Song of the Day #3,270: ‘Country Nation’ – Brad Paisley

Here’s another track by a recent contender in Montauk Madness. Brad Paisley held an early lead over Lana Del Rey, but did he hang on to win? And will those turned off by this full-throated celebration of beer-swilling, football-watching country music fans regret voting for him over the enigmatic chanteuse?

This song is a good example of why I ultimately voted against Paisley. He’s good for one or two of these anthems per album, and that feels way too much like a formula.

It’s the musical equivalent of a politician playing to his base, and that’s a tactic I just don’t care for much these days.

We work in the factories and the fields
Assembly lines, the coal mines and the steel mills
That’s what we do but there’s more than us than that
If you want to know who we are it’s on the logos of our caps

We’re Mountaineers, Volunteers
We’re the Tide that rolls, we’re Seminoles
We’re the herd of long steer
We drive Ford and Chevrolet
Cheer twenty-four and eighty-eight
We crank up our music Friday nights
On two thousand country stations
Yeah, we’re one big country nation, that’s right

We might fix your water pump, your AC
Bring your apple pie, and fill your glass of tea
Take that FedEx package to your door
But underneath that apron or that uniform

We’re Wild Cats, Wolverines
We’re Tigers, Buckeyes, Bruins
Bulldogs, Hogs, and Hurricanes
We pray before we race
Cheer fourteen and forty-eight
We drink ice-cold beer on Friday nights
Yeah, we’re one big country nation, that’s right

We’re all across the map
Down city streets and old dirt roads
We’re the fabric of this nation
And we’re a nation on our own

We’re Mountaineers, We’re Volunteers
We’re Devils, Heels, and Rebels
Fighting Irish and Cavaliers
We supe up our Chevrolets
Cheer twenty-four and eighty-eight
And we crank up the same songs Friday night
On two thousand country stations
Yeah, we’re one big country nation, that’s right

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,270: ‘Country Nation’ – Brad Paisley

  1. Amy says:

    I’m reading the lyrics without listening to the song, so as not to wake anyone so early, and I’m finding that this formula is one I appreciate. These lyrics remind me (again, without yet hearing the song, which I anticipate has a far more raucous feel to it) of Mary Chaplin Carpenter’s wonderful song, “I Am a Town.” While I resent the crass cynicism of politicians manipulating the emotional attachments people have to their various affinity groups, the artist’s recognition of the individual’s desire to celebrate belonging doesn’t seem nearly as contrived. Far from it. While Paisley infamously made the wrongest of wrong turns when he portrayed the “accidental” racist’s simple love for the Confederate flag and Lynyrd Skynyrd, I find his attempt here to get beyond his quintessential Country music fans’ blue collar occupations and to those groups with which they are proud to belong much more endearing. Yes, it’s still reductive, as all stereotypes are, but It’s a type of playing to the base (which people very much desire) that is far less insidious than it is enjoyable.

  2. Dana says:

    I assume it must be rather difficult for liberal country artists like Paisley to thread the needle with their lyrics without alienating a largely conservative fan base, but I’m sure songs like this one help bridge the gap. The cynic in me suspects these types of songs are very intentional marketing tools, but perhaps this is just who Paisley is rather than what he wishes to portray to sell records.

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