Every so often I’ll come across a song that for one reason or another annoys the snot out of me. And I’d like to share one such song with you today.
The song in question is “I’m Coming Over” by Chris Young (you can listen to it here). It was released in 2015, as far as I can tell. Before we continue, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of country music. I don’t hate it as much as some people do, but it’s also not my preferred genre. However, I live in an area that has a lot of country stations, and I despise listening to commercials on the radio. Which often means that if the two non-country stations in my rotation are both on commercial, I’m probably listening to one of the three country stations.
I want to say that I’d probably listened to this song a few times before I processed the lyrics. In the beginning I think I even sort of liked the song. It has a decent beat and makes for good background music on the hour commute I make each day. And then something flipped in my head, and now I despise the song every time it comes on.
The lyric that killed it for me was thus: “Why put out a fire when it’s still burnin’.” Now, before we go any further, I want to make clear that I understand what the metaphor is intending to convey. I know what the lyric means, I am fully cognizant of what the singer is trying to get across.
However, when asking the question of why one would put out a fire that is still burning has a straightforward answer because it’s the only kind of fire that can be put out. If it’s not burning, it’s not a fire. And if it is a fire and it’s not still burning, it’s already been put out.
Am I being too literal? Perhaps. I feel like a different metaphor could have been chosen that doesn’t have a perfectly logical and clear answer. Or the lyric could have been phrased differently to prevent this. Something as simple as “Should we put out a fire if it’s still burning?”. This still asks a question and conveys the metaphor without having a direct and straightforward answer. It also brings in a moral quality that would add depth to the piece.
I think I’ve made my point on this, but as further proof of why country music and I don’t get along very well, is the song “Johnny Cash” by Jason Aldean. A perfectly horrible song for several reasons, it earned my eternal enmity with the line “done gassed up the Pontiac”. Done gassed up. When it could so easily have been “just gassed up the Pontiac” while retaining the same musical structure and cadence but remaining within the bounds of English grammar.
Stay tuned for further editions of “Lyrics that make KT’s Blood Boil”!