Sunday, September 16, 2007

These Are (Not) My People

Throughout my adult life, when I have traveled to places in the US where country music was popular, I have listened to it on the car radio. It can fit in Georgia or New Mexico or Wyoming where it doesn't seem to fit when you're in Boston or Chicago or LA.
Since I moved to Santa Fe I have listened to quite a bit of country music. The buttons on my car radio represent an eclectic mix including two NPR affiliates (one in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque), one Spanish music station, one oldies station, one classical station, and one country station, KRST in Albuquerque.

I started tuning into this station because I got clear reception of it on my clock radio, and could use it as a not-too-interruptive way to wake up on the days I actually had to set an alarm. And I enjoy the morning host patter (something that has, in general, driven me away from commercial radio because it's almost uniformly juvenile and aims so low. Years ago, I used to listen to Jess Cain on morning radio in Boston, and he spoiled me for anybody else because his show was always so smart, funny, and interesting. Upon embarking on this blog entry, I discovered that The Get up Gang, the KRST morning show, won an ACM in 2006 for Best Show (Medium Market), so I guess I'm not the only person who finds them entertaining!)

(She meanders back to the point.) I like quite a lot of country music--the melodies are hummable, the words often quite insightful. But in some songs (as is the case, frequently, with rock music), if you really listen to the words you find a stupid and not very insightful song. I'd like to share one with you today.

The song is a Rodney Atkins anthem entitled "These Are My People." If you don't really listen, you can get into the chorus and sing along with gusto. But the verses tell another story.

You can view the full lyrics here, but basically the gist of it is: We screwed around when we were kids; then we went to the local community college where we hung out in a haze of booze and sex and eventually got thrown out. Because we had no education we couldn't get decent jobs, and even though we had high hopes for our lives (based on what?) none of us achieved what we wanted. Now we suffer through our bad jobs all week and get drunk and fight all weekend. Oh, and we've also got some mental issues.

And another rousing chorus--ain't life grand!

In contrast to other titles which look at the blue collar/red neck/simple life through a more sympathetic lens ("Red Neck Yacht Club", "I'm a Lucky Man", "Never Wanted Nothing More"), I find this particular song downright offensive.

Just thought I'd share!


Randy said...

I love your blog. My partner and I relocated here one month ago from Phoenix in need of a change. Not a risk taker here but after visiting her once I knew this is where I had to be. In Phoenix I had a daily photo blog that documented different things about Phoenix. Since moving I have started a daily photo blog of Santa Fe. People thought we were nuts, moving to a town where we knew no one. I must say the change has done us good and we love it here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

SantaFeKate said...

Thanks Randy! Glad you and your partner are enjoying Santa Fe. I enjoy looking at your photo blog and will include a link on my blog shortly.

Poria said...

Well said.