In the never-ending effort to organize my iTunes music library (I have over 5,000 files in there at the moment), I went through a few of my longer playlists today and broke them down into smaller more homogenous groups. One of those playlists is now called “Like Country Fun.”
(If my playlist naming ability is any indication, I have a ways to go on this whole writer’s journey…I also have a “Like Rock Rap” category. Figure that one out…)
Now, I realize a lot of people are not country music fans, which is fine. To each their own.
I am. And I think one of the reasons I like country music as much as I do is because they’re so darned clever with their lyrics. Most of the songs that have made me laugh over the years (that weren’t written for preschoolers) are country songs.
Think the classic ‘A Boy Name Sue’ by Johnny Cash.
Or, the one that prompted me to write this post today: ‘Fish’ by Craig Campbell.
Here’s how it starts:
“The first time we did it I was scared to death…
She snuck out in that cotton dress
Jumped on in and we drove to the lake
Put her hand on my knee and said I can’t wait…
I had everything we needed in the bed of my truck
Turns out my baby loves to…”
Now, if your mind is anything like mine, you’re trying to make that next word rhyme with the line before. But, no. This is country music we’re talking about. Here’s the next line:
FISH! She wants to do it all the time
Early in the morning and in the middle of the night
The whole song’s like that. Cracks me up every time I hear it. Even sent it to a buddy of mine who loves to fish all the time. (He refers to his wife as a fishing widow. I’m sure she refers to him by a few more colorful names when he’s nowhere to be found ’cause he’s out fishing.)
Here’s another good one: Dierks Bentley “How Am I Doin'”:
Again, the song kind of flips your initial expectations. In this one the guy’s crying when “he thinks of how it used to be” but it’s “tears of joy” that he got away from a crap relationship. (Note: The video’s a little distracting if you’re looking to listen to the lyrics, but I’m trying to be good about using each artist’s official video.)
(Another discussion for another day…)
And here’s one more for the road (because I’m kind of enjoying the fact that I figured out how to embed videos, lazy person that I am that didn’t bother to try for the last year).
Gretchen Wilson, “If You Want a Mother”:
(Not sure how that one’s gonna work – it’s a My Space link! Couldn’t find an official video on youtube and I’m still leery of copyright issues, etc…)
So, what does funny country music have to do with writing? Well, in a lot of ways country songs are short stories. So, if you’re trying for humor in your writing, which I seem to do, but not necessarily well, I think you can learn something from country music. It’s a different medium, obviously, but related.
A country song has to catch someone’s attention and entertain them for three minutes. Same as a flash fiction story. Writers don’t have cool riffs they can use, but a lot of music listeners are actually lyric fans, so if there aren’t great words behind a song they won’t listen to it.
And, since I really didn’t do a good job of tying this back to writing, here’s a post about humorous writing from PCW, An elf, a dwarf, and an Irishman walk into a bar…
In my opinion, there’s a place for humor in any story, just like there’s a place for humor in every life.