I used to not like country music--I used to hate it actually, it gave me headaches and made me think about how rough farmers have it, which was unpleasant because growing up I loved the show Green Acres and if there's one thing I really do hate it's reality ruining idyllic visions of what life is all about. Green Acres was the place for me. The theme song had me convinced. I was not about to let Amarillo Sky* crush that dream.
But alas, due to gradual exposure and one huge cultural change I became a reluctant fan. And now I'm anything but reluctant, I've wholeheartedly embraced the music--it isn't, as I discovered, all depressing. It turns out that there appears to be a limit on how many times a person can sing about the city man robbing the poor country boy and still make money, and that limit was reached about 30 odd years after the depression. Now it's enjoyable because it's one of the few genres left that doesn't reference making it rain on dem hoes (appalling, but I have heard it makes great money), or experimenting with cocktails of drugs (questionable, at best), or explicitly detailing what goes on behind closed doors (frankly it's obscene).
One of my all time favorite songs is Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, one of the twangiest, country-est songs ever, but I love it just as much as I do Can't Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or American Girl by Tom Petty, or anything by my idol, Britney Spears.
It's simple and easy music in a very complicated world. There aren't any hidden messages (although I have to hand it to my girl B. Spears, If U Seek Amy was pretty clever), it'll still be relevant in ten years (I'm hoping I won't still be listening to songs that reference slizzurp when I'm 30), and they're songs that I won't be embarrassed to be caught humming in public. It's all about finding a good job, a good dog, and a woman that understands.**
And sometimes country has really good advice. One of my other favorite songs has the chorus, Turn loose all the horses just to watch them run/Take time to take in the setting sun/Throw back a keeper just to watch him swim/Forgive your enemies and love your friends. That's a solid way to live, right? That's about letting go of the little things, which we all know is a big part of the Lauren Turns 20 Program. That's a song I don't mind getting stuck in my head. And later, in one of the verses of the same song, there's a line that goes life's no fun when dreams don't come true. That I agree with too, in fact it couldn't be more true. I know not because I've had dreams that didn't come true, but because I've experienced the opposite--my dreams, so far, have come true, and it is fun, it makes life great.
Yesterday I got an e-mail from the program that I've been hoping to get into to go study abroad in Senegal that said I had been selected, and then today I got the e-mail from Tulane that gave me the go-ahead too. I remember sitting at my grandparent's kitchen table in their old house in Medford the spring of my senior year talking to them about whether or not I should go to Tulane, and in passing the topic of study abroad came up. I told them they had a program for Senegal and my Grandma Verdell told me it sounded just wonderful and that she thought I should go to both places, New Orleans and Dakar. The first place has worked out well, and I have high hopes for the second. It won't be easy, and it won't always be fun, but overall the experience will be a game changer.
I would be extremely surprised if there were a pop hit in the top 200 on itunes that even came close to encapsulating how exciting and what an achievement this news is for me. I think it's safe to say that numbers one and two won't be doing it, titled respectively S&M and Blow. Inappropriate.
*Sad story about a farmer praying that God won't let his dreams run dry, aka not letting the weather and the man shut his farm down. Too depressing. Sweet, but depressing.
**Beer on the Table is the name of that particular song. Classic.