It won’t come as a shock to anyone that lots of country music artists and their fans don’t like the president.
However, the country charts have largely shied away from this type of inflammation if we don’t include the short period after 9/11 when it granted a dispensation for those who liked the idea of getting our war on. (Chuck, you can correct me if I’m way off.)
These days there’s no political challenge in Country Music TV’s Top Twenty. And while any analysis of the country audience would come away with the idea that a profoundly anti-Obama song might move significant units, no one with a big reputation has tried to test it.
Darryl Worley’s “Keep the Change” is just such a song, one the singer obviously hopes will set his career on fire. For those unfamiliar with him, Worley’s highest-charting number, the jingo and manipulative “Have You Forgotten,” benefited from the brief country music get-out-of-jail-free card given out after 9/11 to all redneck boors with hearts of gold.
The rest of the time Worley has been a nice-looking mild and well-mannered second-tier country artist, a philanthropic and genuinely decent man who gives money to cancer treatment.
Issued at mid-Summer in advance of an EP yet to be released, “Keep the Change” charted only briefly before being yanked at country radio.
In response, Worley has tried to mount a press campaign in protest of being shut out.
But first, it’s probably good to have a look at the song’s highest exposure on the Internet, at YouTube, where it was attached to an anti-Obama video.
It’s here and since embedding was disabled you’ll need to go out and view it to follow what a bit of this post is about.
It puts all the right red meat — Obama as “joker” taking half of your pile, your guns, smirking as he burns the Constitution, he’s not an American citizen, he’s like Hitler, worship the founding fathers, etc.
Set to what is a frankly great melody, it’s painfully offensive and bigoted in the way of the Tea Party.”This video is for every American who were [sic] doing fine without the change,” reads the intro.
It has also had its audio disarmed by YouTube at least once, perhaps reinstated by being able to just upload new copy of the thing, overwriting any neutered file.
When Worley released it, he and his record company surely knew it would immediately be put to such use. In fact, DD bets they were banking on it.
However, Worley took another step, mounting a futile press campaign to insist his song wasn’t about the president.
Here’s one example, from an on-line country music publication:
“I have gotten into some pretty heated debates already with this song,” Darryl tells The Boot. “Before God, I swear to you, I believe this is a patriotic song. And it’s a patriotic song coming from, I started to say one guy’s perspective, but there were three of us. We all just happened to sit down and come from the same place for this particular song. I might go back and rethink it if I had to do it over again and change the title to something else, because they hear the song title, and they immediately think that we’re ripping and tearing into Obama’s campaign slogans (”Change We Can Believe In” and “Change We Need”). I’ve got tons of friends that voted for Obama, President Obama, and I say that respectively (sic). I went and sat with them and played them the song and asked them how they felt. And 90 percent of them said, ‘The bottom line is the nation is really angry right now, and we don’t think there could ever be a better time in history for your song.’”
“I may be stupid to think I can write and record a song that might be a wake-up call to people and just have people reevaluate,” Worley added, also telling the interviewer the song has been getting a great reception.
Except at country radio.
Another Worley observation:
“One of the things that the country-music industry and radio watches very closely is how something’s selling. And this is the kind of song that will sell some product.”
One of the interesting things about this, besides Worley’s nonsensical and not a little disingenuous insistence that the song is not about the president, is that he’s also protesting not being played on the radio. Of being stiffed by a broadcast industry which destroyed the career of the Dixie Chicks, not for any political song, but for just voicing an opinion and going negative on the President before an audience in England.
And so Worley rather calculatingly seems to believe, perhaps with justification, that if “Keep the Change” — because of its opposite political polarity — sells enough to white and worked up rural people who buy it because it massages their fear and loathing, country music will eventually be forced to play it, anyway.
For a Kalamazoo newspaper, Worley — it is told — “[is] concerned about the state of the nation and the overall emotional well-being of its people.” And that the song “transcends political ties” — which must surely be one of the biggest crocks you’ll read today.
“We (co-writers Jim ‘Moose’ Brown and Phil O’Donnell) pick song titles because we know they’ll stir up a stink,” Worley told the newspaper.
In the few articles Worley has been in the singer has also been careful to mention the honor of playing for the troops and that he’s patriotic.
This may very well be so but it’s also a common sound: The sincere whine of the Tea Party he’s-gonna-take-my-pile type who always sees him or herself as a patriot. And who also feels the compulsion to tell you, or anyone in listening distance, that they are.
Besides, have you ever actually met anyone who tells you straight off they’re unpatriotic and don’t support the troops?
Blocked at radio so far, Worley has taken it to Fox News, appearing on Hannity and Huckabee.
Here’s a video of Worley performing “Keep the Change” on the latter:
Memo to Darryl Worley:
The story that your song is not about the president makes you out to be a bad liar when you appear on Fox News to push it, the network owning the patent on pandering to the anti-Obama crowd.
And no one with any sense believes the crap about Uncle Sam taking fifty percent of Darryl’s money given one look at the website.
“Keep the Change,” in fact, has been an anti-Obama country song title of choice, of sorts, well before Darryl Worley thought of it.
Here are a couple selections from YouTube. Can you list the common characteristics and themes?
DD jumped on the grenades.
“There are even more,” he hissed menacingly.