September 16, 2009

My Taki column on country music

My Wednesday column on Taki's Magazine is up. It's a reflection on the permanent features of country music that you notice from an HBD-aware perspective:

Having listened to country music on and (mostly) off since Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” four decades ago, I checked in on Billboard’s Top 30 Country chart to see if anything was new.

A possible advantage about not knowing much about what I’m talking about when it comes to music is a certain knack for seeing the forest through the trees.

From that 30,000-foot perspective, the answer to what’s new in country turned out to be (as with most genres of popular music in the last couple of decades): not much.

Indeed, what seems odd for an old fogey like me is how much a country radio station these days sounds like a mainstream FM rock station in the 1970s. ...

When we lived in Chicago, my wife used to take guitar classes from the alternative country singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks, who would fulminate amusingly to his students at the Old Town School of Folk Music about the indignities he’d had to put up with as a songwriter in Nashville. As Fulks phrased it in a song about Nashville with a title that’s NSFW:

Hey, this ain’t country-western!
It’s just soft-rock feminist crap!

Read it at Taki's and comment about it below.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

84 comments:

Fred said...

Robert Duvall did a nice movie in which he sung his own country songs.

Larry, San Francisco said...

I guess I kind of go with Robbie Fulks. I like old country a lot (Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Lefty Frissell, Patsy Kline, Marty Robbins etc.) but I haven't liked much coming out of Nashville in the past 20 years. I wonder if it is the female influence? Luckily music is so chopped up now that the Americana genre seems to be keeping the old flame alive and you can find plenty of it on the Internet (although not on the radio).

Fred said...

Steve,

OT, but there's a giant softball floating over home plate, begging for you to take a swing at it: BigGovernment.com's expose of ACORN. Only someone with either a low IQ and/or someone deluded by faux egalitarianism would be duped into thinking that a well-spoken, middle class white 25 year old dressed like a pimp out of a 1970s blaxploitation movie was actually a pimp.

Jason said...

I think you wrote this just to brag about knowing Robbie Fulks. And I don't blame you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, today's Country is pretty much a stick in the eye to the Mensphere: singing of men being cheated on, having hearts broken, loving their wives, but generally enjoying family life and the kids. Whats wrong with that?

I have also noticed that Country is basically a continuation of 70s white people's music, but with more violins and steel guitars. What other music for white people is there today?

Anonymous said...

Swing and a miss, Steve. Most country songs one hears on the radio are about getting drunk and rowdy. Which, I guess, is representative of today's proles, but I wouldn't suggest it's positive.

SF said...

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0101-01.htm

The politics of country music are a lot more eclectic than it used to be.

Reactionary said...

Only someone with either a low IQ and/or someone deluded by faux egalitarianism would be duped into thinking that a well-spoken, middle class white 25 year old dressed like a pimp out of a 1970s blaxploitation movie was actually a pimp.

Whoa. Nothing gets past you, does it?

anony-mouse said...

Toby Keith is soft-rock feminist crap?

Not everything country is p-whipped Tim McGraw.

Anonymous said...

A minor correction, Steve - while Lynyrd Skynyrd may have sung "Sweet Home Alabama", they actually hailed from Jacksonville, Florida.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you've written about country is different from contemporary pop/rock in that songwriters are often distinct from performers.

I wonder if you've noticed that is also true in other major genre: rap. Rock bands have to write their own songs to retain authenticity (presumably because of the enormous influence exerted by the Beatles and Dylan). But while authenticity matters in hip-hop, DJ'ing and rapping evolved as separate elements of the musical culture.

Great rappers and lyricists are respected without being required to produce beats. And the producers who do make records typically have ghostwritten verses. This isn't necessarily publicized, but it's not a secret, either--Dr. Dre makes classic records but he's not a great rapper. When he does songs with Eminem, Eminem probably wrote his lyrics. But he also gets songs from Jay-Z and other top flight rappers.


This seems like a pretty rational system. Producers are respected for being musical, rappers are respected for being lyrical, and producers who want to rap get assistance.

Anonymous said...

Very good, Steve!

I am a huge country fan, but currently am mostly not listening. I am a woman and currently am finding the songs too unrelatable: too much feminism or youthful simpiness. It will change again and I'll start tuning in again, but right now, it seems to not be too inspiring.

I do love that Taylor is a huge phenomenon even if I'm about 10 years past that adolescent stage.

Martina McBride is absolutely phenomenal for mothers and daughters to listen to together. I went to a concert with my baby sister two years ago. This beautiful woman joked in the middle of her song, "This One's for the Girls" that she herself had some of those laugh lines and then implored the teen-aged girls to "hold on to your innocence" (it's a line in her song).

testing99 said...

Very nice column Steve.

Anonymous said...

I was already to comment on how you should stick to what you know as this post was sure to be off the mark. But it is right on.

I have liked old country music for a couple of year now (e.g., Cash, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson) but the new country music is awful. I recently built a home in a small town and befriended the builder and his help as things were progressing. They are also live in the same small town so they are now our neighbors and some our good friends.

One worker used to listen to the country music station that played new stuff and I commented to my wife how insipid it was. There are two types of songs: (1) Grechen Wilson wild woman or (2) hard working family man who tucks his kids in at night. That is the range (Darius Rucker).

What makes my comment interesting is that the worker who used to revel in this music and in his role as a father just recently came home one day to find that his wife had left him and taken his children with her. Seems to fit well with the Whiskey, Roissy, etc view of current gender relations.

Someguy

Anonymous said...

What makes my comment interesting is that the worker who used to revel in this music and in his role as a father just recently came home one day to find that his wife had left him and taken his children with her. Seems to fit well with the Whiskey, Roissy, etc view of current gender relations.

Ouch.

You coulda left that part out.

Anonymous said...

"...country music tends to serve as an ethnic pride rally for the one ethnic group in America not allowed to hold ethnic-pride rallies."

Um, Germans?

Anonymous said...

A long time ago I noticed a curious fact: old rock stars never go bald. I don't know enough about country music to judge if the same thing holds there, though, come to think of it, both Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson lived to old age with full heads of hair.

Back to rock: Elvis, Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Plant and Page, Clapton, Anthony Kiedis, Bono, etc., etc. all displayed full heads of hair past the age when a substantial portion of men start losing theirs. All of those guys are super alphas overflowing with testosterone. Testosterone is supposed to be the cause of male pattern baldness. I've read that eunuchs did not go bald when they were still around. But what if baldness only occurred with moderate amounts of testosterone? What if very high doses of it promoted hair growth instead? Could male pattern boldness really be an antidote to male pattern baldness? Just asking.

Anonymous said...

1. Trace Adkins is a hit with at least some ladies. Worked with a woman who referred to him as her *boyfriend*. She liked the 6 foot 6 thing.

2. REM is famous for the inscrutable lyrics, but hey, it aint just them. As Manson once asked, What's Helter Skelter about anyway? Whatever Stipe meant he was SINCERE, when others were flip, or clever (like your Clash).

3. Britney's songs are largely written for her too, much like country artists.

4. The electric guitar revolution and the synth revolution made real dents in style. What's left? The ProTools revolution? It's still 3 minutes and so many beats.

5. Do kids dance anymore?
6. Robbie Fulks does some good stuff. The fact that acts like him can sell via iTunes, Amazon, etc, w/o big time airplay is a very nice development. Viva la Fragmentation!

Reg Cæsar said...

Actually, "A Boy Named Sue" was Shel Silverstein's creation. And it has a Darwinist-- or, rather, anti-Darwinist-- connection .

Silverstein also wrote the implicitly creationist "The Unicorn" for the Irish Rovers. Who weren't Irish.

Anonymous said...

"Great rappers..."

You lost me right there.

Anonymous said...

OT

NY Post, gang rape of white college student by non-whites not a hate crime.

Anonymous said...

OT

Newsom supports DA's controversial Edwin Ramos decision

Anyway, we at long last got to ask him about District Attorney Kamala Harris' controversial decision last week to not seek the death penalty in the trial of Edwin Ramos, the alleged killer of Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons, Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16.

You'll recall Ramos, an illegal immigrant, was never turned over to federal authorities after being picked up on other charges as a teenager. That policy has since been reversed by Newsom - and now undocumented youth are turned over when they're arrested for felonies - but the issue is expected to be a big one in the mayor's campaign for governor.

Anyway, Newsom is backing Harris' decision.

David Davenport said...

A long time ago I noticed a curious fact: old rock stars never go bald. I don't know enough about country music to judge if the same thing holds there, though, come to think of it, both Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson lived to old age with full heads of hair.

But then there are the country music guys who always keep their cowboy hats on. What are they hiding?

Steve Sailer said...

Old winos tend to have great hair.

Reactionary said...

Old winos tend to have great hair.

I'll be damned; you're right.

Whiskey said...

Isn't Willie Nelson male pattern balding? I thought he was.

Sinatra had a great head of hair late in life.

Anon -- Yeah, that is the problem. Women don't NEED a provider/protector, so unless a guy shows his wife excitement, she'll take off for greener pastures elsewhere. It is not as if there is any downside, and the loss of social controls means White working AND Middle Class women slide to Ghetto norms inevitably, sooner or later, some groups faster or slower than others, but they all get there.

You'll see the Silda Spitzer class though stay together, mutually tolerating "French style" discrete affairs, so as to keep a family kitty of $10 million (which enables a penthouse in the Upper East Side and a Hamptons beach house) instead of a two-way split minus the lawyers. The ultra-rich of course can write a check like McCartney and not be bothered.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

The only thing I might disagree a little on is the lyrics. They are well written, and per my post above about being a fan but not listening right now, I've gotten the feeling that the writers are too removed from the people they write for. They try to attempt to be of these people, but it comes out wrong sometimes.

One example springs immediately to mind:
"What I like About Sunday" is sugary sweet and contains the phrase that goes something like: "It's 95 cents off of ground round; Baby, cut that coupon out!"
The working class has been shopping at Wal-mart for over two decades now and Wal-mart doesn't take coupons.

I was commenting the other day to my sister that "Louisiana Saturday Night", a ginormous classic, probably would not be recorded today as it was hopelessly hick. Wonderful song that you can't resist turning up when it comes on the radio:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yljf4Lpj7CI

"Shift Work" is a good, relatively recent song by Strait and Chesney that I give two big thumbs up.

Fred said...

"NY Post, gang rape of white college student by non-whites not a hate crime."

It wasn't a hate crime because it didn't happen. Read the follow up.

Fred said...

"Whoa. Nothing gets past you, does it?"

No need to be a dick. I spelled out the obvious in the event Steve hadn't seen the video.

Anonymous said...

Country videos are almost pure garbage today; they have gone "Hollywood". However, one of the very best was this award winning one from the early '80s that is a favorite of serious country fans. It hits upon so many themes Steve regularly discusses when talking about the working class.

Alabama's "Dixieland Delight" shows working class guys leaving work on a Friday evening and picking up their sweethearts. You even have the taboo against promiscuity in it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i019fwYM_Pw

Reg Cæsar said...

Although some singers write their own songs, the professionalized Nashville system encourages division of labor. A salaried Nashville songwriter is famously expected to be in his office composing hit songs from 9 to 5. Thus, the level of craftsmanship that goes into the lyrics is high. (The deftness of the sidemen is also excellent, but country music isn’t about instrumentals.)

From the examples Steve gives, the "level of craftsmanship that goes into the lyrics" doesn't include rhyming the consonants along with the vowels! And the "tunes"... it used to be "the fast one" and "the slow one", but lately we can add "the loud one". Tin Pan Alley was just as businesslike and labor-divided, but they pushed themselves harder, perhaps due to Broadway breathing down their necks.

I have an HBD theory to toss into the ring: the higher the standard to which the music is composed, the more exclusively male the list of successful composers will be. (This is not to imply that women are bad composers; not at all. They're just in the middle of the bell curve rather than at either end.)

So you get:

Classical-- women wrote maybe 0.1% of the great compositions

Broadway, Hollywood, Tin Pan and their foreign counterparts-- maybe 1% of the greatest standards (How many women in this area wrote two standards? Bernice Petkere, Kay Swift, Doris Fisher [Fred's daughter] come to mind, and Maria Graver and Marguerite Monnot abroad.)

Christmas tunes-- "Little Drummer Boy" and "Do You Hear What I Hear" were composed by women. Any others? "Happy Birthday to You".

Pop, rock, folk-- prolific females begin to appear: Carole King, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell.

Country, rap-- wide open to the distaff side!

Svigor said...

Yeah, that is the problem. Women don't NEED a provider/protector

EN, you can say this as often as you like, but it's still never going to make sense. Men are more likely to take off than women, more wired to take off than women, etc. Well, maybe not if we count philandering men as "sticking around"...

Maybe you need to start qualifying some of these statements?

Fred said...

"Anon -- Yeah, that is the problem. Women don't NEED a provider/protector..."

Whiskey,

When you write stuff like this, you're basically advertising that you've never been in an intimate relationship with a woman. Women have needs beyond the physical and material -- they have emotional needs too. And those aren't as easily fulfilled as the other ones. That's why women will often stick with a man who, to others, may appear like a loser. Because they have an emotional connection with him.

Anonymous said...

I think the change in country music between Cash and today is pretty obvious. Any authentic musical style is enourmously subtle and takes years to learn, this Garth Brooks/Tim McGraw crap is superficial.

Just because country was invented by hicks doesn't mean it's unsophisticated. For instance, one of the subtleties in American folk music was the tension between talking and singing and talk-singing; if you just try and sing a country song like you would sing a Christmas carol, the tune is always insipid. You have to move in and out, sometimes talking more, sometimes singing more, and to me the ability to do this SKILLFULLY (which Cash obviously could, in old recordings of Woody Guthrie you can hear the same thing, that commie could sing) is what tells you if you're hearing real country, or a bunch of schmaltzy factory product.

Also the message of the music is changed, you may say the lyrics are "clever" and in some sense maybe...

"cuz i'm a country boy/climb in my bed, i'll take you for a ride"

and similar stuff may be "clever" in a kindergarteny way but it's really asinine. And not only the lyrics but the voices are self-consciously fatuous, not so much the singer mocking himself as the singer celebrating his own stupidity. Hicks, left to themselves, may scorn intellectual pursuits but they will scorn fools even more; whenever you see art that glorifies idiocy you are seeing propaganda intended to keep people dumb. And boy it works too.

Truth(er) said...

"OT, but there's a giant softball floating over home plate, begging for you to take a swing at it: BigGovernment.com's expose of ACORN. Only someone with either a low IQ and/or someone deluded by faux egalitarianism would be duped into thinking that a well-spoken, middle class white 25 year old dressed like a pimp out of a 1970s blaxploitation movie was actually a pimp."

Nope. There was a documentary in the early 90's on HBO called "Pimps up, Ho's down." One of the pimps profiled was named "Mr. WhiteFolks." He dressed exactly like that.

Steve Sailer said...

"This Half and Half is one of those stone winos who hang around there, one of those winos whose face is so weather-beaten it looks like a pebble-grain full-brogue oxblood shoe. He has white hair, but a full head of white hair, so thick it looks like every hair he ever had in his head was nailed in for good. All that boozing and drinking half-and-half, which is half sherry and half port, must do righteous things for the hair, because there are no old men in the world who have hair like the winos."

Tom Wolfe
Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Anonymous said...

Scots-Irish please.
Scotch only comes in a bottle.

CMA said...

Interesting post, but you lost me at the end. Being an "alpha" isn't the same as being a "cad", nor is being a "dad" the same as being a "beta" (the last presidential election was a good example, with alpha/dad Barack Obama beating beta/cad John McCain).

Welmer said...

Good column, but even if the country songs help working-class white guys behave better, what effect do they have on women?

That's really what matters at the end of the day, given the state of the law. It's out of a guy's hands at this point.

Welmer said...

All that boozing and drinking half-and-half, which is half sherry and half port, must do righteous things for the hair, because there are no old men in the world who have hair like the winos.

It's an illusion of contrast. Their faces look so bad that the hair looks good.

But maybe decreased testosterone and increased peripheral blood flow do have some effect.

Anonymous said...

Calling all in transit,
Calling all in transit,
Radio Free Europe, Radio

Steve Sailer said...

But there's also:

Beside yourself if radios gonna stay.
Reason: it could polish up the grey.
Put that, put that, put that up your wall
That this isnt country at all

Raving station, beside yourself

Keep me out of country in the word
Deal the porch is leading us absurd.
Push that, push that, push that to the hull
That this isnt nothing at all.

Finding out after 26 years that those were the opening verses of Radio Free Europe left me feeling "Well, I guess didn't miss anything from not looking up the lyrics before."

Martin Regnen said...

Great post. I'm surprised that you don't think country's changed much in recent decades - most people who don't like country seem to think it's changed a lot for the worse. I irritated some of them by posting about it last week.

The biggest change in country over the past 30 years, as I see it, is that the vocal rhythms became much more complex in the 70s which allows more freedom to lyrics-writers (but, on the downside, often makes the vocals less catchy). It's not really that huge a change, though, compared to what's been happening in other styles.

I always recommend modern Texas country to anyone who doesn't like Nashville country. Roger Creager, Kevin Fowler etc.

Fred said...

REM did have some good lyrics too. Like the ones from that "I am Superman" song:

You don't really love that guy/
You're making out with do you?/
I know you don't love that guy/
Because I can see right through you.

The lyrics from Driver 8 aren't bad either.

Anonymous said...

Soft-rock feminist crap is right. Still some good stuff now and then, but not much.

One thing you missed is that country, besides being the only music that takes marriage and family seriously, is also the only music that takes country and patriotism seriously. Big parts of its appeal.

I'm sorry to see that you're buying into the alpha-beta mythology.

Adam said...

Walmart doesn't take coupons

Walmart's grocery division will match competitor's prices, including competitor's coupons.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with anonymous that modern country lyrics are often faux-clever: they make you laugh the first time you hear the song, but they don't stand up to repetition. Also, musically, country has suffered from its popularity. Much of that 70s vibe is musicians from other genres taking refuge in Nashville and continuiing to do what they do with spasmodic attempts to make it sound country.


-OM

Limey Oik said...

I find it plausible that all this pro-family propaganda in country songs actually improves the conduct of white working-class American men. Compare them to their distant cousins in Britain’s white working class...

Maybe.

Take a look at Australia. Much as some Aussies might object, Australians are very close culturally to Brits.

I am quite sure famous Aussie feminist Germaine Greer once said "Australian culture is just British working class culture in a decent climate". Also, I understand Aussies like to party in Bali and the Gold Coast much like working class Brits like to party in Crete and Ibiza. Personally I've found cultural distance between Aussies and Brits to be tiny. They may as well be near neighbours like the Irish.

AFAIAA, country music has never been popular in Britain. It doesn't get much airplay here. Britain is densely populated and most working class Brits are urban or suburban dwellers and I suspect this is the reason - they can't relate to much of it.

How popular is Country music with City dwelling working class White Americans?

The only thing I've got to go on here is Waynes World, though that was the nineties. I expect they listen to Eminem nowadays.

Australia, OTOH, has vast open spaces like the USA and I understand country music is very popular there.

I am not sure how Australia compares to Britain crime wise, but I suspect its better.

So, maybe you are on to something. Or maybe not.

John Mansfield said...

I’ve had country music since childhood, so I have the same problem with it that people generally have with music: It was much better when I was younger. We’re mostly all stuck in the music mode we had when 17. (The Grammys got my attention for the first time ever a couple years back by opening with the Police; it was the first time I looked up anything on You Tube.) I read an interview where Merle Haggard said he prefers rock stations because at least they sometimes play old songs he likes, and the country stations don’t.

A trend I notice is the devolution of songs recognizing "poor, simple folk" into the current crop celebrating low class crudeness. The romance songs tend to more ambiguity about the marital status of the singer and his woman. There is likely a "Bell Curve" sorting going on. My father drove trucks and I'm a PhD engineer. What connection could my children have with country music? There's a Don Williams song from when I was a teenager, "Good Ole Boys Like Us":

When I was in school I ran with kid down the street
But I watched him burn himself up on bourbon and speed
But I was smarter than most and I could choose
Learned to talk like the man on the six o'clock news
When I was eighteen, Lord, I hit the road
But it really doesn't matter how far I go


I don't think this song, with it's references to Tennesse Williams and Thomas Wolfe, would play today. Today's younger fans, if any, skew more toward the children of the kid who burned himself out on bourbon and speed, not the one who learned to talk like the man on the six o'clock news.

Anonymous said...

"A long time ago I noticed a curious fact: old rock stars never go bald."

"Never" might be a bit strong. See Pete Townshend for example. Of course, Roger Daltrey still has a full head of hair.

Peter Lehmann said...

"Most country songs one hears on the radio are about getting drunk and rowdy."

Is this blatant nonsense or why doesn't anybody react to this? Given the statistical propensities of some of the people around here, the truth of the matter should be discoverable.

Dutch Boy said...

This subject calls to mind a comment by the late drummer Buddy Rich. When asked by a nurse if he had any allergies, he replied: "Yes, Country & Western music!"

David said...

Today Nashville country music is a slick corporate product NOT created by traditionally country people (white gentile working class rural).

Worked in Music City for the "industry" betimes just as the new breed moved to town (1990-1992). They were mostly from California and New Jersey. And - oh gawd, brace for it - they were, to a man and woman, uh, Eskimos. Not the talented Tin-Pan Alley types or the soulful Bob Zimmerman types. More like the hip-hop producer types.

Now Nashville country is queerly Amerikwany. The lyrics sound as if they were written by aging yentas and their non-wine-drinking husbands calculating and posing, including neocon McGraw's phony bilge. If he writes his own, it's only under supervision of a committee of these people. He's a drugstore cowboy. But the point is the whole business is full of such falseness. The comment about "clipping coupons" is on point.

Today's Nashville country also makes country people out to be ugly. In the very deliberately tuneless singing. In the deliberately stupid lyrics, mostly "by" and for the female warblers: I'm a COWNTREEE-GRL, don't tell me whadda do! Would Merle Haggard say "boot up yore ass"? "You're walking on the fightin' side of me" is at least more authentic, dignified, and human than that.

The music now represents country-western culture as accurately as a drugstore Injun represents Native America culture. It's as phony as a three dollar bill.

If the public really is composed of nothing but Mylie Cyruses, then let's call it pop or teeny-bop and say country is dead. But this is not the case.

Don't get me wrong - there are two or three good Alan Jackson songs. (Remember "Gone Country"?)

Corporate radio sucks.

Tom Paine said...

"NY Post, gang rape of white college student by non-whites not a hate crime."

It wasn't a hate crime because it didn't happen. Read the follow up.


The girl's surname is Ndonye. It's Kenyan, apparently.

josh said...

I thought they'd hit bottom back in the days of Ronnie Milsap.

Anonymous said...

The 2009 Montgomery Gentry release "I come from a long line of losers" (I think Kevin Fowler wrote it) has a rather stark HDB line: "my bloodlines made me who I am"

Give it a listen here:

http://www.onlylyrics.com/hits.php?grid=8&id=1034619

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: Old winos tend to have great hair.

Where's The Leprechaun Dude to point out that that's a slam against the Irish?

albertosaurus said...

Speaking of Afro-Anglo-Celtic melanges, I like to ask people who was the most famous Irish pop singer of the twenieth century? - often considered the best pop singer too. The answer is Ella Fitzgerald - Irish father.

Most people say no she was black - which of course is only a half truth. Then I say it was the Irish half that made her a good singer.

albertosaurus said...

I understand about being six six. After the second operation on my left foot I had to wear protective footwear. I wore big boots that raised me from my bare foot six four to a full six six.

It was wonderful. Walking through the mall at six six was like a drug. I felt more alive. Smarter. Better looking.

Truth said...

"just recently came home one day to find that his wife had left him and taken his children with her."

He must have been a "beta."

Oh, and tell me, have you 150 IQ goofs really never heard of a fucking toupeé?

Sinatra????

Some of you guys are so far from reality you need to hire Diego Maradona to kick you in the head repeatedly with a steel-toed work boot.

Anonymous said...

"...the last presidential election was a good example, with alpha/dad Barack Obama beating beta/cad John McCain)."

I couldn't disagree more. Both seem to have an above-average amount of testosterone, but McCain is more of an alpha than Obama. Also, Obama is above average only compared to the male population as a whole. I'm sure he's below average in testosterone among the nation's African Americans.

Anonymous said...

My wife refers to it as "Irish Hair" (vis. Ted Kennedy, Ron Reagan) maybe it should be extended to Scots-Irish Hair (viz. Country Music) and Drunken Irish Hair (viz. Ted Kennedy.)

I'm sensing a connection here.

Limey Oik said...

One other thing: I doubt the incomprehensibility, of Joe Strummer in the Clash song/video you linked to had much to do with NHS dentistry.

Joe Strummer, far from being a working class revolutionary, was a diplomat's son.

He was probably mumbling because he was off his head on something, or he was trying to be down wid da kids in da ghetto, or, perhaps both.

Still, they made a few good tunes and that is one of the ones I like.

A bunch of pretendy revolutionary middle class tossers though.

Steve Sailer said...

"Joe Strummer, far from being a working class revolutionary, was a diplomat's son."

Yes, but he might have been an upper middle class revolutionary diplomat's son: Joe's father was a good friend of Kim Philby, the Soviet agent who was about to head British intelligence when he was unmasked.

StephenT said...

Per Fred Seaman -- John Lennon's personal assistant -- in the book, The Last Days Of John Lennon: JL was rapidly thinning out in the crown and using various combing techniques to conceal it in his final years. Shortly before his death he asked Seaman to find out who was the best, and most confidential, toupee-maker ("the one that all the stars use.") Hair Peace, indeed.

Steve Sailer said...

David says:

"Don't get me wrong - there are two or three good Alan Jackson songs. (Remember "Gone Country"?)"

Yes, "Gone Country" really stands out.

Steve Sailer said...

"REM did have some good lyrics too."

I love REM's "Stand," which the most Boy Scouty rock song ever:

Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about Direction
Wonder why you haven't before

I always think about Direction, ever since I got a compass when I became a Boy Scout at age 11.

Steve Sailer said...

"Much of that 70s vibe is musicians from other genres taking refuge in Nashville and continuiing to do what they do with spasmodic attempts to make it sound country."

Right. For example, John Hiatt, who was LA's answer to Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and Graham Parker as a New Wave era singer-songwriter, crashed and burned hard in LA around 1980, then moved to Nashville and got himself a 9 to 5 salaried songwriting job, which he credits with saving his life by giving him a stable, grown-up way to make a living.

"Gone Country" describes an LA musician going that route to Nashville.

James Kabala said...

"including neocon McGraw's phony bilge."

I think you're confusing Tim McGraw with Toby Keith (whose non-political songs are actually mostly pretty good, in my opinion. His sense of humor is sometimes crass but can also be wittily self-deprecating. Certainly he compares favorably with the likes of Kenny Chesney and Phil Vassar.)

On that same subject, a good article could be written on how the Dixie Chicks career remains in ruins (on country radio, even if they have won a few Grammies since) even though the war and Buh are no longer popular. Do country fans make up most of the diehard 27percent?

You're right that country is the only genre where songs are often about husbands and wives rather than vaguely defined lovers - but of course many of these songs involve extramarital affairs (at least they used to), and it's also the only genre where there are songs about divorce instead of vaguely defined "break-ups."

Limey Oik said...

Yes, but he might have been an upper middle class revolutionary diplomat's son: Joe's father was a good friend of Kim Philby, the Soviet agent who was about to head British intelligence when he was unmasked.

Well, how about that. You learn something new everyday.

Anonymous said...

Montgomery Gentry's "Long Line of Losers": listen for his chuckle after singing the refrain for the last time, which comes across to me as an expression of the relief one can sometimes feel at finally just accepting the lousy cards one has been dealt. Country music lyrics touch often on our ongoing battle between fatalism & determination to improve your circumstance.

Whiskey said...

Svigor -- Men are more likely to fool around, women more likely to engage in serial monogamy, i.e. switch to a new guy, as above in the poster's story. Culture in fact encourages women's hard-wired desire to seek out excitement and stimulation.

Fred -- I've been in quite a number, thanks. Women don't want or need (most of them, now) a provider-protector. They NEED a stimulator. "Loser" tattooed bicycle messengers, per Steve's observation about the tattooed girl in the Starbucks, can fit that far better than a 9-5 accountant or a steady contractor making good money. Women having their own money, don't need that steady paycheck. Women with alimony can split (and will) a number of years after the baby, to chase more EXCITEMENT. Women's emotional needs don't run to "comfort" except for a few, it runs to massive stimulation, like a roller coaster.

What, the MASSIVE changes in contraception, anonymous urban living (and loss of social shame) and income standards for women had no effect? Jeez.

The problem with Country Music and other popular culture is that it does not teach men that being a "good Dad" and husband makes a man BORING to his wife, and likely dumped for whatever guy is more exciting who comes around. Instead, men need to be taught how to provide constant excitement -- women have their own financial security, so they want/need excitement rather than someone who shops for groceries, takes care of the kids, and household chores. Sandra Tsing Loh called these men "Kitchen Bitches" in her Atlantic article and it's probably spot-on regarding women's general attitudes.

Ironically the "fightin side of me" is a pretty good way to provide excitement.

Anonymous said...

To Truth: Here is another anecdote in my experiences in moving to a small town. I am sure you will like this one too.

There was another worker who had his wife cheat on him with a black man. When describing the circumstances when he came home to discover his wife and the man together he described the man as an, "African-American gentleman". Is something wrong with his response? Why or why not?

Someguy

Anonymous said...

Recommendation for "real country" fans: Doug Sahm's hilariously accurate "Oh, No, Not Another One."

James Kabala said...

Query: When Testing99 logs in as Whiskey, is that a mistake on his part, or does have some system (a la Stephen King/Richard Bachman) for determining which are "testing" posts and which are "Whiskey" posts?

Truth said...

"Is something wrong with his response? Why or why not?"

That reminds me of a joke, my good man:

A FRENCHMAN, AN ITALIAN AND A BRIT ARE SITTING AROUND TALKING ABOUT WHAT CONSTITUTES SAVOIR-FAIRE (OR SPREZZATURA IF YOU MUST)

"IF I GO HOME,"SAID BENEDETTO,"AND FIND MY WIFE WITH ANOTHER MAN, SAY "EXCUSE ME'AND LEAVE,THAT IS SAVOIR-FAIRE." "NO,"REPLIED PIERRE,"IF I GO HOME AND FIND MY WIFE WITH ANOTHER MAN,AND SAY "EXCUSE ME,PLEASE CONTINUE,'THAT IS SAVOIR-FAIRE." "ON THE CONTRARY," SAID EDWARD,"IF I GO HOME AND FIND MY WIFE WITH ANOTHER MAN AND SAY "EXCUSE ME, PLEASE CONTINUE,' AND HE CAN CONTINUE,THAT, IS SAVOIR-FAIRE."

Anonymous said...

T99, quit picking up chicks in bars and start picking them up at church.

Fred said...

"Now Nashville country is queerly Amerikwany. The lyrics sound as if they were written by aging yentas and their non-wine-drinking husbands calculating and posing, including neocon McGraw's phony bilge."

OK, let me get this straight: Today's country sucks and it's the Jews' fault, because the Jews run Nashville? Learn something new every day, I guess.

Re Montgomery Gentry coming from a "line of losers", they also had that song ("Something to be Proud Of") where the singer's father and uncle were fighter jocks (although the mention of F-15s in the context of the song is anachronistic). Being a fighter jock, of course, means having an above average IQ. But the singer in that song sings about how he left home at 18, skipped college, and worked in a car wash or something, so perhaps that's a recognition of mean reversion?

Reg Cæsar said...

Some of you guys are so far from reality you need to hire Diego Maradona to kick... --Truth

Kick? The apex of Maradona's career was when he borrowed "The Hand of God".

CMA said...

Anonymous (who posted re Obama vs McCain alphaness: If you are erratic and angry you are a beta. If you have Halle Berry offering to pick trash off the ground to clear you a path, you are an alpha.

And alphaness isn't testosterone; it's serotonin. Caddishness is testeosterone.

Paul Mendez said...

I have been monitoring country music lately, listening for signs of the coming "Middle American Revolution."

So far, not much to report. Although a few tepid examples are emerging:

"Shutting Detroit Down" by John Rich.

"This American Ride" by Toby Keith.

"I Want My Life Back," by Buck Covington.

Andrea Nyx Hemera said...

Country music must get rid of twang. I'm convinced it lowers human IQ. All that drooly drawly stuff slows the mind to Gomer Pyle level.

Also, the emphasis on community and values has prevented country from being personal, eccentric, original, and edgy like the blues. Country is American polka music. Not that polka music is bad--some are good--, but it is dorky.

The kind of country-style music we need was perfected by The Band in albums like MUSIC FROM THE BIG PINK and THE BAND(and with Dylan on THE BASEMENT TAPES). That was powerful, soulful, pungent, wild, thrilling, dark, saucy, fecund, beautiful, a magical blend of the treasures and junk of American past. It was ORGANIC and whole wheat. Too much of what passes for country music is bleached flour, cosmetic, aw-shucks, gum chewing, pop-rock imitating, hee haw by way of MTV, etc.

Funny, but the maverick dropouts of late 60s and early 70s understood the heart of country music better than the fools in Nashville. Dead's AMERICAN BEAUTY is truly beautiful. Ripple, what a great song. Dylan's Lay Lady Lay has the stuff of Chagall's paintings.

Anonymous said...

"I have also noticed that Country is basically a continuation of 70s white people's music, but with more violins and steel guitars. What other music for white people is there today?"

Metal?

"Back to rock: Elvis, Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Plant and Page, Clapton, Anthony Kiedis, Bono, etc., etc. all displayed full heads of hair past the age when a substantial portion of men start losing theirs. All of those guys are super alphas overflowing with testosterone."

Lennon? Bono? Bollocks they are! There is a reason why 'musical' is a euphemism for pooftah!

"AFAIAA, country music has never been popular in Britain. It doesn't get much airplay here. Britain is densely populated and most working class Brits are urban or suburban dwellers and I suspect this is the reason - they can't relate to much of it."

They would not relate well to it out in the shires either.

"Some of you guys are so far from reality you need to hire Diego Maradona to kick you in the head repeatedly with a steel-toed work boot."

Diego is better with his hands...

Anonymous said...

Country Music stations in major cities REFUSE to play politically incorrect music like Justin Moore's latest. Justin , who recently had a #1 song w/correct lyrics, also has in yo face songs like:

Good Ole American Way...
"I'm just a country boy from this land
Makin' a living with these two hands
Still believe in the good ole American way
I watch 'em shut the factories down
Then the foreigners flood into town
They take what's left for half the pay
We can't stand by and just let it fade away
The good ole American way

We can't stand by and just let it fade away The good ole American way"

or GRANDPA

"You stood on that bank when I got baptized,
Gave me a 30-30 when I turned 9.
At 16 you caught me drinkin' out in the barn.
I could hear you cheerin' when we won state, and you held my hand at Grandma's grave.
And I'll always be thankful, that you never sold the farm"

I am sick and tire of the Nashville record company scum controlling the radio stations, when are the stations going to show some backbone and give air time to the Good Ole American songs!!!