Christian Views on Country Music

Welcome! This is the blog of DaveLoneRanger which entails only his commentary on country music, from a Christian conservative perspective. Thus, he takes a dim view of some songs many consider "staples" of country, such as drinking songs. Ye be warned.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

"Come To Bed" (Or, "The Gretchen Wilson mating call")

If you asked me to name an artist who most embodies the shadow of the country music spotlight, the first name that would leap to my mind is Gretchen Wilson. Her rapid-fire rise to stardom was built on the self-admittedly hard-core song Redneck Woman featuring the glorification of bars, sex and in-your-face raunchy behavior.

Wilson let no doubts about her party-hardy personality remain when she expounded on lyrics from Redneck Woman with her follow-up, Here for the Party, where she boasts of her drinking and flirting skills, and how she wears her jeans a little tight so she can "watch the little boys come undone."

Then came the oh-so-pleasant and encouraging When I Think About Cheatin' where Gretchen explains that the only reason she doesn't give in to the temptations of other men is because the one she truly loves would leave her, and that would make her feel bad. Gee, I guess that works for the thousands of married couples whose marriages collapse because of infidelity.

Then in 2005, rising to the #2 spot on the charts, Gretchen sang about what she would to if someone like her came along and tried to steal her man away. And in a brazen move, the following lyric appears in the song:

Now honey I'm a Christian, but if you keep it up I'm gonna go to kickin' your pretty little butt, is that clear enough?

What Gretchen's idea of a Christian is, is anyone's guess. But the Lord Jesus said, "by their fruits will you know them" and anyone can see what kind of tree Wilson is from the fruit she bears. Furthermore, the implication of the lyric is that a good little Christian doesn't do any butt-kicking. Someone should break that news to the great heroes of the Old and New Testament, including Christ's excursion into the Temple to drive out the money-grubbing televangelists.

Next, Gretchen lauded the merits of drinking one's self into a stupor in All Jacked Up.

Following that, Gretchen actually scored well on the morals chart with I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today, which promptly tanked on the charts, her lowest ranking since her debut. This was the first song from her that I didn't smash the radio knobs in an effort to turn off.

Next, a musical marriage of opportunity, Gretchen sang Politically Uncorrect with Merle Haggard. Like her previous single, this song barely made it into the Top 25.

Following that, Gretchen released California Girls, which may have been the first mention of Paris Hilton in a country music song. The song comes off as a politician attempting to identify with a certain demographic, in this case the stereotypical country redneck crowd. Hence, references to fried chicken, Merle Haggard and George Jones.

And finally, we come to Gretchen's newest single, currently populating the charts at #32. The song is a tender effort at reconciliation, perhaps similar to Terri Clark's I Just Want to be Mad but with more romantic overtones. Except, if you catch the song on CMT as I did a few weeks ago (before I'd heard the song on the radio) there was no doubt about what the song about. Gretchen Wilson rides a horse out to her significant other, and they both make it back to their home before a storm opens up on their picturesque farm. Evidentially, whatever offense Gretchen is appealing to be forgotten was not terribly big, and for the rest of the song, the two are ripping clothes off of each other and having sex. Sure, fine, if their married, but don't show US that. The song might be okay, but falls under the heading of "only okay for married people," and regardless, they shouldn't act it out on the screen. (And yes, for those of you out there saying "just turn it off!", I did.)

So, in conclusion, Gretchen Wilson praises and embodies those great American values of profanity, drunken binges and seduction. While claiming to be a Christian, she personifies every value contrary to Christian doctrine. What an excellent role model.

Gretchen Wilson: maybe one day she'll stop representing the darkest side of country music.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kenny Chesney - More encouragement for bums

I've met people who remind me of Kenny Chesney. People whose only care in the world is to look good (tan, muscular, etc.), to have a girlfriend (family, children and perhaps that whole "love, honor and cherish" thing are optional) and to have enough beer money are all they worry about.

Kenny Chesney seems intent on encouraging this lowlife breed of slothful bums by singing songs glorifying their way of living.

Whether it's singles like "Young," "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem," or songs like "When the Sun Goes Down, "Keg In the Closet" and his latest, "Beer In Mexico," if Kenny's philosophy is the same as his songs, the good life is the unlived life, where you spend as much time trying to get out of work as actually trying to do work. Of course there's times when you feel like saying the heck with work. "Take This Job" or "Five o Clock Somewhere" (neither of which were sung by Chesney) are classic "I hate working" songs. But have you ever truly spent a weekend doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? I have. You start atrophying. You feel worthless. Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't made to be a couch potato. In the long run, I don't think anyone is. Perhaps Kenny's "Living In Fast Forward" shows a few regrets of that busy-yet-empty lifestyle lauded in previous songs.

There's another sub-category of these songs that Kenny sings: these nostalgic retrospectives, losing one's self in a memory too exclusive and unique to appeal to many. Songs in this category include "Summertime," "Keg In the Closet," "Anything But Mine," "I Go Back," "There Goes My Life" and "Don't Happen Twice." Give it a rest, Kenny. Not all of us can look back to romancing some gal on the 50-yard line, or swimming with bikini-clad women in ponds, or leaving bottles of Yoo-Hoo on the car floor.

I'm not ragging on 'ol Kenny completely. The guy isn't exclusively buried in these categories of music, and thank goodness. Kenny Chesney has a soft side to him, a side shown in songs of genuine, tender love. I'm speaking of songs like "You Save Me," "Who You'd Be Today" (some DJs on a local station about brought me to tears when they played Who You'd Be Today in honor of a pregnant woman who was killed in a freak accident in the city), "The Woman With You" (which feminists must have hated him for, because the song implies that a highly successful working woman finds her greatest pleasure in simply being a woman to a man) "The Good Stuff" and "You Had Me From Hello." (Reportedly, "You Had Me From Hello" was written based on a line from a film starring Renee Zellweger, who later married Chesney, a marriage lasting four months.)

As usual, I find that if I'm searching for songs that I as a Christian can aspire to, I have to pick and choose from among an artist's songs, but in general, be rather turned off by most of the artist's other songs, as well as the artist himself.

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