Oh Brad Paisley. I was hoping that not changing your last name from the name of a fabric pattern would be the dumbest thing you did in your career… I was wrong. You out-paisley-ed paisley with your song âAccidental Racist.âÂ And now you’re making it worse by defending it.
A lot has been said about your this song. Okay not a lot of different things, but a lot of the same thing, namely that it was a big effing mistake.
Let me preface this by saying I am writing this as a tried and true country music fan. A country music fan who took something called the âlight railâ on New Jersey Transit last summer to see YOUR concert in Trenton. A country music fan who was so dedicated to the cause of good country music that she drank several Bud Light Limes, made out with a 20-year-old, left her phone on the hillside and then passed out on the train until the conductor yelled that we had arrived in Penn Station and we needed to get off the train. I did this for YOU and the kind of music you make.
This song was a mistake. And I donât feel sorry for you. You strayed from the core of country music, and you failed. Itâs like McDonalds trying to do a gourmet sandwich. Weâre not looking for meaning or thought-provoking lyrics here. Weâre just looking for feel-good times.
I will admit, Iâm sometimes a little embarrassed to be a country music fan because of what itâs associated with. Country music is a hard sell.
First, the whole country music scene tends to feel very Republican, what with the small town focus and the emphasis on family values. That’s cool, but I’m not Republican. I have to ignore that whole facet when I listen.
Second, ignorance veiled as patriotism is a celebrated (or at least not apologized for) thing. Alan Jacksonâs âWhere Were Youâ has the following lyric: âI’m not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and IranâŚâ Well, Alan, you should be able to tell the difference. Youâre part of this world and you’re older than twelve. Take it upon yourself to know the difference.
Third, country music singersÂ frequently wear bootcut jeans, when it’s like, “Hello, guys. It’s not 1993 anymore.”
BUT I listen anyway. Because there are some very redeeming things about country music. Here’s aÂ quick little primer on why country music can be wonderful:
- Itâs actually very pretty music a lot of the time. See for example, Sugarlandâs âStay”. A beautiful song, in my opinion.
- Country music employs the clever âturn of phraseâ better than any other genre. And as cheesy as it is, itâs a super satisfying technique. See, e.g., Sugarlandâs âStay.â
- It is the one genre of music where men still pretend that women should be pursued and that itâs better to be settling down with a lady than living the bachelor life. See, e.g., Brice Leeâs âA Woman Like Youâ. Or, Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything”.
Did I just say Brad Paisley? Yes I did! See, Brad? You were right on the mark! You married Kimberly Williams ofÂ Father of the Bride fame, you have a cute (if not a bit too pinched) face, and you were singing nice songs about how great women are. Just do more of that! Don’t try to solve race relations by just bringing it up as a general discussion topic.
Also from a purely songwriting perspective, people usually title songs with words that are in the song. I kept expecting the words “accidental racist” to be used in the song and I found it very unfulfilling when they weren’t. But you know, that’s like criticizing Mein Kampf because it has a typo.