Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Phony Nostalgia

There's an annoying strain of phony nostalgia that runs through a lot of what passes for country music today. This ridiculous longing for a time that never was, when everything was simple and everyone was happy because everyone lived like the Cleavers, except probably on a farm and God and America and high school football and blah blah blah, whatever. . . Today I heard a particularly egregious example called "Back When," by  Tim McGraw.

Nostalgic for less handsome times.

It's probably not a new song, I just had never been subjected to it before.
The lyrics go a little something like this:

"Back When"

Don't you remember
The fizz in a pepper
Peanuts in a bottle
At ten, two and four 

So that opening part is just really weird. Why would the placing of peanuts into a bottle of Dr. Pepper be so ridgidly scheduled? I could sure go for a salty soda, I can't wait until 2:00! But, whatever. If that's how you remember the "good old days," more power to ya.

We got too complicated
It's all way over-rated
I like the old and out-dated
Way of life

Okay, here we go. Let's see what Tim's idea of the old ways is:
Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a coke
And crack's what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes

Now, see, Tim McGraw was born the same year I was, so I know good and damn well that he doesn't remember a time when "Coke" was not used as a slang term for cocaine. Crack, sure. That didn't come along until the late 1980's, and even then was mainly in Los Angeles, so maybe he hadn't heard of it in rural Louisiana, but don't try and tell me there were no "ho's" in Louisiana!
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I'm down with that
Well it meant you had the flu

So, back in the good old days, either no one was screwing or the slang term "screwing" had not been coined? And the blowjob had yet to be invented? Yeah, I could see where you'd really miss those days!


My God! It's off the charts!

I'm readin' Street Slang For Dummies
Cause they put pop in my country

They? They put pop in your country? They? Because as I recall, you were as responsible for the pop-ification of country as any of the hacks that took over country music in the early 90's. You've made about ten zillion dollars off of this shit music and now you're going to complain?

Give me a flat top for strumming
I want the whole world to be humming
Just keep it coming
The way it was back then

Dude, you're Tim McGraw. You can afford any guitar in the world!
If you want a flat top for strumming, go fucking buy one. Buy a thousand guitars and strum to your heart's content. Then use one of those guitars to play a decent fucking song. Also, when was the whole world humming? When you were a kid?


Or when you were a young adult?

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/232/500286471_e862ce64be.jpg  http://rtone.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/free_mandela.jpg 

I don't remember the whole world ever ever ever humming all along together.
Oh, and here's an interesting little clip from the bio of a man who longs for the simpler, more innocent times of his youth:

The son of Betty Smith (now Betty Trimble) and Tug McGraw, Tim grew up thinking that his mother's husband, Horace Smith, a trucker, was his father. The couple divorced when McGraw was nine, and after that, he and his mother were often forced to relocate around Richland Parish. One time after moving, McGraw, then 11, opened a box that contained his birth certificate, which had his father's name scribbled out but listed the occupation as "baseball player." His mother eventually divulged that she had a brief summer romance with Tug McGraw, who was a minor league pitcher at the time. He quickly left her, though, and she married Smith when her son was seven months old.

So that's what you miss? Your mother lying to you about who your father is? Or your mother divorcing the man you thought was your father?  Or was it the finding out the fact that your real father was not particularly interested in you?
Tug McGraw went on to make his name with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. By the early 1970s, he was the highest-paid and most popular relief pitcher in professional baseball. McGraw met him once at a game in Houston, but his biological father showed little interest in maintaining a close relationship. The baseball star had married and had two other children by then, though he and his wife divorced in 1988. McGraw was initially angry at his father for not supporting him, but later forgave him

No offense, Timmy, but your childhood sounds pretty horrible. It's really mind boggling to me that the chorus of your song is:
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when

Weird. And crappy writing.