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9/26/2005

Secrets, oooh/C&W Treatise 1

I'm not taking this the guilty pleasures route, I just realized I had been holding something back, which is antithetical to this whole Peanut Butter Words fun trap.

Contemporary country music as current interest.

I would say that anything could've sparked this post, but it'd be a lie (since I haven't done it until now); what catalyzed me was watching two Gretchen Wilson specials on CMT whilst blissed-out on a house sitting couch.

From these eyes country music's calm waters make it especially susceptible to transgression. Granted, this comes within the obvious context/trappings of the genre itself: the chafing politics (both personal and beyond) of midwestern & southern neoconservatism (& just plain old conservatism). While country predates most current forms of popular music, they're pretty slow on getting the rebel figures out, and when they do, they're big on personality but sort of low on broader-context radicalism. In a way, it's refreshing, the social/sociological strictures on the genre throw things into much better contrast, but I can't help but feeling like it also reminds me (with my own personal politics) what a repressed scene it is. This context is obvious to the point of unspoken, which seems less true of hip-hop (another genre where you can also quickly get into some morally ambivalent role playing for the sake of context, e.g. violence & misogyny as fabric of the cultural curtain).

This all seems narrow and tidy for me, A Resident of New York City, but I know there's a pop magnitude to the fact that she resonates with so many people. I have to admit that it's a pleasant irony and point of allure that Wilson milked success out of being completely anti-pop, exuding some evil mirror version of the glazed curls/trim + pretty soft-focus of femme country singers like Faith Hill (whose recent "Mississippi Girl" sounds eerily like a bid at down-home cred in the wake of Wilson's "Redneck Woman"). Wilson's whole popped blue collar/proud to be a redneck/Kmart shopper thing is especially interesting when contrasted with pop's other house of the authenticity trope, hip-hop. I'm told that that's more complicated than I make it out to be, but hopefully in time I'll come up with some Part 2 to this, most likely tomorrow when I go get All Jacked Up.

2 Comments:

Blogger Alfred said...

It's about time for a Rosanne Cash revival. Her work is filled with many of the paradoxes you mention. She's like Suzanne Vega with Pat Benatar's band and Gretchen Wilson's audience.

10:41 PM  
Blogger robbie said...

mike powell will show us all the way.

6:05 PM  

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