So, well, yes.
I hate it.
I wasn’t sure that it sucked, so I went in to my one Tiny-Cat-Pants-knowing-about co-worker–let’s call her the Guru–and asked her what she thought.
I think it sounds like a bad, angry Sheryl Crow song. But the Guru really nails it. She said it’s a terrible power ballad, something you’d expect out of Poison or Warrant, and god damn if she isn’t right.
Listen, I’m all for the Dixie Chicks. If they want to stand in front of England, who is our ally in this craptastic war, and denounce our president for his idiocy, more power to them. I understand the argument that it was inappropriate for them to do it in a foreign country, but just exactly how foreign is England when it comes to us?
We used to be part of Britain, as you history buffs may recall. They’re our staunchest ally. And we trade pop culture back and forth like nothing. If we can’t talk about our problems with the British and expect them to sympathize, who can we?
But this? I actually find this song kind of unforgivable.
This ought to be their big ‘fuck you’ to their critics and their enemies and the folks who turned their backs on them and it ought to be their “well, looky here. Turns out we were right” moment. This song should be their “Turn the Page” and instead it’s their “To Be With You*.”
They’ve mistaken slowness for seriousness and huge pauses in their delivery for a way of building anticipation. The Guru says that the verses could not be more flat. She’s completely right.
I mean, seriously, folks threatened to kill you. Radio stations banned you. You threatened to leave country music and never come back. Everyone thought you’d committed career suicide.
And this? This is what you come up with out of that?
The words to this section are good:
I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over
But I think that’s because it is specifically about the incidents that led to the creation of this song. There’s real power in just coming out and saying what you mean, being specific about what you’re talking about (the verses, I think, lack this). But the delivery just feels all wrong to me.
And the song kind of plods. Why are you plodding? Plodding is for regret. You claim you don’t regret what happened and you aren’t “ready to back down” so why are you moping through your song?
And, good lord, what’s with the Aerosmith-ian string section?
Do they do remixes in country music? God, I don’t think they do.
Which is really too bad, because this could be a kick ass song with an entirely different arrangement. Faster, angrier… more wicked. More country.
I mean, didn’t they get the memo? The days of “Just Breathe” are over. Loretta’s back on TV. Everyone’s dressing like it’s the 70s in their videos.
You don’t have to leave country to be pissed off. There are plenty of pissed off women in country music. In fact, I can’t think of another branch of American music** in which women are given reign to express their anger. I mean, there aren’t a lot of happy “You Done Me Wrong” songs.
So, in the end, I think that’s what’s wrong with this song. They’re angry, and rightfully so, but they’re attempting to express that anger in a pop ballad. There are no pissed-off women in pop ballads, only deeply wounded ones. And so what should be a fun song full of fury ends up being a slow, mopey boring mess.
*Surely, y’all remember that fucktarded Mr. Big song?
**Aside from rap, which is for urban folks what country music is for rural folks, so that’s no surprise.