I do not listen to country radio.
It's not because I'm a music snob. It's not because I'm an old fogey (old, maybe; fogey - no).
It's because every time I chance to hit the country dial on my car radio, I always get so annoyed.
Who listens to this stuff?
The only time I turn the radio on is when I'm driving somewhere to do errands. I generally will try the oldies station first, then the classic rock station, and, as a last resort, I'll punch the "TODAY'S HOT COUNTRY!" button.
Well, I did that today, and lo and behold, I heard that stupid song again!
It's the Kenny Chesney song - you know, "Shift Work". I think it's the only song they play on the country station, because it's the only one I ever hear. I think they just loop it over and over.
Why do I hate this song?
The melody is okay; it's got a nice (albeit over-used) calypso beat. It even has George Strait singing on it (although you really have to strain to make that out. They must have really mixed his vocals low.)
No, all that stuff is okay.
What really annoys me is that it is so condescending.
Here's Kenny, singing about the poor shlubs who have to do shift work, and meanwhile, he's sitting on a tropical beach, drinking mai tai's, or something.
Oh, and he explains it away like this:
Well I worked shift work
For ten years man, I hated that work
Then I made a break with the money I saved
It took me to the beach to have a beer by the edge of the sea
Um, yea. First of all, if you're doing shift work, you ain't got no money to save. Hello? Real world is knocking on the door! Next time your butler brings the groceries home, ask him how much they cost, Kenny. Not that it would matter to you, but just for reference. Have your accountant show you your American Express bill, and check out how much it cost to fill your Hummer, or whatever gas-guzzler you drive. Then come back and write a song about real working-class people.
Now, Kenny, I know you're rich, but I'm willing to bet that someone like Merle Haggard has even more money than you. And yet, when he wrote about the working man, here's what he said:
I keep my nose on the grindstone
Work hard every day
Might get a little tired on the weekend
After I draw my pay
But I go back workin'
Gotta buy my kids a brand new pair of shoes
That's a little more realistic, don't you think? I guess Merle didn't forget what it was like to be one of the little working people.
And now to the video. We're now going from condescending to insulting. First of all, I work for a living. Like 99.9% of the people do. And yes, I'm female. So, what image does Kenny choose to represent the working woman? Some bimbo in a red midriff-baring top, and yes, she's working at a service station, cleaning windshields. Yes. Very realistic.
I thought that the whole focus of modern country music was toward the female fan. So, who's this video for? Not for women, I can assure you.
Or, maybe Kenny is directing this only to the male fans, because, you know, only men actually work for a living.
I know that Kenny Chesney has made a huge living with his little, tiny, reedy voice, and his little calypso numbers, so who am I to question?
But next time you're sitting on that private island, Kenny, with your little umbrella drink, take a moment to think about who paid your way, so you could buy that island.
And try not to insult the record buyers.
But I guess you could just save up your money, in case your 15 minutes are suddenly over.