Posts from 7th October 2002

7
Oct 02

Tim McGraw-Red Rag Top

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 532 views

Abortion is not very popular among New Country’s demographic; when children are involved it’s usually a positive thing, a sign of God’s providence. There are hundreds of ‘well she got pregnant young, but we pulled through songs’ .

That’s why this single is so unusual, it starts out as a typical teenage love song, but by the second verse the lines ‘Life was fast and the world was cruel/We were young and wild/We decided not to have a child/So we did what we did and we tried to forget/ And we swore up and down there would be no regrets’ are heard, yes she had the foetus aborted.

What happens next is remarkable in the ethical and emotional complexity. It doesn’t say that abortion is right or wrong, it’s a story song. They do feel regret, and sorrow and mourning over lost possibilities — but I think that is more common then most pro choice folks recognize. They also break up- this is not a song like Two Sparrows in a Hurricane- love is not the only thing that is required to make a relationship work, and knocked up seventeen year olds don’t make great wives (and the seventeen year old men who got them there don’t make great husbands).

There is already controversy and anger over the song, especially in the conservative south, where this kind of music is the most popular- but message songs often talked about things before anyone else did, and provided a method for social change. This song will be like Loretta Lynn’s The Pill or Tammy Wynette’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E or even Garth Brooks Thunder Rolls.