Thursday, 11 March 2021

Neverending Top Ten #3.6: Old Town Road

So it finally happened.

Rather than me introducing Sam to songs from my record collection, he's introduced me to one from... well, not his own record collection, but one garnered from his circle of friends, at least. 

Old Town Road by Lil Nas X really shouldn't work. Country and rap don't mix, surely? And getting Billy Ray Cyrus in to sing the verses...? I love country music, but Billy Ray? The Achy Breaky Heart guy? Father of Miley? Nooooooooo!

And yet, I like Old Town Road a lot. It's just a fun pop song. 

(Or is it?)

Now, being that I am of an age where I really shouldn't be able to trust my own opinions on contemporary pop music, I figured I better ask another young person. Unfortunately, the youngest person I know to talk to, whose opinion I (occasionally) trust is Ben. 

Apologies if this becomes another one of those conversations...

Little Nas. Billy Ray Cyrus. Old Town Road. Discuss.

Personally? It's OK. Technically?  It does a lot for moving contemporary rap forward, showing that those SoundCloud and sadcore rappers can get a mainstream audience with a song with pop sensibilities but not "sell out" or lose artistic credibility.

Similarly, it's a move that shows where hip hop is currently as a social movement by accepting Lil Nas and his sexuality as a prominent member of the community, and not just as a critical darling but a minor person in the community (i.e. Frank Ocean).

That's OK then. I will let Sam keep listening to it.

I like country music, and a country/rap crossover sounds horrible on paper, but this makes it work... and even redeems Billy Ray in the process.

Yeah, the kid is probably one of the best role models the genre has had since Lupe Fiasco.

That's a great name. Like Clem Fandango.

Well, thank whatever god you want that Sam found Lil Nas X for country rap as opposed to Kid Rock.

Kid Rock rules!

The white supremacy? Or the pretending to not have grown up on a massive estate that his mummy and daddy owned?

Whatever. He still has 3 good songs.

As a 12 year old I liked American Badass.

It was ok until it received too much radio play and just became so overplayed.

Fair enough.

(At this point Louise walks by and asks me if Sam should be singing that Lil Nas X song as it's so rude. "Rude," I ask, genuinely confused.)

I'm more disturbed to discover that the Lil Nas song might not actually be about horses.

It's about gay love, or can't you handle that?

Admittedly, love is the wrong word...

I don't have a problem with it. I just honestly thought it was about a horse until Louise told me otherwise.

I was satirising the idea of cancel culture and the outrage of cancel culture.

I only realised slippers were named as such because you slip them on your feel over Christmas.

And about a week ago I realised that the Pink song I'm coming up so I better get this party started was about her coming up on drugs. 

I didn't know that about Pink, but it doesn't surprise me.

It seems every modern pop song (except Taylor Swift and maybe Adele) is explicit on one way or another. I blame Frankie.


Oh What A Night is a gem.

But also about groupies...

Goes To Hollywood. Or were you being facetious?

A bit of both.

But that's what Oh What A Night is about.

I spent an hour last night trying to find a radio edit of an Eminem song (other than Lose Yourself) that I could play to Sam. But even the radio edits are too offensive for a  7 year old.

I don't think Eminem works that way, unfortunately. I had one of his CDs that was the edited version. It sounded like he was scatting.

Mos Def might be a better rapper to introduce Sam to. Or Ab Soul. Show him The Book of Soul. You may want to check it for language first but it is definitely good rap. Then you can lead into Kendrick who is one of the GOATS as they have a group together called Black Hippy...

I'm sure all those rappers are very good, but I'm trying to introduce him to music from my life, not find new stuff. He's done a good enough job of finding Lil Nas's Brokeback Mountain song.

But you can make memories listening to a genre of music neither of you are knowledgeable about together.

I'm sure that'll come later.

I just realised that Sam has been into that gay pirates song by Cosmo Jarvis for years. 

Not sure he's ready for Man On Man yet. Then again, he's not ready for Arab Strap either... or half of Prince's catalogue.

Arab strap needs a 30+ warning.

Arab Strap have a new album out. I wonder how many c-words are in it...

(Surprisingly fewer than expected, actually.)

1 comment:

  1. I think it works, but as you have probably guessed by now, I'm the most naive person on the blogosphere when it comes to working out what lyrics are really about. I'm pretty sure the kids of Sam's age are the same, so you should be safe.


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