Ben’s Top 5: 90’s Country Songs
Over the years it's gotten easier to live with. And I guess it true, time will heal all wounds. But, I still shutter when the memory creeps up from the dark recess of of my mind. I need to come clean. Here we go, I'm going to be honest with you. There was a time in the 1990's that I listened to a lot of Country music.
Please, don't call me brave for admitting it, it is what it is. With lots of work I have come to terms with it. Why did I do it? Well, for the reason that men do any crazy stupid thing: for a woman, or a series of women. Hey, it was the 90's, it was Nebraska, I'm needy and we really didn't have the internet yet. It was a different world. But I am still pretty needy.
Anyways, during that time, I did discover some very good music. Did you know that before the Great Country Song Topic Act of 2010 not every country song on the radio was about drinking or upper-middle class fear of the future. I KNOW! Who could imagine such a time. Even crazier, the songs didn't sound like 70's rock songs, but like country songs. Here are my Top Five 90's Country Songs.
5) Joe Diffie - "Prop Me up Beside the Jukebox"
4) Little Texas - "Life Goes On"
From 1995, this upbeat break-up song was there for me at the end of many stupid, ridiculous relationships.
3) Mary Chapin Carpenter - "Down At The Twist And Shout"
The Cajun, zydeco sound of this 1991 hit is fantastic. It's a bright celebration of a good time.
2) Sawyer Brown - "Some Girls Do"
Even though the video is one of the most 1992 things I've ever seen, this song is timeless. It's about being comfortable in one's skin, and proud of who you are. Some girls may not like guys like me, but there are those that do. It's a perfect embodiment of one of the most important lessons any small town kid learns their first year at college. It's OK that you don't fit in with those hometown idiots, your people exist and you'll meet them. The song also expresses something that is severely lacking in Country music today, it's best described by the lyric "Well I ain't first class but I ain't white trash." Meaning that you can embrace your past and home and still work towards being a better person without embracing destruction.
1) Garth Brooks - "We Shall Be Free Video"
The opening of this song still gives me chills. It's an honest and upbeat assessment of the world. It has a hopeful sound and energy that says that world is getting better and it will be even better when we focus on taking care of the real problems.
There are a couple of things that make this such a special Country song. First, it's the lyrics. Lines like this stand out,
"When there's shelter over the poorest head...when the last thing we notice is the color of skin, And the first thing we look for is the beauty within...When the skies and the oceans are clean again...When we're free to love anyone we choose...When this world's big enough for all different views...When we all can worship from our own kind of pew...Then we shall be free..."
The other thing is the forward thinking attitude. Bucking a trend that to this day consumes Country music, there's no lionizing of the past. The song is about about moving forward, looking ahead. Embracing progress and change and talking about how there really were no good old days; the best is yet to come and we create it.
Garth seems to have gone on a scrubbing spree and managed to rid the internet of his videos, so the original is hard to find. But, here he is singing the song with some Muppets.