country music

Some time ago I mentioned I’m listening to contemporary country music. At first I was doing it ironically but now I kind of like it. It is _interesting_ – that’s what it is. For a while I’ve waved off all present-day music except for a very narrow sliver of the spectrum – alternative stuff and most of which was coming from artists that I’d known about for a good decade or more.

 

Commercial FM is full of new stuff that I don’t connect with at all. So anyway, this country music, while very much on the commercial edge of what is called country these days, is coming at lyrics and narrative from a different angle. This first one is probably the best example of that, that I’ve heard in the last couple of months. I was driving along, listening to this song and realised, Whoah – is this guy talking about broaching the subject with his SO of moving back in with his mum? _Now that’s country!_

As it turned out, this guy Tim McGraw is one of the biggest selling country musicians of all time. So I supposed it wasn’t just luck that he hit on a whacky topic, but is in fact speaking the thoughts of a whole generation of disaffected working class.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/or-Lam5tPHc” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe><br/><em>OMG! The pathos!</em>

 

 The conversate continues:

I love the fact that this next one, Toby Keith’s ‘Drinks after work’ contains the line, Let’s conversate for a little while. I can remember years ago J-e used to say “I want to conversate with you!” when she was frustrated with using English.

I really like the chord changes in the song too. The sound really nails that mild, AOR sound that tickles my funny bone in a perverse kind of way. (Reminds me a little of the <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgrVP_J0BHk”>theme from WKRP in Cincinnati</a>.) This song also introduces one of the big themes of country music: alcohol. Listening to the radio, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most of the south of the US is permanently drunk. Many, many songs revolve around getting to Friday night, it being Friday night and now we are going to drink. This is where Toby Keith shows his mastermindedness in that he wrote a song about having drinks _in the middle of the week_.

I also discovered that Toby Keith is a multi-millionaire and owns a chain of bar-restaurants across the US – mainly in the south and midwest. When he tours, he does gigs in these places. No doubt he sings this song, everybody drinks up and buys another beer.

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 seat 7a

The first thing this reminded me of was <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avaSdC0QOUM”>I’m On A Boat</a> but it’s different in a way that illustrates the difference between the hip-hop dominated pop scene and this commercial country genre. Even though the on a boat song is a send-up it’s that ‘hey look at me, I am very good!’ strutting that pop is all about these days. And then there’s Dierks Bentley getting drunk on a plane — why? because he’s having relationship problems. That’s the second theme of country. Sure, most popular music is about boy-girl problems, but a lot of pop seems to come at it from the angle of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’. Country songs like drunk on a plane tend more to the bluesy sorrow and woe is me feeling.

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Intertextuality with Taylor Swift

Even though it’s 9 or so years old, some of the songs from Taylor Swift’s first album still get played on this particular station I listen to. The station has a very narrow range of songs they play and you can often hear the same song twice in one day even if you’re only listening to the radio for 15 minutes total, but Taylor’s so damn popular they make exceptions of the age of the album.

This song is definitely right on the edge of pop and contemporary country but I can appreciate the craft in the songwriting and if the wickerpedia page is to believed she wrote that whole album pretty much by herself when she was 16 or 17. It’s ballsy to write a song called <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkD20ajVxnY”>Tim Mcgraw</a> when you’re just a newb on the country scene – very clever to pay homage but also hitch a little ride on someone who’s guaranteed to sell platinum.

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swamp

I wanted to take a moment out of my busy schedule of procrastinating from study (I’ve an exam tomorrow morning – yikes!) and mention how I watched this doco on country music a while back and while not all of it’s for me, there were a couple of acts that were catchy — first and foremost, Buck Owens. He’s got a great style of singing. I was looking on yutoob to see if there was much stuff of him and his backup band, the Buckaroos and I came across this:

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The song, I’ve got a tiger by the tail is great, but this is a pretty flat version of it. But the thing about this music-video version is that it was live on the set of the original Duke of Hazard tv show. It’s a bizarre experience seeing that cast again. I never realised how cartoonish they were.

I watched that show when I was a small boy. It’s strange to think that there was an era of TV where the climax of the primetime 7:30pm TV show was a car chase.

Hello 2015 / the beaten side of town

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/3336963681/” title=”imdae by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3378/3336963681_0bced075b2_o.jpg” width=”314″ height=”304″ alt=”imdae” /></a>

I’ve been in this here town for a couple of weeks now and am starting to get a feel for it. Enough to blog it up. I’m liking it. The things I was hoping for are here. Namely, a bit more space = less population density. One of the main way to get from my joint to the main part of town is through the campus I’m working at, and there’s <em>plenty</em> of space in there. I can really get my stride on walking without some urchins & their junk getting in my way.

Air is less polluted with car fumes, but seems to be a bit more dusty — at least in this part of the year. Maybe partly because the area outside here looks like moon base Alpha presently:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/3336951063/” title=”IMG_3782 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3331/3336951063_9a85cec827.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_3782″ /></a>

But it’s not just around here that’s less crowded. It’s a strange city for korea. It’s really sprawled, so it can cost 6 bucks in a taxi to get to the other side of town but there’s also sections I’ve walked through where _there’s just not much going on_. That might not mean much to some, but it’s fucking revelatory to me. Dead buildings, empty lots, mysterious properties with cyclone + barbed wire fencing.

At moments it’s reminded me of Shanghai — pedestrian crossings with light that are so quiet that it’s best to ignore them, flyovers (although not nearly enough of them — I love flyovers), and of course the space. In this part of town there’s a lot more young people and way less staring, bad-vibed old people.

I’ll reserve judgement about the job because it hasn’t really hit full speed yet. But it’s pretty cruisey. Apartment is smaller, but just requires a bit more organisation on my part, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is. Much more efficiently heated. I was always aware it was winter in the last place.

The outfitting of the apt was quite decent, and then on Friday, they delivered the _bigarse tv_!

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/3337793538/” title=”xcanvas by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3541/3337793538_091e49fc69.jpg” width=”500″ height=”363″ alt=”xcanvas” /></a><br /><em>hot chocolate, heaven’s in the backseat,</em>

I know these things are as common in Korea as public rubbish bins in Australia, but it still amazes me. When they told me, oh yeah, we’re delivering tvs, I thought of the flatron I used to have in eeetchon that took up about 12 cubic metres of my 18 cubic metres of living space, and given that I don’t actually like the television they broadcast here, I was saying I don’t want one. But you’ve got to have one, they says. Then I heard it was a ridgey-didge flatscreen, and softened on the idea. THEN I realised I could hook it up to the mac mini. I got the right cable yesterday and now we’re really cookin’. The refresh rate is a little too low to do prolonged computer work on but I’m looking forward to watching Django on dvd tonight.