Country music: focus on girls & teenage motherhood, not a word about boys & pre-marital sex?

Let me confess my nearly abject ignorance around country music. My ignorance probably is not as bad as I’m professing, but I know a lot of people who know a lot more about it than me, I’m betting some of them read this blog.

So I just want to say – I don’t listen to enough to know what’s going on, and that’s why I’m noting this:

Between 6:15 and 6:35am this morning I surfed past CMT a couple of times. I caught a couple of minutes to what I would have thought were two different songs – the women singing them had different color hair.

But otherwise, the songs and the videos appeared, appeared, to me, to be identical. The tunes even sounded the same – kind of Edie Brickell-slow and swingy but a little mournful. The scenes? Identical – in the woods, around dirt roads and ponds. And the set-up? Also parallel: flashbacks to teens – the first to a teen girl walking and dipping her feet into a stream, the other – a girl in a car wiping away tears, hand on her forehead, and then flashing back to leaning over a boy in the front seat of the car and kissing and, well, you know.

The words in the songs (both sung by women who do not appear to be teens but more like mid-30sish): the same. I did something bad. But God has a purpose for everything. And I will and did keep this baby, even though I faced – we faced – bumpy roads and hard times. And God is great.

What’s my problem?

My problem are:

Does anyone know what songs I’m talking about, or could it be any one of a zillion country songs?

Can anyone who listens to country music regularly tell me, did I flip into the Pro-Life Hour of the country music station?

And regardless of whether I did or didn’t, are there country music songs that talk about the boys and what they did, or didn’t do as the case may be?

This isn’t a rant about being pro-choice. This is a rant about my bewilderment at the one-note music I saw, and my curiosity about knowing how typical or atypical what I saw is. Because if it’s typical, then I’m really going to rant.

13 thoughts on “Country music: focus on girls & teenage motherhood, not a word about boys & pre-marital sex?

  1. Oh, Carole – no question – Kris was sexy – but he went mainstream in a lot of ways – with Barbra Streisand and all that. Though my mom liked him because of the guitar. We had a wide range of music playing in my home when growing up. Someone really should do a meme about our first albums and so on!

  2. Anastasia, I think one way I know that even though I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years, I’m still an old New England girl is that WGAR is not on any of my pre-sets and I don’t know the song you mentioned! Even though I do know the singer. :)But yeah, I agree with what you wrote. Maybe I really shouldn’t choose to be ignorant about certain things?

  3. Hi King – no problem. Seriously – I believe that some of us, if we met and chatted face to face, would have extremely productive AND provocative conversations about just about anything. But here in cyberspace, the one dimensional nature makes it very, very hard, IMO.

  4. AP, nice try. But while yes country has had a lot of drinking and cheating songs, to say it is not more wholesome is categorically incorrect.Plus the cheatin and drinking songs teach a lesson – if your a drunk you will lose everything important to you.First the decline in country is because it is no longer country music. It has become more bubble gum top 40 type country. Garth, while being talented, was able to sell himself to a crossover of country music fans.One of Garth’s idols was Chris Ledeaux, pretty hard to get more country than that.Garth was a failure when he tried his alter ego character and music.Wholesome songs….God Bless the USA, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Long Black Train, Golden Rings, etc…. ALL COUNTRY!For a good contrast of how country music songs can go in two directions and still have a wholesome meaning, may I suggest Merle Haggard’s songs of — Walking on the Fighting Side of Me, If we make it through December and Okie from Muskogee.Just about all of music today can trace its’ roots back to some form or association to country music.Tammy, Johnny Cash, Willie, Merle, Lefty Frizzel, Little Jimmy Dickens, Faron Young, George “No Show” Jones, Roy Acuff, Hank, Porter, Buck, Dolly – all American Country Music HeroesBut as George Jones asks – Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

  5. I admit to liking George Jones – his voice is amazing. I had my country music days back when I was in love with Kris Kristofferson (ok I’d still run away with him) and listened to Willie and Dolly. Then the genre got more pop and I said why not just listen to heavy metal or alternative lol. I have been sitting here a few minutes and finally remember her name; Tammy Wynette and her DIVORCE song? I’m probably aging myself with all of these. The music is way too cookie cutter for me now. I doubt any of the channels are satisfactory anymore? At least they were playing music and it wasn’t a reality show like you find incessantly on MTV!

  6. Well, Jill, this may be part of the reason that the popularity of country music has catastrophically plummeted since its 90s Garth Brooks heydey. Its gatekeepers have become more conservative and moralizing than much of its audience.In fact, more country acts openly espouse liberal politics now or avoid politics at all. And king, country music isn’t and never has been “more wholesome.” In fact, it’s been known throughout its history primary for those “drinkin’ and cheatin'” songs and then they throw in a little God to make themselves feel better the morning after. I tihnk a lot of the “God” references are pretty rote, although there was that horrible song about the abused child who is saved from a life of unremitting horror by giving herself to Jesus. I have mercifully blotted its name from my head.Jill, yes, there are songs in which young men lament what they have done although I can’t drag any to mind right now. A lot of country music is just about real-life problems real people face and there really isn’t anything more sinister to it than that. (Although sometimes there is — anyone listened to “if the South woulda Won” by Hank Jr lately? THAT is sinisiter.)

  7. Hi King – thanks for the comment! I will listen/watch for those songs.You asked: “Why would you be upset if country would tends to be more pro life?”You misread what I wrote. I wouldn’t be upset if they tend to be pro-life at all. I wasn’t comparing pro-life to pro-choice. What I wanted to know was about the prevalence of women singing about getting pregnant before marriage and trusting that God will see them through even though they either strayed or it was in God’s plans that they strayed (or however they work that piece in) VERSUS…the prevalence (or absence) of songs from boys saying that THEY strayed and shouldn’t have had the premarital sex.I just was curious to know if the men of country music lament similarly.I agree completely and realize that country music is tinged more with issues and mentions of faith than pop or rock etc.I was thinking in terms of the egalitarian nature of the music, that’s all.Hope you’re well.

  8. Jill,I am a big fan of country music. Most of the country you hear nowadays is more like top 40 with a little country.To address your problems –No I do not know who sings these songs. Yes, it clould be one of the new zillion of what they now call country songs.No, you did not flip to the Pro-life hour of country music. There are tons and tons of songs about boys doing or not doing what they should have.George Jones – Bartender Blues David Allen Coe – Long Hair Red NeckDavid Ball – Walk on the wild side of lifeJohnny Cash – Folsom Prison BluesHank Sr. & Hank Jr. – pick about any songDixie Chicks (ugh!) – a song about a guy named EarlI can go on and on….Yes, country music does talk more about doing the right thing more so than other music. But, there are also songs about drinking, cheating, etc….Much of country has come from gospel music or faith based people. People that are more inclined to have morals and strive to be American. Well except for the Dixie Broads.Why would you be upset if country would tends to be more pro life? Country does tend to be more wholesome than other music.Do you also get upset about the words spewed in rap music that is derogatory towards women? Or urges killing others or the police?Does it also upset you when some bands sing songs that are anti-Bush or could be considered anti-establishment?Should we take this post as a sign you do not like Christian music?Any comment on Pinks song about touching herself?Please explain why you would be upset over a song that says God has a purpose for everything. And I will and did keep this baby, even though I faced – we faced – bumpy roads and hard times. And God is great.You really got me stumped on this one!

  9. If those songs were truly pro-life, those gals would be singin’ about how they TURNED HIM DOWN and don’t regret it. They’d be singin’ about the big conflict between a horny man who’s pressuring her for sex and a woman who’s going to stick to her guns, even if she wants to do it, too. They’d be singin’ about how a horny man dumps her for turning him down for sex. Etc. If you’re pro-ife, you’d better KEEP THOSE KNEES TOGETHER because when you play with fire, it’s too easy to get burnt!! Unmarried, pro-life gals should save sex for marriage, if they are sincere about their pro-life stance. Honestly, sometimes I think such pro-life gals CHOOSE to forget about birth control, just so they can say, “oh dear, ah nev-uh thought ah’d git so carried away, so ah nev-uh thought ah’d need buhth control!”

  10. Miriam! I can’t believe you mentioned that song by Carrie Underwood. I didn’t know who was singing that song the first time I saw that video, which I saw on VH1 or something I think, also at 6ish in the morning. But yes – that song made me laugh out loud – in a good way, not in a ridiculing way. What great lyrics. Yes, I love Goodbye Earl and the Dixie Chicks. And I guess I shouldn’t feign totally lack of knowledge – I own a couple of Crystal Gayle, Nancy Griffith and Emmy Lou Harris CDs, plus a few others thrown in there. And I like bluegrass a lot.But I really want to know – do they have times of the day dedicated to the more God-oriented songs?

  11. Don’t know either of the two songs, and I listen to country music intermittently. (It’s one of several settings on my car radio.) You might like Carrie Underwood’s song of how she got even with her cheatin’ boyfriend. (The how-I-got-back-at-him songs are the fun ones. Remember Good-bye Earl?)

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