Song Of The Year

She was sittin’ all alone over on the tailgate

That’s right, the boys and their trucks. But wouldn’t you want a guy? If you had a desire to hug and kiss and more? Is there anything wrong with being red-blooded and desirous?


I was lookin’ for her boyfriend
Thinkin’, no way she ain’t got one

Insecurity, it’s in the DNA of men. That’s right, all you women worrying about being picked, feeling at the mercy of the opposite sex, the truth is guys are riddled with self-doubt, don’t mistake the bluster for confidence, it’s just a way they screw up their courage to interact with you WHATSOEVER!

Soon as I sat down I was fallin’ in love

Guys don’t fall in love gradually, that’s women. You know, the people who testify in the Sunday “New York Times” Style section that they were friends first. Guys are never friends first, no matter what they tell you, the truth is they fall in love right at the very first, and then they wait for the signal…

Talkin’ over the speakers in the back of that truck
She jumped up and cut me off

There’s a canard that men want you to be demure, look good and keep quiet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Men are clueless without women. We might be able to make some money, but we don’t know how to create a social schedule, we need to be led, we need your help. And what attracts us, after looks, is someone who is alive, who is so excited by life that she can’t help but jump up and take action, who’s a live wire waiting to react.

She was like, oh my God, this is my song
I’ve been listenin’ to the radio all night long
Sittin’ ’round waitin’ for it to come on and here it is

And here we come to the heart of the matter, the exuberance, the excitement, the way the unexpected heart’s desire can send us over the moon (and there’s a cliche for you!)

If you’re over the age of thirty you know exactly what Luke Bryan is singing about, pushing the buttons on the radio and hearing the one song you’ve been waiting for all day. That’s why kids cannot understand the power of radio, because they don’t remember when it was the only thing, the only way to hear it, when music was not free, when everything ever recorded was not at your fingertips.

She was like, come here boy, I wanna dance

Most guys don’t. Dance, that is. But if you ask us, we will, especially if it’s the beginning of a relationship.

And she gave me a kiss
And she said, play it again, play it again, play it again
And I said, play it again, play it again, play it again

We just want to do it over again. Everything. With you. Start with a kiss, graduate to sex, we’re completely enthralled. Women lead, never forget that. And when they do, we doofuses cannot help but be thrilled and play along.

I could try and be cool, tell you my favorite track of the year is something obscure that you’ve never heard of, recorded by someone in Iceland to an Afro-beat by someone who never shows their eyes and dresses totally in black. But that would be a futile effort by me to look cool.

And I’m not cool. A few people are, the rest of us are not. We commit faux pas. We stay stupid stuff. We lie in bed at night replaying the day, wishing we could pray away mistakes. We stumble through the world alone, and then we uncover a record that gets us through.

“Play It Again” serves that purpose for me.

I wish I could tell you I have all the answers. Oh, I’m looking, constantly. But unlike many, I’m willing to separate the wheat from the chaff, I know that in this Internet era usability is everything, that it doesn’t matter what hits you intellectually, but emotionally. Windows Phone ain’t bad, but not good enough to buy. Ditto on Fire Phone. There’s plenty of good out there, but I’m only interested in great.

And Luke Bryan’s “Play It Again” is great.

I heard about his album “Crash My Party” from a friend. An agent in Nashville who issued a caveat, how Luke was decried but “Drink A Beer” delivered.

And it did. Deliver, that is. And yes, we always hate the people at the top. Everyone from Obama to Taylor Swift to Luke Bryan. But unlike so many, Luke Bryan is not beating us over the head, telling us to pay attention, issuing statements how great he is. His music is speaking for itself. The public is embracing it.

And what’s so wrong with the public taking you into your arms?

I feel sorry for those so outside they cannot embrace the mainstream, whose identities depend upon being different. Once upon a time, when society was cohesive, when art was limited, those people had a place in the firmament. But the truth is we now live in a Tower of Babel society and it’s the mainstream moments that keep us together, that connect us, whether they be sports, news or…hit music. We gravitate towards these shared moments. If you refuse to, the joke is on you. With so much info, you’re not only ignored, it’s like you don’t even exist.

So I went to Stagecoach where the Americana man of the moment played to fewer than a hundred people.

But when Luke Bryan took the stage there were 70,000, a sea of people as far as you could see, with their heads in the air, singing along with every song.

Play it again, play it again, play it again.

That’s why we go to the show. To hear the songs we know by heart one more time. We can’t believe it’s really happening, it’s like heads exploding in that SNL skit about Oprah giving away cars. No one else matters in these moments, you bond with the heavens, where your eyes are looking, because this is as good as it gets.

Then I got deeper. I memorized Luke Bryan’s Spring Break EP. I learned what a Yeti was. I tried to play other music, but I couldn’t stop digging deeper. Luke wasn’t brand new, there were old albums I could explore.

I’d ‘a gave that DJ my last dime
If he would have played it just one more time

We’ll do anything to make you happy. Anything.

I was scannin’ like a fool, AM, FM, XM too

This roots the song, I scan XM ALL DAY LONG!

But I stopped real quick when I heard that groove
Man, you should have seen her light up

That’s our goal. To get you to light up.

Tom Petty may have called country music “rock music of the 70’s” but the truth is despite a scorched earth publicity campaign Petty’s last LP was essentially a nonstarter, it had no cultural impact, except for a few hard core fans no one listened to it, it had almost no radio action, few played it again and again and again.

But Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party”… IT WAS A CULTURAL INSTITUTION!

Check not only the sales figures, but the Mediabase chart. Luke Bryan is all over the airwaves. He’s big, he’s successful.

And I’m proud to say I’m a fan.

You can like “Homeland,” “True Detective,” all the TV shows everyone else does. But when it comes to music why do you have to trumpet the obscure? Does it really keep you warm at night? Do you run into a desired love who melts when they hear the same arcane song?

Probably not. That’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

And there’s another cliche. And the reason they’re cliches is they’re true.

And the truth is country music is the most dominant format in America. Because it focuses on the basics. First and foremost the song. Then the singer. And then the humanity. We can relate.

We need more of this in the rest of music.

In the meantime, I’m gonna play it again.

And again.

And again.

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