July 10, 2009
The intro could pass for a Hamster Dance rendering of Reba’s “Strange.” The verses rattle off about tidal waves at the Mexican border and impressionable kids on “the YouTube.” And the chorus – the chorus is like that song from Team America (you know the one – “America, [Shucks] Yeah!”) crossbred with the soundtrack of one of those overcooked Super Bowl car commercials where you don’t know it’s a car commercial at first, but then the car comes out and climbs over a mountain or something and you’re like, “oh, all that for a friggin’ car commercial!”
Yeah. But seriously, what else can you say about a song like this? There was a time when the sheer audacity would have surprised me, but coming from late-00′s Toby, it just seems like one more cog in a big wheel of Ridiculous. And maybe that’s kind of on purpose?
…Or maybe not? Honestly, I don’t even know that I get the point well enough to judge. Is the big, machismo chorus – “That’s us! That’s right!” – supposed to be satirical of those who shrug off America’s shortcomings and contradictions? Or is it a sincere acknowledgment that such difficulties are an inevitable part of society, and that we must grit our teeth through them?
And like, what in the world does saying “look Ma, no hands” have to do with all that, anyway? Maybe he’s assuring his mother that he had “no hand” in the composition of this song? Do I just not know a good non sequitur when I hear one, or will people really just stick any syllable-filling phrase into their songs nowadays?
Whatever the case, I can’t say I don’t find it all amusing on some strange level. There seems to have been a serious attempt to make social commentary here, and it was pretty hit-or-miss, or maybe more of one than the other, depending on your perspective. I suppose you can make a case either way, and I invite you to do so in the comments. As for me, I’m afraid the “Ride” has just left me stranded too deeply in WTF-limbo to render a verdict.
Written by Joe West & Dave Pahanish
Grade: AMERICA! I mean…N/A
Listen: American Ride