ain’t the only one giving her away
What a great couplet! Where does this daddy stuff come from? So insightful. He’s her little girl, he’s got to let go.
But so does he.
But what seals the deal is the chorus.
He’s in his black suit, out in the back, drinking straight from the flask, you can picture it.
But you can also sing it.
In a whisper as you’re navigating traffic.
In the bar with your friends as it comes over the jukebox.
With your honey lying on the couch.
That’s music. The kind that used to dominate. Universal messages conveyed in not only a way we can all relate, but that we can all sing along with.
Thomas Rhett is burning up the chart, he’s got a string of hits. But he’s not changing what he does for dominance, not modifying what he does to be pop, because that’s death, there’s a dearth of pop his on the radio these days, but these country songs are getting bigger and bigger, they’re the ones that are making inroads on streaming, every cut on Thomas Rhett’s 2017 album “Life Changes” has more than a million streams on Spotify, many double-digit millions, “Craving You” 73+ million and “Marry Me” already almost 18 million. This music is resonating, but in a backwater without attention.
But that’s gonna change.