Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Friday Rant: Carrie Gives Me the Creeps

It has been over a month since the last Friday Rant. A lot has happened since early November, a lot of things to yell and scream about.

There are two songs that have dominated my month, and anyone else’s that has attempted to watch any football or primetime television in the past four-plus weeks. Our Country by John Mellencamp (a.k.a. John Cougar, a.k.a. John Cougar Mellencamp) and Before He Cheats by one of my all-time least favorite artists – Carrie Underwood. I am going to leave Johnnie the Melon and Our Country alone on this one. Mellencamp has a long track record of speaking out for what is right. He simply cashed in and his song got the corporate treatment. The non-stop rerunning of the commercials is sickening, but you can’t blame the Coug for that. If you listen to the whole song, it is a song of hope and healing. A very simple and nauseatingly sugary song of hope, but still…Chevy just turned it into a giant sappy monstrosity for their campaign. I wonder if J.C.M. knew Chevy was going to splice in footage of regional disasters in coordination with the lyrics (i.e. the wildfire footage that appeared with the “from the west coast” lyric and the Katrina footage that accompanied the “down the Dixie highway” lyric). The depressing disaster footage lasted for the first weekend of the campaign and then it was gone. Someone had to have gotten fired or demoted for that genius decision. “Hey! What if we put in footage of the Katrina floods in the ad! Come on! You know that will make people want to buy more of our trucks!” I should have gone into advertising. Now on to the song that has really driven me insane.

There is something about Carrie Underwood that gives me the creeps. Don’t get me wrong, she is gorgeous and a fine singer. I tend to root against the country types on American Idol, but she didn’t bother me all that much until close to the end of the season. But man, there are some things about her that make me just dislike her. The first thing that springs to mind is the recurring discomfort that washes over me when I watch her perform. I should clarify. It is the discomfort I feel when watching her attempt to move while singing. I realize she is a relatively new performer and that she is probably working very hard on her stage demeanor but this girl has no rhythm whatsoever and zero ability to move her feet with any coordination when she is performing. Fine. She is a singer, and not a dancer. But am I the only one that feels like she is trying with all her might to avoid dropping a hellacious deuce on the stage while she is singing? One of my favorite things about watching her performances on Idol, was when she would attempt to dance (usually after Simon would tell her she was too “stiff”) only to produce movements that could only be considered fluid if they were being performed during an exorcism - and not by the priest. Maybe it’s the strain of singing with an over-emphasized southern accent that puts her in the precarious straining-to-hold-it-in position on stage. I don't know, but hopefully she'll get that under control.

I have seen at least three Carrie Underwood performances of Before He Cheats over the last few weeks. They occurred during halftime of a Thanksgiving football game, during some late night network show and on the CMA broadcast. I must say that she looked pretty fine at the CMA’s, but something struck me funny when I was listening to the lyrics during the performance and I started laughing. I could have sworn that she mentioned something about swinging a baseball bat at someone, and I immediately dismissed it. There was no way that sweet, adorable Carrie Underwood was unfurling the lumber on an adversary. No fricken’ way. I listened again, and there it was. Another baseball bat violence reference. I was wondering if perhaps the song might have been a country remake of an old rap ditty by the Lordz of Brooklyn or something. Hey, in this era of covers anything is possible.

At this point I was intrigued, so I ran upstairs and Googled the lyrics to see what this song was about. “I took a Louisville Slugger to both head lights…”. I haven’t laughed so hard while reading lyrics, since trying to read along to Napalm Death tracks on my college radio show. So, what do these lyrics tell us? First, Carrie Underwood did not write this song. No one is cheating on Carrie Underwood, and Carrie sure as hell has never grabbed a bat with malice in her heart. Who decided this was going to be a believable song for this performer? What’s next? After He Cheats? – where Carrie and some of her homies track down the bitch that cheated on her with her baby daddy and busts some caps in they asses? It is almost laughable that this song appears on the same album as “Jesus, Take the Wheel”. I would have liked to see her combine these tracks into one epic Meat Loaf-like epic entitled “Jesus, Take the Louisville Slugger”. It is a guaranteed Platinum record:

Jesus take the Louisville Slugger
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this all on my own
I'm letting go
Jesus take the Louisville Slugger to both head lights…

Congratulations are definitely in order to Underwood for bagging the Best Female Artist award at the CMA’s - and for the reaction it caused ifrom Faith Hill. The Faith Hill on-camera spasm after the winner was announced is truly a thing of beauty. I love it when people show their true emotions. I have watched the clip fifty times. It truly never gets old. “WHAT?!?!?” So funny. Hopefully this turns into a nasty country music feud. Faith versus Carrie in a steel cage. I would pay to watch that without hesitation. Who knows, maybe they'll even round up their crews and we can have ourselves an old fashioned Beat It moment.



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