Culture > Music

In the spotlight: Shallow Country

Music | Popular country music continues its shallow trend

Issue: "Unions: Dues and don'ts," Nov. 30, 2002

The country music to which a growing number of high-profile conservative journals have been devoting enthusiastic coverage lately has little in common with as-seen-on-TV omnibuses like Totally Country, Vol. 2 (Epic). Subtitled "17 New Chart-Topping Hits," Totally Country had better not end up in a time capsule: if it does, future anthropologists will conclude we were even shallower, sillier, and more sentimental than we were.

The fatal flaw of most of these songs is their inability to depict love (between husbands and wives, between fathers and sons, even between male and female tracking dogs) as anything more than a cozy emotion. Still, better a cozy emotion than what love is in Trick Pony's "Just What I Do," namely, an indiscriminate inhibitor of good (Picasso's paintings, the Wright Brothers' planes) and evil (Jesse James's crimes) alike. If only the singers weren't in such obvious earnest, one might enjoy such music as satire. But in earnest they obviously are.

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