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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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Giving Alan Jackson His Dues

I couldn't continue blogging on country music from a Christian perspective without addressing Alan Jackson. Indeed, no discussion on current country music trends would be complete without some mention of Mr. Jackson.

Although there are few songs among Jackson's numerous singles that I enjoy, he is the one responsible for first introducing me to country music. It was shortly after September 11, and I was scanning the stations looking for something new. I suddenly tuned in "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" and had to stop, as this song struck a chord in me, as it did with all of us. Shortly thereafter, I began tuning in regularly to catch other country songs, and I've been a growing country music fan since.

After a few years, I'd caught up with a lot of what I'd missed, including some of Jackson's older singles. There were some that didn't appeal to me, but weren't necessarily bad either, such as "Chasing That Neon Rainbow" and "Don't Rock the Jukebox".

I loved the sound of "Midnight in Montgomery," although I've always wondered why the country music world is so enamored of a man like Hank Williams, renowned for his drinking and drug problems. All kinds of country music artists have recorded reverent tributes to him.

"Chattahoochee" is considered among one of Jackson's earliest popular songs, but again, another one that never appealed to me. In addition, lyrics in the song speak of fogging up car windows but "she wasn't ready" which is a shameful wink of the eye towards the careless fornication so prevalant in culture today.

Likewise, I wasn't impressed with "Summertime Blues," "Living on Love" and "Gone Country," although these songs continue to be aired today, showing that they are still popular.

"I Don't Even Know Your Name" may have been slightly amusing, but again, I've never enjoyed songs that take their humor from the drunken escapades spurred by alcohol.

By the time you get to "Little Bitty" and "Who's Cheating Who" and even "It Must Be Love" they all begin to have the same, and continue to lack appeal.

"Where I Come From" makes me want to tear my hair out, because every time Jackson sings "Where I come from tryin' to make a living, workin' hard to get to heaven, where I come from." For someone who would later release an album of "inspirational" hits, the lyric represents the grossest of spiritual misunderstandings. Romans makes it exceptionally clear that it's not by any works of man that we are able to enter heaven.

"Drive" is probably one of the first songs in Jackson's long line of singles that appealed to me, as it certainly will to anyone who was once young and unable to drive.

"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" had some appeal, particularly with Jimmy Buffet joining the cast. Though one is forced to wonder how it can be "only half-past 12" and yet still be "five o'clock somewhere."

"Remember When" is absolute musical magic, with the accompanying bittersweet spirit of old age, blending both the morose and the golden into a tragic happiness of memory. It will certainly be some time before this song applies to me personally, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it.

"Too Much of a Good Thing" still lacked a catchy tune and variety on the scale, as did "Monday Morning Church," although the latter had more powerful lyrics (or at least mood) to help it along.

"The Talking Song Repair Blues" was the first catchy song that I could really enjoy. The lyrics were creative and clever, and the music video gave it an additional zing.

Jackson's latest two singles, however, fail to score high, both for me, and for the charts. "Like Red On A Rose" premiered on After Midnite, but the song was rather monotonous, and at times sort of confused. ("I love you like all little children love pennies"? I wasn't aware that all little children loved pennies!) The song pooped out on the charts at #18 -- a dismal performance for a brand-new single from Alan Jackson, the cowboy-hatted gentleman.

"A Woman's Life" maintains the same lack of imagination, and melodious variety that make a song worth listening to.

So while I owe Jackson his dues for first snaring me with his heart-jerking "Where Were You," there are times when I fail to see why this man remains a staple in country music.

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