Thursday, August 31, 2006


I used to like Del Shannon's oldies hit "Runaway". But now.... it's ruined!

Gary Allan's voice has always been one of my favorites in country music. However, I had only heard his radio hits, such as "Smoke Rings in the Dark" and "Songs About Rain". I subscribe to Real Rhapsody ($10/month for unlimited access to millions of songs on your computer), and it never occurred to me to listen to all of Gary Allan's CDs until this week. He recorded a cover of Shannon's "Runaway" and it blows the original out of the water! Everything about Allan's version is done so much better than Shannon's - the falsetto in particular. I don't know if I'll ever be able to listen to Shannon's version again :-)

Recently I've regressed to a teenage-style infatuation with musicians. It's probably due to me neglecting my spiritual basics such as scripture study and true (non-rote) prayer. Excuses aside, my current favorites are Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and Gary Allan. I absolutely adore Brad Paisley's and Gary Allan's voices. Brad Paisley has catchy tunes and funny lyrics, and Gary Allan has a grittiness and strength of voice that really draws you in. Alan Jackson's songs are just plain good. As any country fan can see, I mainly stick to New Traditionalist country artists.

I recently found out about the death (suicide) of Gary Allan's wife in 2004. His latest album, "Tough All Over", includes the range of emotions he's been through since then. When you listen to it knowing the background, some of the songs are absolutely heartbreaking. For instance - the bridge of "I Just Got Back From Hell" says "Forgive me if I had any part - if I ever broke your heart in two. And forgive me for what I didn't know, for what I didn't say or do..." His emotion is so deep and raw and it really gets to me when I hear it.

One reason I prefer country music is that it seems more moral than other genres. Many artists have religious-themed radio hits, and even more religious songs on their albums. Many of them have entire religious/song of worship albums. However, many of their other songs glorify or at least favorably mention drinking, smoking, pre-marital intimate relations, etc. I thought about going through my playlist and making a list of everything I find objectionable, but it would be petty, it would take forever, and it wouldn't make me stop listening to those songs . . . yet.

About 5 years ago, my husband and I threw away all our secular music. I threw away the Beatles and the Monkees, and my husband got rid of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard (he also got rid of others that I can't remember). Even seemingly innocent songs didn't bring a good spirit into our home. We've been free of that influence for a long time, but now with Real Rhapsody we can get anything we want. We can get nearly any style of classical or instrumental music we can imagine, but we also have access to the worst songs as well.

A few weeks ago I downloaded EVERY song the Monkees have ever released. If the Beatles ever release their music to RealRhapsody, I will download every song*. My dh downloaded all of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. I admit that I have a few Bon Jovi and Def Leppard hits in my playlist, but most of those types of songs really drag me down. I tried listening to the Monkees songs I used to love so much, but out of hundreds, there are only a few that don't bring that yucky feeling with them. I don't think they're really evil, they're just not the best. I rationalize that my country music is good and virtuous, but I know that there is much better I could be listening to. And I'm sure I'm fooling myself thinking that Brad Paisley's "Alcohol" is an acceptable song to get my kids hooked on :-)

* I downloaded a set of "Beatlecracker Suite" orchestral tracks. Someone has taken excerpts from the Nutcracker and replaced the melodies with Beatles melodies! They're kind of cool and strange to listen to. You think you're about to hear the familiar melody of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", but it's "Can't Buy Me Love" instead.

1 comment:

Amber said...

Music (both good and bad) can be a powerful influene. My husband and I don't expose our kids to much besides nursery rhymes. But it cracked me up the other day when my 26-month-old daughter started singing along to a "Lifehouse" song she must have heard on the radio in the car. Here's to hoping to doesn't start chiming away to "Alcohol" anytime soon. :-)