Saturday, July 24, 2010

Comment Elsewhere: Pointless Discussions

Someone claimed that "Hickory Wind" by Gram Parsons was "infintely better" than "Achy Braky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus. I responded
Cyrus is a better musician than Parsons, but the whole musical industry has raised technical standards so much, that it’s not obvious until you compare them side by side. And “Achy Braky Heart” is an entirely successful, intentionally funny song. It’s not lyrical poetry (and “Hickory Wind” is so full of faux sentimentalism and forced romanticism that I could barely listen to it once) but it’s a fantastically written and perfectly performed piece. The problem most people have understanding Cyrus’ work (and I’m not a huge fan, honestly, but this kind of stuff drives me buggy) is that they don’t understand that country (like folk music) has a deliberately and broadly humorous side and doesn’t actually take itself as seriously as the authenticity-hounds (or their mindless rejectors) seem to think.

For comparison, here are the two songs: make up your own mind:

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