M fusses that much of what passes for country music these days . . . isn't. Instead it's slick, overproduced soda pop that tries to boost its audience by attracting fans of every other genre. This doesn't mean a lot to me, so today I asked him how you can tell if a song is truly "country."
"You can just feel it," he replied. "For one thing, the music isn't something you're apt to hear in an elevator. And the lyrics speak the language of real down-to-earth people. A country song taps into your rawest emotions. It reaches into your chest and rips your heart out."
This was starting to sound dangerous. "I don't think I could listen to many of those," I said. But because I'm always eager to learn about the human condition, I asked him to help me find a good example. And what he showed me just blew me away. It's by a band called The Notorious Cherry Bombs, which doesn't seem to exist anymore. (However, a couple of its members, Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill, do have successful solo careers.)
The name of this genuine country song is "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long." After listening to it a few dozen times, all I can say is, "Bring back The Notorious Cherry Bombs!"
(For a great full-screen version, follow this link.)
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