If there’s one thing that is sure to send folks into a tizzy in popular music, it’s a song/video in which a woman kills an abusive man. Apoplexy from Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” through “Independence Day” and “Good-bye Earl” to Rihanna’s new video.
It’s funny to me the pearl-clutching that can still find traction over the fantasy of killing the man who done you wrong. As if killing a gal, for any old reason, isn’t also an ancient musical trope.
Funny that this one still has traction.
But what’s funnier, and I wonder if y’all have any thoughts on why this is, is that Miranda Lambert is never caught up in this. Is it because the dude in “Gunpowder and Lead” isn’t dead yet? There’s still space to imagine that he gets home and is able to finish beating the shit out of her before she kills him?
I find the absence of that song peculiar in these discussions, but I think–this is my theory anyway–it’s because the moment of that song–as she and her abuser are both about home, both about to finish what his stint in jail interrupted–doesn’t give room for sanctimony. It’s easy to pearl clutch once the dude is dead–“Oh, how terrible that Rihanna made a video in which a man [who rapes her character] is gunned down!” “Oh, how terrible that Garth Brooks sings about a woman who kills her [abusive] husband!” “Oh, it’s the end of the world that The Dixie Chicks make light of a woman and her friend murdering her [abusive] husband!” But when you’re in that moment before the confrontation–where you know as well as the singer that only one of them is going to come out standing–it’s harder to object.
It’s interesting anyway.