“War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)”
Written by Bucky Jones, Curly Putman, Dan Wilson
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
November 12, 1982
#1 (1 week)
November 20, 1982
This song makes me wish I didn’t understand English.
I love the production on “War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)” and the vocal performance is decent enough. But it has the most repugnant lyrics imaginable.
It’s not even the plotline here, which has been used on plenty of other country hits, like “Bed of Rose’s” and “That Summer.” It’s the open contempt that the songwriters have for the lonely woman and lusty teenager who shows up at her door.
The song is set during World War II. In the fantasy world of the songwriters, “All the men were off to the war, and the women had nothing to do.”
First of all, no. Women were working, not waiting around to molest the grocery delivery boy. It’s ludicrous that this lonely woman is in such heat that she’ll take a 16 year old boy to bed without hesitation, but then she’ll put her husband’s photo face down while they do the dirty deed out of guilt and shame. The boy, of course, has no agency here, and can only follow his own carnal instincts. These aren’t believable characters, and they’re both miserable to be around.
When he recorded “Lucille,” Kenny Rogers was insistent that Lucille and the narrator didn’t sleep together in the end. That same discernment is missing here because the writers and artist were aiming for the gutter all along. It would be excusable as the fantasy of a hormone-addled teenage boy. There is no excuse for grown ass adults writing something this contemptable.
The only positive thing I can say is that we have completely bottomed out. T.G. Sheppard – and this decade of chart toppers – won’t sink any lower than this.
“War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)” gets an F.
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