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Country Music Will Break Your Heart #3

College Football star turned Country artist Sam Hunt knows a thing or two about heartbreak. How could he not with that Georgia boy swagger and those Drake-esque vocal stylings? Let’s take a moment to oogle his beauty.

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*Sigh*

Musically, Hunt uses contemporary, genre-crossing features in combination with traditional country storytelling to create a classification of his own. The artist was inspired by the more universal soulful aspects of southern music included in country, soul, R&B, and Hip Hop categories. In fact the first time I heard the following track I felt that it was better labeled as Spoken Word poetry rather than country music, and I think that is because of compelling and familiar lyrics.

 

In “Break Up In A Small Town” Hunt relays the difficulties that come with, yup, you guessed it, breaking up while living in a small town. Even if you haven’t ever lived in a small town I think the story will resonate with you. With the ever-expanding closeness provided by technology/social media/globalization, the world is morphing into a variation of a small town. Whether your ex’s mailbox is 7 minutes from yours or your FaceBook keeps telling you that they might be “Someone You Know,” chances are you are going to feel the discomfort that comes from inevitable run-ins with their memory or personhood.

 

Stand Out lyrics:

She’s so far gone, she just didn’t go far

She was over me before the grass grew back where she used to park her car

She’s leaving those same marks in someone else’s yard

In someone else’s arms,

right down the road

But there’s only so many streets, so many lights

I swear it’s like I can’t even leave my house

I should’ve known all along

You gotta move or move on

When you break up in a small town

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eirlPtRZW8U

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Country Music Will Break Your Heart #2

“More Like Her” by Miranda Lambert

First and foremost, Miranda Lambert is my spirit animal. She embodies what I would have developed into if I had been born in the South and with musical talent. Alas, Fate had other plans for me.

Dating in the BYU culture was a miserable experience for me. Expectations for women to portray themselves a certain way to be desirable clashed violently with my emerging identity formation. Because I didn’t fit a particular mold, I became cast-typed as the “Wild Child” who was sassy and opinionated and refreshing but threatening all at the same time. I was branded as a girl with an expiration date of acceptability: you could have your fun but you sure as Hell weren’t going to bring her home to your mom. There were other girls who were feminine, soft-spoken, kind, accompanied by a pink fuzzy glow that proclaimed, “I could be the mother of your future children.” These were the girls that ended up with the diamond rings, after their guys had seen the light by dating me.

As a result, I spent a lot of time struggling with the idea of “being loveable,” frequently feeling unacceptable and therefore unworthy of long-lasting relationships. After I left the college setting I was able to come to terms with who I am: not “unlovable” but instead “not someone everyone knows how to love.”

This song taps into this sensitive time of my life. Broken down into simple lyrics and a simple melody, Miranda communicates a tender side of this usually guarded and misunderstood woman. She sings the statement my younger self would so often think upon meeting the wives of my former exes: I guess I should have been more like her.

Standout lyrics:
She’s beautiful in her simple little way
She don’t have too much to say when she gets mad
She understands, she don’t let go of anything
Even when the pain gets really bad
Guess I should’ve been more like that

You took a chance on a bruised and beaten heart
Then you realized you wanted what you had
I guess I should have been more like that

I should have held on to my pride
I should have never let you lie
I guess you got what you deserved
I guess I should’ve been more like her

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Country Music Will Break Your Heart #1

Music speaks to me on some level that all other words and conversations can’t. I’ve found that I am frequently compelled towards Country Music to communicate the yearning, grief, loneliness, or general sadness that at times consumes my being as a hopeless romantic and a romantic struggling with hopelessness (Major Depressive Disorder). There is something about country music that just gets it right; the combination of folk origins, successful story telling, and twang that mimics a heartbroken man wincing in pain, work together to create something elevated, something transcendent, and yes I am aware that I just referred to listening to some country music as a transcendent experience. Let me show you what I mean through a series of posts titled “Country Music Will Break Your Heart.”

#1- “She Don’t Love You,” by Eric Paslay

When my friend Mountain-Man Karl introduced me to Eric Paslay in 2012 via text message I informed him that he spelled ‘Brad Paisley’ wrong. I was too much in a summer state of mind to appreciate Paslay’s talent, and so I wrote him off.

A few weeks ago I took a trip to Publix to get some much needed Blue Bell ice cream when this song came on the radio, stopping me in my tracks. I literally stopped driving in the middle of a busy street. It was as if this man, later to be identified as Eric Paslay, was singing the words I wrote in my private journal a few months prior. Of course I had to listen to “Killing Me Softly” afterwards because it was too uncanny. I digress…

Song topic: A woman incapable of loving after too many heartbreaks shuts herself off emotionally from the men that she seeks out to fill her needs for physicality. Sound familiar?

Some lyrical gems:
She’s no stranger to the leaving
She’s heard all the best goodbyes
Falling has a different meaning*

She don’t love you, she’s just lonely
She don’t know another way
To break free from what’s been broken**

*After a certain amount of negative experiences we learn to associate love with pain, giving typically happy events (such as falling in love) a fearful and unsavory association. So when you are dating someone you need to not assume that you’re on the same page with the other person. I have seemed to learn this lesson a lot.
**In depression as in heartbreak oftentimes people feel trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts/behaviors/emotions. We do the same things expecting different outcomes mostly because we don’t know any other way to behave. In this instance I imagine the first ex and the recent ex sitting at a bar; the first ex is explaining that you shouldn’t be upset with her actions because that is all she knows. The recent ex finishes his whiskey and sighs in an exasperated fashion.

Check out this acoustic version of the song. Even if you aren’t a Country Music fan this song is too universal to not communicate something to you. His voice is piercing. I get chills every time. Every other time I burst out in tears.

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