How to Avoid Becoming a Walking Country Song in Five Easy Steps

Categories: List-O-Rama

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Don't be like this homeless anger-management dropout.
Like many people, I had a brief but intense relationship with country music in the mid-1990s. College couldn't come quickly enough, and, with it, an appreciation for music that delved a little deeper than, "Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee/It gets hotter than a hoochie cootchie."

Of course, that's not to say that all country music is rambling, rhyming nonsense. Plenty of it is full of simple but engaging narratives, rich metaphors and vibrant imagery, delivered by universally-regarded-as-cool vocalists such as Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams and Johnny Cash.

See also:
-The Americana Music Association 2012 Award Winners Love St. Louis
-Country: Meet the 2012 RFT Music Award Nominees
-Talking St. Louis, Baseball, Country Blues and Crooning With Bhi Bhiman

Still, the travails of country music and country-music stars are well-worn punch lines (everybody knows what happens when you play a country song in reverse), and Randy Travis is just the latest star who has seemingly succumbed to a self-fulfilling prophecy of a genre filled with tales of loss and woe. But after listening to country music for the first time in fifteen years with any regularity -- thanks to Prime Country on Sirius, which focuses on the music of the '80s and '90s -- most of the problems come from a handful of recurring issues.

And so in honor of last night's airing of the CMA Music Festival, here are five easy solutions to help weary countryfolk (men in particular) improve their lives.

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No one's asking you to be John Cusack. But, you know, shoot for the middle ground.

5. Don't Be a Prick.
Lots of songs open with this scene: A guy calls his wife/girlfriend to tell her that he's hammered/cheating/in the rodeo. And he's sorry. Which is why he's surprised to learn that even though he's all remorseful/hung-over/swearing it'll never happen again, she's had enough. And this makes him flummoxed/sad/get drunk again. How's about this, dejected country man: Don't be a prick. Call, write, don't cheat, come home. Granted, this would decrease the catalog of country music by about a third, but we'd all learn a little something and be much happier people in the end.

4. Don't Date Women Who Are Way Better Looking Than You.
Possibly the only thing worse than the men who are being pricks are the men who are being weenies. Much of this seems to stem from guys who are dating way out of their league, either in terms of looks or status. The inevitable result is sad, pathetic pleading that only serves to make the guy even less attractive. As doughy Garth Brooks screams at his hot piece in the song "Shameless": "Every time I see you standing there, I go down upon my knees.... I have never let anything have this much control over me." Get a hold of yourself, stand up and grow a pair. Or better yet, just be with someone homely.

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3. Do Get a Reliable Mode of Transportation.
Trucks and country music go together like hillbillies and handfishing, but they're usually memorialized as rusted-out, broken-down pieces of junk. Joe Diffie once opined that "there's something women like about a pickup man," but do you know what chicks like even more than that? A car that starts. Consumer Reports had good things to say about this year's crop of both hybrids and Chryslers, but we concede that those words are hard to rhyme.

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2 comments
MrFreese
MrFreese

Love every word of the article - only thing I didn't like is the amount of time the poor author had to waste researching this atrocious genre.

Mike Wilkerson
Mike Wilkerson

Well said, and even a perfect potential ramp for career rescue and success. Imagine "where I was, just a year a go" style, based on the Gawd-lovin' workin' it a day at a timeness he could conjure. There IS talent there, but it's lost in a 1/5 size bottle currently.

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