November 23, 2008
Typically, I listen to the songs on my iPod via the various playlists I’ve created. However, the other day, for some reason, I listened to my iPod on shuffle. These were the first two songs my iPod played: Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee” and Todd Snider’s “Conservative, Christian, Right-Wing Republican, Straight White American Males.” No joke. Apparently, my iPod has a sense of humor.
The “joke” got me thinking, however, about country songs that tackle similar subject matter from opposite points of view or take divergent approaches to the same theme. It’s fairly easy these days to find songs with a similar take on a subject matter, but finding differing takes is a little more difficult. Browsing through my iPod, I came up with a few additional pairs: Carrie Underwood’s “All American Girl” celebrates the success of the stereotypical all-American girl, while Terry Allen’s “The Great Joe Bob” celebrates the downfall of the stereotypical all-American boy.
Sugarland’s “Stay” takes the point of view of the “other woman” cheating with a taken man. She wants him to leave his significant other and stay with her. Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, on the other hand, takes the point of view of the significant other, begging the “other woman” not to take her man.
Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe” and Mark Wills’ “Jacob’s Ladder” take divergent approaches to the same theme. Both start out with a similar premise – a young girl leaving home with her young love against her parent’s wishes. However, things turn out vastly different. In “Walkaway Joe,” the title says it all. In “Jacob’s Ladder”, however, things work out much better. The young couple find themselves married with a baby, and accepting grandparents.
What songs can you think of that take different approaches to the same subject matter?