I had to run into Thief River today already. But first I had to stop by a friend/neighbor/member's house to pick up Joe's paycheck. This man lives about 12 miles east of us; TR is west and north. So it made a bit of a drive. (And yes, even though he's twelve miles away, when you consider how few people are in between, he's still kind of a neighbor, right?)
Often I like a nice long drive. It gets me out of the house, and up and rolling right away. And when there's good music or good talk or good news on the radio, it can be kind of fun. But I'm still in my anti-talk radio and anti-current events mood. So I flip through the music stations. There is an eclectic station out of the Community College in Thief River. There is a Public Radio music station. There are a couple of pop/hip hop type stations, but they don't come in very well; and there are four country stations. Oh, and classic rock. I can usually get one or the other of two classic rock stations. I can almost always find something I like. And so the drive flies by.
I don't know if I've written about it here, but my car is like my rebel place. I love to find a song I like and just go crazy singing out loud and jamming to the tunes.
But lately, I don't know, lately I'm having this ADD radio thing again. I don't like ANYTHING on the radio. NOTHING! Well, very little. I've gradually fallen into a mostly country radio habit, but lately, all the songs I had previously come to like are "old" so they don't get much play time. I don't happen to like most of the "new" songs. Or if I do, they are of the sort I probably ought not to like as well as I do.
Some I like for the music. It's interesting, complex, or has a fun beat. An example of that, a song that's older now, but that I always find myself grooving to until I realize which song it is, at which time I feel chagrined, since it's one I don't allow my kids to sing out to, is this a long enough run-on sentence yet, is Honky Tonk Bedonkadonk by Trace Atkins. I really think that's a cool sounding song. But you know, I just can't get myself to feel right about a song, the entire purpose of which is to celebrate a woman's backside and how she clothes and moves it. I don't know...maybe it's just me.
Then there are those songs that are just plain fun, but too hedonistic for me to say I really like them. An example of this is George Strait's Here for a Long Time. I love to sing out on that one at the top of my lungs. It's just so fun. But there is that one swear word that I can't in good conscience sing in front of my kids; and in general that song is all about hedonism. Have fun and take no responsibility. Louisa has tried to assuage my guilty feeling by explaining that it could be about not worrying, or not striving to accumulate things or power or position; and I suppose that could be true. But to me, it feels hedonistic.
Then there are the melancholy songs about days gone by. And quite frankly none of us needs any encouragement to wallow in the guilt, shame, or pain of the past; or any temptation to dwell on the good times to which we can't return. Memories are fine, and good, and a rich blessing. And occasionally a country music song will celebrate memories in this healthy fashion. But that's not the kind of song I'm talking about. Most country music songs are not rejoicing in good memories. Instead such songs pine for the past in an unhealthy way. They tend to tantalize the discontent and covetous aspects of our sinful nature. There are a few bands or individuals, though, whose melodies, harmonies, and musical arrangements come together so compellingly that they draw a listener right into the songs, and thus put people right back into old times. This kind of song, too, I prefer not to listen to very often, even thought I may love the sound of these songs.
Lately, though, it just seems like either the songs are totally boring, on the one hand. Or they are fun or interesting or lovely musically, but fit into one of the above categories.
And so today, driving a total of about 80 miles, I heard one song I really liked. ONE. I heard only TWO of the songs that I like from the previous "guilty pleasure" categories.
But the one good song was a really good song. Josh Turner's Why Don't We Just Dance. I suppose that I ought not to complain. If I had to hear just one good song, I'm glad it was that one.