Life lessons to take away from country music

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Sometimes it can be difficult to grasp the deeper meaning buried within the lyrics to a song. A lot of artists on the radio today take pride in their ability to stump the listener with their profound words, while others write things that just don’t make any sense at all. However, one genre in the music world stands apart from the rest when you’re talking song lyrics — country music. Country music will never fail to get its point across loud and clear — and without any confusion as to what the artist wants to tell you. Approximately 97 percent of all country songs focus on a few central themes, which we’re going to break down for you here:

1. Friday and Saturday nights are for drinking beer, and Sunday mornings are for going to church. Finding a country song that doesn’t mention the pleasures of enjoying a “cold one” is very rare. Country men and women love their beer. Who can blame them? After a long day of “work, work, work all day” (or at least hearing about it), even we feel exhausted. But we’ll be darned if partying on Saturday is going to keep religious country folk from being faithful on Sunday morning. No one jokes around with Jesus.

2. Patriotism is key. The pure, whole-hearted passion of the artist in a lot of country songs is evident but it’s not always about a lover. Many times, that passion is for the “good ol’ red, white, and blue,” — Toby Keith’s “Made in America,” for example, drips with national pride and visions of American superiority. Country singers love the USA more than they love fishing … and that’s saying a lot.

3. Trucks are great. Trucks on dirt roads are better. While most of us in Berkeley don’t drive on dirt roads on a regular basis — unless you need to make a pit stop on your way up from SoCal, in which case the I-5 will offer you plenty of options — we learn from country music the romanticized value of the open highway. Driving fast isn’t an option, and driving with a cutie in the passenger seat is a bonus. We learn that sometimes we need to veer off our high-speed interstates and take a slow, rocky drive into the sunset. If not literally, maybe just taking a break from studying Bio 1A to hike up the fire trails at sunset will fulfill this romantic notion.

4. Be proud of who you are. If people call you mean names like “white trash,” “redneck,” “hillbilly” or even “die-hard, stuck-in-the-mud, conventionalist right-winger,” don’t shy away — sing about it. While we may not agree with all things country singers preach, we definitely respect the artists who know what they believe in and are proud of it.

5. Tractors are sexy. Apparently, standards of attraction differ pretty dramatically in the lands of country music. Scratch tall, dark and handsome — to win over your little lady, all you have to do is own fancy farm machinery. According to Mr. Kenny Chesney, the kind of woman he’s looking for is one who not only has the hots for his tractor but is “kind of crazy ’bout my farmer’s tan.”

Of course, admitting our respect for country music does not automatically align us with the mainstream political and social ideologies tied with the South. Loving the music and adhering to the values of Southern culture are two very different things. We are firm believers that a person can enjoy music without fitting in to its typical fan base. We admire the lack of interpretation needed to listen to country music. You don’t need to think — just listen. Sometimes, especially on long drives with the windows down, a little straightforwardness and simplicity is exactly what we all need.

Image source: Chad Podoski, under Creative Commons

Contact Sarah Branoff at [email protected]