Archive - Oct 18, 2011
Who Said Country Music Is Reactionary?
18 October, 2011 - 21:09 — Bryan Lambert
Memo to Hank Williams, Jr: KEEP THE THESAURUS.
OK, I have to ask. What the fuck is Hank Williams, Jr. actually good at? I mean, we learned he's a lousy political commentator. We've learned, over the years, just how bad he is at not wearing hats. We've learned that dressing like something other than a prison tour guide seems to be, again, beyond his capabilities. But I thought, at the very least, he was famous for being marginally competent at writing shitkicker party anthems.
But I'm not seeing that in his latest joint. As you know, ESPN dropped his song permanently from Monday Night Football after Hank compared Obama to Hitler, even though Hank sort of kind of apologized. A decision, by the way, that I disagree with - if they didn't know Williams was a reactionary dirtbag before he went on Fox News, well, they weren't paying attention. But they canned his ass anyway, or at least his song's ass. And so Bocephus did what every 13-year-old girl does when aggrieved by minor injustice. He wrote a poem about it and set it to music.
The song is a tired-ass collection of barely rhyming teabagger bumper stickers called "Keep The Change", which news outlets reported as a reference to Obama's "change" agenda, but is in fact a reference to three-year-old bumper sticker slogans that were, in turn, referencing Obama's use of the word "change". It's sad. And the rest of the lyrics are sad too. I present them, in full and YAD Annotated form, below.
I'll keep my freedom / I'll keep my guns / Try to keep my money / And my religion too."
Um, OK. I, in turn, will keep on breathing, keep my XBox, keep avoiding a higher percentage of country music than ever before, and, I guess, keep on keepin' on. All with the exact same amount of effort Williams will put into keeping his four things, none of which Obama has even remotely tried to reach in the general direction of, since I'm guessing Williams already buys health insurance.
Still, nice way to kick things off. If this song had been playing Family Feud, they'd have just named the top four things deluded teabaggers think they have less of under Obama.
Try to keep on workin' / Try to keep on smilin' / I will keep my Christian name / And y'all can keep the change
Oh, don't worry, Hank. Or should I call you by your Christian name, "Randall", which you don't use for show business? Anyway, not to worry about working. Shitty country music is recession-proof. After all, if it weren't for shitty country music, what would the dumber half of the 99% use to pretend that siding with billionaires to fuck everyone else over is what dusty-booted, manly-sweaty, baked-and-craggy, drive-a-hemi Real Americans are supposed to be doing?
But keep on smilin', because that way nobody will think you're a petulant little whiner bitching to the only three chords you know about how you lost one lucrative licensing deal. Now that's cuntry strong.
I'll keep my hero's / Pictures on the wall / I'll keep my family safe / You bluff when I call
And that, folks, is what you get when you write a song in a week and you're very, very stupid. "You bluff when I call". He stretches so far for the rhyme he shatters the causal relationship between bluffing and calling. Fucking genius. And is he talking about actual poker prowess, or does it tie into the previous line, and therefore it's about him shooting Bed Intruders with the guns Obama wants to take away, only they're bluffing, so they're not actually Bed Intruders, but he gets to shoot them anyway?
Also, Obama is not, under any circumstances, ordering the federal government to restrict Hank Williams Jr.'s home decor. So it's OK, guy. Your 8x10 glossies of Jefferson Davis, George Wallace, or Justin Bieber can stay.
I'm gonna keep my big V8 / Keep my friends the same / Keep the government outta my business / And y'all can keep the change
Again, where the fuck do you think we live? Because I live in a country where Obama didn't set up retroactive fuel-efficiency standards, where rich assholes can burn all the gas they can afford, where you can be friends with anyone you want to unless they run a mosque, in which case then you get spied on by the FBI, and where the government is really only in Hank Williams Jr.'s business if he wants to marry Toby Keith. Which, by the way - WEDDING OF THE CENTURY. I'm just saying.
This country's sure as hell been goin' down the drain / We know what we need / We know who to blame / United Socialist States of America / How do you like that name? / I'll keep the USA and y'all can keep the change
I actually don't know what we need or who to blame from the rest of the song up to this point. I mean, I guess we probably need more effective media literacy courses for America's mediocre country singer community. Because it looks like those children have sure as hell been left behind. Also, I don't like that name much, mainly because you can't put it into a song and make it scan worth a damn. So kudos at least for showing us so vividly the truth of THAT.
NOTE: The topical whining begins here. Readers with allergies to emo, kvetching, and One Percenter Problems* may want to proceed with caution.
So FOX and friends / Wanna put me down / Ask for my opinion / Then twist it all around
OK, I don't know if that's an artifact of one-week dumb-ass songwriting, or if Hank Williams Jr. actually thinks it was Steve Doocy's deliberate, willful twisting of his Obama/Hitler analogy that ruined his sweet ESPN deal. I guarantee you, Steve Doocy doesn't have a deliberate, willful bone in his body.
Supposed to be talkin' about my father's new CD / Well two can play that "Gotcha Game" just wait and see / Don't tread on me
So, if I'm reading this right, and leaving out the blatant teabait at the end, Hank Williams Jr. is threatening to start up a morning light interview show, invite Fox and Friends on it, then pretend they've said something stupid and ridiculous during the interview so that their careers are ruined? It seems like a lot of work to go to, especially when Fox And Friends entire career IS saying stupid and ridiculous things during interviews.
There's a reprise of that ridiculous USSA chorus, and then...
Yeah, you can keep FOX and friends and ESPN outta your homes too / Cause Bocephus and all his rowdy friends and his song is outta there! Yessir!
OK. Here's where things get weird. That last bit doesn't even remotely rhyme. So I decided to listen to just the end of the song, in the hopes of figuring out how the fuck he could deliver those lyrics. So when I looked it up, I discovered two things. First, that he just says it, he doesn't try to sing it. And second, that there's concert footage at least two years old of this ENTIRE FUCKING SONG except for the last bit about the recent kerfluffle.
So he didn't even write the whole thing in a week! Most of that shit is actually a finished, "polished" song he's been playing for years, then stapled an extra verse or two onto to capitalize on his newfound infamy. At least there's an excuse for it reading like warmed-over teabagger vomit - it's because it IS warmed over teabagger vomit. Also, thanks to all the news organizations who reported that he "wrote a new song" to address the controversy. It's not like the second goddamned hit for "Hank Williams Keep Change" on YouTube would have clarified things, you research-averse aggregator fucks.
* I hereby propose One Percenter Problems as the new substitute for First World / White People's Problems. It's more accurate, plus, if you use it, you can be down with OPP.