My questionable taste in music has probably been documented here before, but I stand before you today to confess that in addition to my deep and abiding love for Billy Joel, I also harbour a not-so-secret musical crush on Garth Brooks. His Christmas album has recently been voted Most Likely To Put Me In The Festive Spirit and a number of his songs have pride of place on the List Of Songs I Listen To Loudly In The Car And Sing Along To Even If The Windows Are Down (And Sometimes ESPECIALLY If The Windows Are Down).
If you’ll indulge me for a moment here, I will try to redeem myself a little bit by saying that one of the reasons I really like his music, and that of other country singers, is that country music is more likely to contain an actual story, and I think it’s this narrative I respond to. Before everyone clamours to leave a comment incorporating that old joke about what you get when you play a country song backward, the stories aren’t always about hardship, and I find Garth’s in particular often contain a message of hope, or perseverance, or spiced rum, or other various things of which I am quite fond.
One of my favourite songs of his — Unanswered Prayers — is a bit old school, and undeniably fairly aggressive in its cheesiness, but I love it nonetheless. The basic concept is that he used to be in love with a woman, and he always prayed that he might be with her, but he ended up with his wife instead and it was only upon running into the other woman that he realized that sometimes we end up with exactly what we NEED when God says no to the things we think we WANT. It’s an interesting concept, theologically, and it’s also a sweet one, romantically, and a catchy one, musically, so I give it two thumbs way, way up.
At least I used to, up until a couple of years ago when I read that he has confessed to being repeatedly unfaithful to his wife while out on tour, and that of course she is now his EX-wife, because Trisha Yearwood, country star of her own right and also one of the women he cheated on her with, is now his CURRENT wife. Which, I mean, I GUESS it’s none of my business and doesn’t make the concept of the song any less true and also he probably didn’t write it ANYWAY, but it still kind of wrecked the song for me, and for that I am resentful in a way I probably have no right to be.