Sunday, July 17, 2016

Listening to George, part 8

If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project. This post will cover the years 2000-2001.

In 2000, he released two albums. A greatest hits album called Latest, Greatest, Straitest Hits. It featured two new songs: "The Best Day," which became a #1, and, a duet with Alan Jackson called "Murder on Music Row."

"The Best Day" is a great little song about a father and son. The son is telling his dad--once in each of the verses--that this day was the BEST day of his life. The first 'best day' is a camping trip, the second 'best day' is receiving a classic car to restore with his dad, the third 'best day' is the son's wedding day.

"Murder on Music Row"  is a song not without some controversy. I think it's an interesting story for a song.

First sentence: Nobody saw him running from sixteenth avenue.

Premise/plot:  A murder has been committed. The victim? country music. The evidence is put forth in the chorus:
For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play,
But drums and rock 'n roll guitars are mixed up in your face.
Old Hank wouldn't have a chance on today's radio
Since they committed murder down on music row.
Essentially the message is that 'real' country music--the traditional stuff--has been replaced ON THE RADIO with something calling itself country, but, not really quite country. You can imagine why this might be controversial!!!

The song begs the question: what IS country music? And who decides what is country and what isn't?

My thoughts: I really like this one. I think if you stay focused on the fact that it is talking about the RADIO--what gets played, what gets air time, what becomes popular--then it works as a fair criticism showing that radios do tend to play a narrow selection of artists and songs. Of course, traditional radio isn't the only way to enjoy music. And with 'new' technology like Pandora and YouTube and the like, you can find plenty of country music with steel guitars and fiddles!

George Strait and Alan Jackson weren't the ones to first record the song. Here are the original singers performing it live. And yet another version.

The second album George Strait released in 2000 was his twentieth, it's self-titled: GEORGE STRAIT. It includes three songs that would become hit singles: "Go On," "Don't Make Me Come Over There and Love You," and "If You Can Do Anything Else."

It also includes: "Looking Out My Window Through the Pain," "If It's Going To Rain," "Home Improvement," "The Night's Just Right for Love," "You're Stronger Than Me," "Which Side of the Glass," and "She Took The Wind from His Sails."

"Go On" is a GREAT conversation song. Another Strait song that captures half a conversation is The Chair. The 'premise' of this one is that two people are connecting over the fact that they've both been hurt and wronged in love.
Our conversation won't change nothing,
But it's sure nice to talk
With somebody whose been cut of
The same old cloth
You know how you said happiness can't be found looking back
If you don't mind maybe we can talk a little more about that.
"Don't Make Me Come Over There and Love You" is a fast and flirty number that I think is very irresistible.
My hearts been on a long vacation
And now its beating like a Cha-Cha-Cha
Don't make me come over there and love you
'Cause I will right now
This album has a couple of sad songs on it: "Looking Out My Window Through the Pain," "If It's Gonna Rain," "Which Side of the Glass," "She Took the Wind From His Sails," and "You're Stronger Than Me." That is actually MORE than a couple, isn't it?! If you want proof that 'traditional' country music was still very much alive even if not getting radio time, give "You're Stronger Than Me," a listen.

I really LOVE the song "The Night's Just Right For Love."
I don't mind the thought of growing old
But I don't Want to lose my sense of humor
I'm okay as long as I can laugh
I don't care if everything goes wrong
Even if it's only for awhile
I'm alright if I can see you smile
You're an old-fashioned girl at home in the modern world
The night's just right for love
The Road Less Traveled is George Strait's twenty-first album. The album has ten songs. It features three hit singles: "Run," "Living and Living Well," "She'll Leave You With A Smile."

Other songs on the album include: "Stars on the Water," "The Real Thing," "Don't Tell Me You're Not In Love," "The Road Less Traveled," "The Middle of Nowhere," "Good Time Charley's," and "My Life's Been Grand."

I really do not care for "Stars on the Water." George Strait--whether recording songs that are fast or slow--seems to pick songs that are either a) great to dance to b) great to sing along with or c) both! "The Road Less Traveled" definitely breaks with what I consider to be George Strait's strengths.

"Good Time Charley's" is a great little dance-party number. Only in a country song, could you sing directions and have it work.
Two miles from town 'cross the railroad track
Turn right at the light and park in the back
You're always welcome, don't forget to drop in
Old Good Time Charley's, any time you can
But without a doubt my FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE track from this album is "Don't Tell Me You're Not In Love." I don't know WHY this song was not a single!!! I love this one so much. I love the melody. I love the lyrics. It's just so perfectly-perfect.
I know you're ready, you show all the signs
Your eyes sparkle oh how they shine
But you keep saying
You can't take another heartache
The way you hold me, the way that you move
Your feelings keep showing through
You can't hide it
It's written all over your face
Don't tell me you're not in love
When your heart beats like it does
Your trembling body tells on you
Each time we touch
You can tell me you're afraid
I am too and that's okay
I got eyes, I can see
Baby don't tell me you're not in love
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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