Right now the #1 country song in America is Kenny Chesney’s “The Boy’s of Fall.” How anybody can even take Kenney seriously after he clearly lip synced his performance at at the ACM Awards in April, I have no idea. Well I’m feeling froggy, and I find this song a little offensive, so I think it is time to take the cover off the smoker, get a bag of Kingsford, throw some mesquite chips on top, and do a little roasting.
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Kenny Cheseney’s “The Boys of Fall” is the worst of all worlds. It takes the Nashville songwriting formulas of laundry lists (mindless smatterings of words that have to do with the “country” that are always preceded by ‘It’s’), adds some Bob Seager “Night Moves”-style nostalgia, and spits out a song that solidifies the unhealthy notion that life begins and ends in High School, and all that us mindless peons working in cubicle farms and factories have to look forward to is looking back.
“Well its, turn and face the stars and stripes. It’s batting back them butterflies. It’s knocking heads and talking trash, its slinging mud and dirt and grass.”
No Kenny, it’s mindless fop that should be labeled “unfit for human consumption.”
What’s funny is that Kenny, pop country’s recent king, is on last year’s trends. Didn’t he get the memo that he’s supposed to be aping Outlaws now, trying to capitalize on anti-Nashville sentiment and shoving rehashed AC/DC riffs down people’s throats? But I guess the fans didn’t get the memo either, as they are willfully shelling out their hard earned cash on this unhealthy bit of escapism.
I am a football fan. Really, I am. And I think many positive lessons can be learned by young men participating in the sport, and by spectators. But the way football is used in the American culture to help perpetuate the class system and skew the priorities of the educational system are the foundations for systemic problems throughout society. Despite all of our riches, we have created one of the most divisive and violent cultures the world has ever seen, and part of the reason is that the educational system institutionalizes the idea that some people matter, and most don’t. Popularity contests and pep rallies are not wholesome, they skew the perspective on priorities and respect in culture. This songs emphasizes that.
Look at some of these lines:
They didn’t let just anybody in that club. Took every ounce of heart and sweat and blood. To get to wear those game day jerseys down the hall, kings of the school man, we’re the boys of Fall.
Aren’t schools for education? Why aren’t the ‘kings’ the brightest students? But I don’t feel comfortable calling anybody ‘kings.’ It sounds to much like the reimplementation of a caste system.
This was the line that really set me off:
“In little towns like mine, that’s all they got. Newspaper clippings fill the coffee shops. The old men will always thing they know it all. Young girls will dream about the boys of Fall.”
So all that little towns have is fucking football, huh? This insults the soul of so many small towns across the country, and the BEAUTIFUL things they have to offer like authenticity, simplicity, honesty, beautiful people, strong communities, and the last shred of the true American fabric that has been buried under urbanization and homogenization from things like mindless songs from corporate Nashville perpetuated through radio consolidation. This is supposed to be country music goddammit! Meaning music for the country! Kenny should be singing about the death of the country, not accelerating it by slinging out indirect insults.
You may think this is a revenge of the nerds rant, and you may be right. But to take such a mundane thing as football, and to memorialize it in such a mawkish and melodramatic manner that it makes you think it is all that matters in life is insulting of the human spirit. If he wanted to use football as an illustration of the struggles of life, then maybe he’d have something. But instead he just glorifies its mundanity in an insipid manner. It’s Taylor Swift’s job to sing about this high school bullshit Kenney. You’re supposed to be a grown ass man. Grow a sack and sing about something relevant.
We live in a culture that obsesses over high school. Most of the popular songs are about high school. Popular televisions shows like “Glee” and movies like the Twilight Series all overly glorify the importance of virtually irrelevant high school occurrences. Lately in the news we’ve been hearing about suicides caused by school bullies. Are these caused by bullies, or the unhealthy perspective we have given our children that they should judge themselves through other’s eyes, and weigh things like popularity above everything else?
And a song like this inspire an antithesis reaction that is just as subversive:
And we war, and fight, and bicker back and forth while society continues to fracture across cultural lines: Republican and Democrat, Athiest and Christian, City and Country. But I will give Marlyn Manson credit for this line:
Nothing suffocates you more than the passing of everyday human events.
Truer words were never spoken.