Alan Jackson
Talking Repair Man Blues.

Alan Jackson is the best example of countryist, a historically minded obsession with purity mars the rest of his music and this is the latest example, after examples like Gone Country (which, even with the huge sales, seems horribly outdated), Chasing that Neon Rainbow (which is why the j-pop cover has a certain perverse genius), and Murder on Music Row (with George Strait, a fellow purist). The song in question is a talking blues and he?s been doing story songs like that, even if he isn’t talking about what happens when pop starts taking over Nashville.

This one’s weird though, it’s also a template for making the perfect country song, and a mockery of everyone who thinks they can do it. It is a mechanical paean to the power of a good hook and that, said it sounds it. No real energy, no rambunctious joy?just a barely disguised fuck you.

Alright, what happens here is that Alan Jackson brings his work to a mechanic, who told poor Alan that his car repairs would take nine hundred bucks, after spending the entire verse cataloging everything that could be wrong with his car?the chorus starts and it’s supposed to be a sing-along, but it’s sort of anemic, and he harmonica is perfunctory.

The mechanic sings?and then Alan Jackson talks about how badly written the song is, about too many adverbs and verbs that are too weak, well that works, that’s easy writing advice if you are bob Dylan or Britney Spears. Where it gets weir ,are the next lines. The most technical explicit discussion of the actual transcribing and writing of music I have ever encountered, it’s studio notes from the guitar gnomes of Nashville made public.

Do you think that anyone who listens to country knows what ?it?s got so many dotted eighth notes in it? or the importance of ?50 beats per minute? or how many ?augmented chords? are too much. He then charges the mechanic a hundred bucks more then the car?proving to the world that mechanical, technical craft is needed and a form of skilled labour, like carpentry or being a rigpig?something that blue collar, but just a little more special, a hundred bucks more special, really. Smarmy shit all around, and not as humble as he needs to be.