Andy Griggs – “Can I Get An Amen?”

Janet Goodman | December 3rd, 2010

Andy GriggsSongwriters: Andy Griggs, Andrew Scott Wills, Chad Tyler

It’s inevitable that social hot-button topics seep into our musical landscape. In the 30’s, Woody Guthrie inspired future generations of folk artists to speak out for the oppressed. Sixties Anti-War and Civil Rights movements influenced rock music that became ever-present anthems for baby boomers. Country music has had a rich roster of artists speaking out against injustices, thumbing noses at the establishment and voicing strong opinions that strike a chord with their listeners: Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Loretta Lynn, to name a few. Southern rockers like Hank Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Van Zant have built their reputations on taking the rebel stance on stage.

Country artist Andy Griggs, better known for his sensitive ballads “She’s More” and “You Won’t Ever Be Lonely,” has not been political…until now. He’s making a comeback statement in a very big way by releasing his first single since 2009 – the controversial, southern rock rant “Can I Get An Amen?” Reinventing himself as a fed-up, card-carrying member of the NRA, Griggs takes “them” all on, from non-english speaking Americans, to liberals, to separation-of-church-and-state-ers, to welfare recipients. One gets the feeling that, if he could have gotten away with a six-minute song at radio, he would’ve have added more targets to his list.

The lyrics start out innocent enough, giving us a look at the staples of southern life, but Griggs soon gets his Irish up as he nears the chorus: “If the NRA ran the USA and we had some good ol’ boys as congressmen/They’d make the White House understand/That there’s a whole lot more of us than them/Can I get an amen?

What’s perhaps more unsettling than nutty protest lines like these is that this song was presented at a political rally for Alaskan Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, and became his theme song of sorts (Miller eventually lost to Republican write-in incumbent Lisa Murkowski, although Miller has now sued over election results). Lines like “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me not to spank my kids/’Cause I got the Ten Commandments to tell me how to live/And not Oprah, Fox or CNN” feed into the Tea Party hysteria that has been washing over the nation the last year and a half, reflecting that group’s polarizing agenda rather than just southern lifestyle. It’s interesting, yet puzzling, why Griggs added conservative-based Fox News to his missive, since that cable station gives a platform to many views shared in his song.

One-time minister Griggs’ new persona might be taking political opinion in song to a new distasteful level of pulpit-posturing for a country artist when he sings, “And if you got a problem with our kind/Then you can kiss us where the sun don’t shine/Can I get an amen?” Each time he repeats the refrain, he hopes he’s singing to the choir, provoking, even fanning the flames of their anger. No surprise that the production here includes background singers dutifully answering his question with a rousing “Amen.”

Even though this song teeters toward crossing the line of hate speech, its craft stands tall as an example of solid songwriting, with fresh rhymes, conversational phrasing and driving rhythm. Griggs’ vocal richness grabs you whether you want to listen or not; he’s in total command of this material, and his distinctive soulful strength is undeniable. Fiery electric guitars and a wailing harmonica add substance to his powerful return to radio that takes an unlikely rebel-politic stance, sounding more like John Birch incitation than Mr.–Smith-Goes-to-Washington protest.

Thumbs Down

  1. Ben Foster
    December 3, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Its craft stands tall as an example of solid songwriting… but it gets thumbs down?

  2. Leon
    December 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I think I detect a little hysteria on the part of the reviewer.

  3. PaulaW
    December 3, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I was thinking the exact same thing Ben.

    its craft stands tall as an example of solid songwriting, with fresh rhymes, conversational phrasing and driving rhythm. Griggs’ vocal richness grabs you whether you want to listen or not; he’s in total command of this material, and his distinctive soulful strength is undeniable.

  4. Ben Foster
    December 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I just don’t quite understand the point here. Is it good, or is it not good? I can’t quite pinpoint the reasons for it getting a thumbs-down, since the review seemed mostly positive, particularly toward the end.

  5. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

    She says it comes close to being hate speech; that’s not positive.

  6. Kelly
    December 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Pure, predictable and desperate idiocy.

    Andy, I got a problem with “your kind”: Your kind being a pandering ass-hat, that is.

  7. Alisha
    December 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I think the reviewer realizes it is a good song, but she obviously has left-wing political views and it seems she is letting her views get in the way of objectively reviewing this particular song.

    The lyrics say nothing more than hit songs by Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard have already said before him. The lyrics seem to be taking a stand for a way of life that he’s proud of, not some sort of political agenda, regardless of who chooses to use the song in their political campaigns. After all, Brooks & Dunn’s “Only In America” was used in both Democratic and Republican campaigns after it was released.

  8. Ben Foster
    December 3, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I didn’t say that “hate speech” remark was positive; I said that the review itself was “mostly” positive (not “completely”), particularly toward the end. Especially when a review’s closing comments are positive, which in this case they were, I often expect to see a thumbs up.

  9. Savrola
    December 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

    The reviewer is evidently bothered by the radicalism of Grigg’s views.

    Because singing about the right to exist, wanting to be left alone is very radical, indeed in these totalitarian times.

    Every group and demographic is entitled to a voice and a chance to air their opinions.

    Except this one, which is subjected to unbridled hostility.

    The song may be pretty average, like so many of those Bocephus anthems, back in the day, “Coalition to Abolish Coalitions,” anyone?

    That’s the ‘dark side’ of male country, of course, from Hank Jr. on the right to Steve Earle on the left.

    They have ‘opinions’ on matters other than angels, beer, vanilla icecream and American Saturday nights

  10. Thomas
    December 3, 2010 at 11:18 am

    …travis tritt sang that song but he called it: “put some drive in your country”

    amen.

  11. Ben Foster
    December 3, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I highly doubt that Janet’s review was influenced by political views.

  12. Mike Parker
    December 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

    For some reason, when I hear the all male chorus yell “amen,” I can’t help thinking a parody called “gay men” would practically write itself.

  13. stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

    But if an artist on the right has to resort of elements of hate speech to get his views across, has he written a good song?

  14. Rick
    December 3, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Ben Foster said: “I highly doubt that Janet’s review was influenced by political views.” Ben, that is the most clueless thing I’ve read all week. Even more so the Eddie Montgomery’s “my wife is divorcing me because I’ve got cancer” tweets. Janet’s personal political hostility towards the message of this song is the review.

    I give this song a big thumbs up just on the grounds it infuriates Obamavoter lefties like Kelly. Anything that can make Kelly froth at the mouth like this is okay in my book. And besides, this song is better than 95% of the Red Dirt crap currently out there anyway…

    Savrola, please post here more often! This blog is dominated by poltically correct liberal drone bloggers and participants, and I get tuckered out being the only one to consistently ridicule their political “useful idiocy”! And besides you write a hell of a lot better than I do! (lol)

  15. stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    So basically you love of the song has nothing to do with its merits?

  16. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 11:58 am

    @Ben Foster Dude. She says it treads close to hate speech. That’s not a trivial criticism, it’s a pretty profound one, and it’s a political one, too – and it can be a legitimate one, too. A review of, say, The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion that didn’t mention its anti-semitism or take it into account in giving it the thumbs up or thumbs down wouldn’t, in my opinion, be a very responsible one. I’m *not* saying that’s the case with this song, to which I haven’t listened yet, just talking about what Janet’s said.

  17. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    And for the record, I’m generally an Andy Griggs fan.

  18. CMW
    December 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    As much as I don’t partake of the worldview outlined by the song, I’m not sure I see it teetering toward hate speech. Reminds me of the stuff Hank Jr. has been doing for ages. The objection I’d raise is that I just don’t think it’s a very well-written song – and since Griggs has shown a strong ear for well-written singles in the past, this comes as a disappointment. I think he may have allowed his philosophical message to cloud his musical judgment in this case.

  19. Ben Foster
    December 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    @Rick
    Such a remark appears clueless only to one who has an inflated view of his own opinion.

    @Jon
    It still appears to me that the review’s positive comments outweighed the negative. You’ve made your point; it’s clear that we perceived the review differently. You are using “dude” only as a derogatory nickname to give an air of superiority, and I expect you stop. There’s no reason why you can’t make your point in a dignified manner.

  20. Cutting the Treacle
    December 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Reviewer: “Even though this song teeters toward crossing the line of hate speech”

    me: that is the single stupidest thing i have read in a long time. but what can you expect when a review like this teeters toward crossing the line of hate speech?

  21. Confucious
    December 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    @ Cutting the Treacle

    Huh?

  22. BAMBI
    December 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    These song is so political there is no way to get past the lyrics if you’re not of the same political mind. Actually it’s so political I wouldn’t like it even if I did buy into it’s politics. I don’t want to hear propaganda for the NRA, or PETA, or anything else for that matter.

    Moreover, I happen to agree with Ms. Goodman that lines like “That there’s a whole lot more of us than them” sound a lot like hate speech.

    This shouldn’t be an issue, but someone is inevitable going disclaim my opinion by saying that i’m some kind of rabid liberal or something, so i’ll say right now I did not vote for Obama. But if I really wanted to talk politics, I’d do it in some other more revelent venue.

    And please don’t compare this to songs like “Fightin’ Side Of Me”, or even Toby’s boot in your ass spectacular. Those songs express conservative values, but aren’t so overtly political, nor would I catagorize them as propaganda so much as this one.

    If you share the exact political view expressed in this song’s lyrics, you might love it and adopt it as your anthem. As for me, I’ll skip it.

  23. Michael A.
    December 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Well said, Bambi.

  24. Noeller
    December 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    the fact that someone can actually get away with writing and recording a song like this is scary. The fact that there are radio stations in the US who would actually PLAY something as inciting as this, makes me weep for humanity.

    Someone help us if people who think this way actually get control of the free world (again…)

  25. Confessor
    December 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I share the reviewer’s discomfort with the overtly conservative political message in the song, and I agree with her that its laundry list of talking points is at times wrongheaded, ignorant, and transparently pandering… but I would have appreciated if her disagreement had not taken so much space in the review, and at least had not been so overreaching as to label it “hate speech”.

    And I may be incorrect here, but the sudden shift in the tone of her review (and the extent to which her observations were not reflected in the song’s mediocre musical quality ) near the end suggests to me that she was actively searching for redeeming characteristics.

    Perhaps this song should have been handed to another reviewer, or perhaps a consultation among all of the 9513 reviewers (whose opinion I generally trust) might have produced the *entirely* reasonable conclusion that conservative harangues are better confined to talk radio, and the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and that dude who used to be on Babylon 5.

    I find this song personally disappointing, as a liberal and an agnostic, since I was quite taken with the hopeful (even though it is a hope I do not share), non-sectarian and non-judgmental lyrics of one of his previous singles, “If Heaven”.

  26. stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I don’t mind when a song is overtly conservative, unless is reaches “This Ain’t No Rag Its a Flag” levels of bad. However, it is REALLY hard not to see this as racist:
    and we had some good ol’ boys as congressmen/They’d make the White House understand

  27. stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    And, I might add, a serious underestimation of Good Old Boys.

    Also, aren’t most senators old white guys? This kind of smacks of people who sing about the lack of military experience in the Congress. Would Senator Byrd have been enough of a Good Old Boy for Griggs?

  28. nm
    December 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Most of the time, there are a whole lot more people who have voted in favor of whoever is living in the White House than against whoever it is. (At least, arithmetically; there are enough people voting in US presidential elections that even when the winning percentage is small the difference in vote totals is huge.) The guy (so far they’ve all been guys) in the White House is there because there are a whole lot more people on his side of the issues than not. So that line of the song is … odd.

  29. stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Actually, at any given point the majority of Americans (usually a little over 40%) didn’t vote for anyone. If someone really wanted to write a song that had it finger on the pulse of the majority of Americans political views it would be called “Eh.”

  30. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    This song is embarrassingly terrible.

  31. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I think Janet was trying to be generous with the last paragraph. It doesn’t even sound good on a sonic or lyrical level…not to mention that Griggs usually has a good voice, but sounds pretty bad on this track.

  32. Brady Vercher
    December 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I think anyone that sees this as anything more than pandering and scatterbrained is reading way too far. Angry and defiant? Sure. Hateful and racist? I’m not buying it–and I get tired of those labels being thrown around to marginalize discordant views.

  33. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I think people would have been less confused by the thumbs down rating if the positive part had been placed at the beginning or the middle rather than concluding with it. I am surprised that anyone would think that it was a positive review though. I don’t think that it’s necessarily hate speech, but I do think that it’s pandering, ignorant and completely beneath Griggs’ talent. It sounds shamefully desperate for him, or anyone, to sing.

  34. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    the majority of Americans (usually a little over 40%)

    *facepalm*

  35. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    “Pandering” implies, at least to me, a certain degree of cynicism (or at least detachment) on the part of the panderer that I don’t see here. I have no problem believing that the song generally presents Griggs’ worldview, and the worldview of a lot of other people. I also think that “scatterbrained” gives it more credit than it deserves; I don’t think it teeters on the line of being hate speech, but at best it teeters on the line of being utterly incoherent. And in that respect, as well as some others, it is notably different from Cash and Haggard, though not so much from Hank Jr.

  36. Kelly
    December 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I do see it as pandering, as it’s easy to assume that the people in which Grigg’s praises as the backbone of our country will fervently appreciate this song, regardless of whether they actually enjoy any other part of the song (see: Rick’s predictably transparent comment above). I went to a show on night where the out of town band’s singer kept making Dallas Cowboys references to the Dallas crowd, knowing he would get a cheer when his music wasnt making it happen. It was a no-brainer, and that made it pandering.

    Same goes for a liberally-programmed rally where Jon Stewart shouts out predictable bon mots that he knows will meet with hearty applause. It’s not all bad, it is what is though, and it’s kind of funny that the “hillbilly’s and rednecks” (Grigg’s words, not mine) being pandered to likely don’t care that they are being played as easy-to-peg simps.

  37. ...
    December 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    “Have You Forgotten” 2010. Absolutely disgusting song from an obviously desperate performer looking to gain any semblance of relevance and chart success. Another example of lowest common denominator bullcrap that passes for intelligent songwriting these days in country music . I hope that radio rightfully ignores this song as it did with the Buddy Jewell monstrosity about illegal immigration.

  38. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    It was a no-brainer, and that made it pandering.

    But “pandering” and “no-brainer” aren’t at all synonymous.

    @Ben Foster Fair enough on the “dude” thing. But c’mon; this:

    I highly doubt that Janet’s review was influenced by political views.

    It *says* it’s influenced by political views. That’s what the stuff about “hate speech” and “John Birch” is all about, is politics. What I highly doubt is that anyone could convince me that the song is well-crafted; I don’t see that at all. What it is, is heartfelt in its politics. And while you can assess the song without dealing with its politics, if politics are essential to the song – and here they obviously are – then they’re fair game for a listener’s consideration, even if that listener is writing a review. When politics are integral to a song, you’re not doing anyone a favor by tiptoeing past them.

  39. Kelly
    December 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Jon – that may be, but they are the same in this case, to me at least, and in many other cases they are.

  40. Cutting the Treacle
    December 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Noeller: “the fact that someone can actually get away with writing and recording a song like this is scary”

    me: what a stupid thing for you to write. the fact that someone can actually get away with writing and recording a song like this is an affirmation of a first amendment right to write and record a song like this. that’s a good thing. if you don’t like it, boycott the singer, the label and any radio station that plays it. but to suggest that someone should be deprived of his first amendment rights, to borrow a phrase from our reviewer, borders on hate speech.

    [Edited: We don’t honor the right to call people names around here.]

  41. Adam
    December 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I’ll start off by saying, I’m not much of an Andy Griggs fan.

    But I’m confused with the review altogether because it starts with a historical overview of artists “sticking it to the man” including people we call “greats” and throws Mr. Griggs into the mix. It then goes on to say the song is well-written (which I would agree with) and that it was then played at a Tea Party rally becoming a “theme-song.” So what you’re telling me is that Mr. Griggs wrote a song, played it at a rally of people who get it, and it was apparently well-received. Who cares if its political, he’s communicating with his audience. And then it gets a thumbs down? Strange.

    More power to you Mr. Griggs.

  42. the pistolero
    December 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I’ll admit that by and large I agree with the general political thrust of the song. But it strikes me as opportunistic political pandering. When did Andy Griggs have his last big hit? (You might even call it “pulling a Darryl Worley.” I’d say that a conservative/libertarian’s review would be interesting to read in contrast to this one, but on second thought I’d hope that we could do better than to give a song a positive review just because we might agree with the politics of it.

  43. Kyle
    December 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I hate that otherwise great artists like Worley and Griggs stoop to these pandering songs. They’re just dumb. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with conservatism, but this song doesn’t present it in an intelligent, reasonable way whatsoever.

    I suppose a song can be technically well-written but filled with stupid content, which is what I assume the reviewer meant. Bobby Braddock could conversationally write a song about the desk I’m sitting at with interesting wordplay, but that doesn’t mean it would be a good song.

  44. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Who cares if its political, he’s communicating with his audience. And then it gets a thumbs down? Strange.

    It’s not strange if you think what’s being communicated to the audience is noxious.

  45. Stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Who cares if its political, he’s communicating with his audience. And then it gets a thumbs down? Strange

    If it were good it could communicate beyond the audience of conservatives.

  46. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    If it were good it could communicate beyond the audience of conservatives.

    *facepalm*

  47. Cutting the Treacle
    December 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Editor: “Edited: We don’t honor the right to call people names around here.”

    me: who’s calling names? calling noeller an “idiot” was a diagnosis, as i don’t know any other description that fits someone who questions why an artist should be allowed to record and release a song.

  48. Noeller
    December 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I’m not averse to name-calling and take no offense. I maintain, though, that you Americans can hide behind your 1st amendment a lot, but it’s no excuse for writing something so inane (and, more importantly, toxic).

    Again, my concern is moreso that someone who actually believes what this song is saying might actually become leader of the western world (…again…)

  49. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    It is kind of funny to see someone fulminating about the First Amendment as though it were part of some socialistical one world government constitution that we all live under. And Noeller didn’t question why an artist should be allowed to record and release a song anyway.

  50. Cutting the Treacle
    December 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Noeller: “I maintain, though, that you Americans can hide behind your 1st amendment a lot, but it’s no excuse for writing something so inane (and, more importantly, toxic).”

    me: who cares if someone writes something inane? you just did, and i don’t see why anyone should question why you should have the right to do so? it’s not canada, noeller. we are (not yet at least) hauled before government panels because of what we write or say.

    Jon: . . .

    me: ok

  51. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    it’s not canada, noeller. we are (not yet at least) hauled before government panels because of what we write or say.

    Unless it’s against the law.

  52. Stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Facepalm all you want, Jon. The Smothers Brothers could appreciate 1960’s Merle Haggard. Emmylou Harris can appreciate Billy Joe Shaver. I know a good many conservatives that loved V For Vendetta, which featured a clownish impression of Sean Hannity and was widely regarded as a critique of Bush. Oliver Stone created a sympathic picture of George W. Bush. Citizens of all stripes adore the radically liberal To Kill a Mockingbird.

    If you can only preach to the converted, you don’t have much of a sermon. Pat Robertson could only speak to conservative Christians. Billy Graham, Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul could speak to athiests.

  53. Jon
    December 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    If you can only preach to the converted, you don’t have much of a sermon.

    Maybe so, but making art isn’t preaching, songs aren’t sermons, and a song, or indeed any work of art – or any sermon, for that matter – doesn’t have to appeal to everyone to be good. As you’ve frequently argued in other contexts.

  54. Devin
    December 3, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I’ll be honest, I don’t have anything to base this song off of other than what I read in the review. But I keep hearing all this talk about “pandering”. Why can’t someone write a song about their political beliefs without it being called pandering? It’s what they believe, and they are saying it just as much for their own benefit as anyone else. If an artist came out with a song firmly rooted in the political left, would it still be pandering? Just because a majority of the country fan base would consider themselves conservative doesn’t mean that a conservative leaning song is pandering. That’s just unfair.

    Whether it has a place on radio or not is another story. But from what you mentioned in the review, nothing about his views seem all that unreasonable. Some people have brash opinions, but it doesn’t make them a mean, hateful person.

    I don’t doubt this song probably falls short in many ways, according to your review, but it’s unfair to judge it on the merits of the content rather than the content itself (if that makes sense).

  55. Razor X
    December 3, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I know a good many conservatives that loved V For Vendetta, which featured a clownish impression of Sean Hannity and was widely regarded as a critique of Bush.

    V for Vendetta is based on a series of graphic novels that were published in the 1980s.

  56. the pistolero
    December 3, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Just because a majority of the country fan base would consider themselves conservative doesn’t mean that a conservative leaning song is pandering.

    I agree, but again, when it’s coming from an artist who hasn’t had a hit record in a few years it could reasonably be considered pandering.

  57. Stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Razor: And Allan Moore disavowed the film version.

  58. Stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Jon: No, but if someone has to agree with the ideals of your song to like it, that’s not art. That’s propoganda.

    Devin: People can write a song that conveys a political message without pandering. Here is one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBtQcZx9gAo

  59. Stormy
    December 3, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    And before anyone jumps on that, this is an example of pandering:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG8ZUaLACZ8&feature=&p=63CB70C51B2F2360&index=0&playnext=1
    I like this song, but you pretty much have to agree with the message to think it well written.

  60. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I think it’s pandering when it’s purposefully trying to hit every point that might rouse people’s ire or get them to pump a fist. I think it’s pandering when it seems written for the purpose of becoming a theme song or platform-type song. I think it’s pandering when it strings together a bunch of one-dimensional ideas to elicit thunderous “amens.”

  61. luckyoldsun
    December 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    The song is garbage and Griggs is a lowlife.

    It’s not that I’m closed-minded politically. I love Hank Jr. I may not agree with “A Country Boy Can Survive” but it’s well written and well sung and is not hateful. “If The South Woulda Won” is done with such obvious good humor that it’s not offensive.

    I like Toby Keith, even though I thought “Beer For My Horses” went over the line in seeming to advocate lynching.

    But Griggs is just a hack who stole Rhett Akins’ “Kiss My Country Ass” and managed to turn that borderline amusing song into a work of pure hate.

    “And if you got a problem with our kind/Then you can kiss us where the sun don’t shine”

    C’mon, that’s a pure rip-off of Akins.

    Griggs, to me is no different from the gangsta rappers who advocate all sorts of criminal activity. I don’t listen to them and I will never listen to him.

  62. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    PS. I agree that both sides are totally guilty of writing songs that pander to their chosen base.

  63. Jon
    December 4, 2010 at 7:14 am

    “Pandering” is one of those terms, like “selling out,” that speaks to intent; it’s only honestly applicable where you have actual insight into purpose and motive. And an inference from nothing more than the action itself is not an insight.

    @luckyoldsun. Are you under the impression that Rhett Akins coined the phrase “kiss me where the sun don’t shine?!”

    Jon: No, but if someone has to agree with the ideals of your song to like it, that’s not art. That’s propoganda.

    Why? And why do you think that art and propaganda are mutually exclusive categories?

  64. WAYNOE
    December 4, 2010 at 7:35 am

    This so-called review is self-revealing. We all know, or should, that it is the subject matter that the writer does not like. Typical of reviews here. Many of you are correct in that she implicates herself by what she pens.

    Griggs does not reinvent himself as anyone who knows about him understands what he says in the song is what he believes.

    What this writer says speaks against her bias more than any of our comments.

    By the way, Griggs has always been a good vocalist. Hurray for him.

    Hate speach? Good grief! Go hob-nob with Pelosi Ms. Janet.

  65. Stormy
    December 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Griggs, to me is no different from the gangsta rappers who advocate all sorts of criminal activity. I don’t listen to them and I will never listen to him

    Except that many Gangsta rappers actually lived through the voilence in their songs. Andy Griggs hasn’t actualy had any rights stripped away by the Obama’s.

  66. Ace
    December 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I just about fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard when I read “Even though this song teeters toward crossing the line of hate speech”.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Hate speech? All that means is you are deviating from liberal or neoconservative orthodoxy.

    When did country music fans become such paragons of political correctness? Ya’ll should go listen to lady gaga instead. ;)

  67. Ben Foster
    December 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Regardless of what point the song is trying to get across, I think the important thing for a reviewer to consider is how the artist goes about making his point. It was likely the “nutty protest lines” (which were indeed nutty) that did this song in more than anything. At any rate, I don’t think any reviewer bias accusations are warranted. Besides, Janet did find a few points on which to commend the song.

  68. Ace
    December 4, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Yes, but it’s the rather patronizing righteous liberal undertones that run through her review that I find most annoying. Such as making the comparison to the John Birch Society and essentially ridiculing the very mainstream grievances of traditional, “red state” Americans as kooky and hateful. Ms. Goodman could of written a perfectly good review without this taking this tone.

  69. Ben Foster
    December 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Well, I can see where you’re coming from there.

  70. Paul W Dennis
    December 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Another sideways pointed thumb from me. It’s not a great song but I don’t think it’s terrible either. The lyrics are a bit trite, but what’s new about that ? The song is well sung and it is not one that would have me changing stations if it came on.

    Verbiage about gangstas and Ms Goodman’s line about “… this song teeters toward crossing the line of hate speech…” are simply hot air.

  71. WAYNOE
    December 4, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Stormy,

    Your commens are very much beneath you on this.

  72. Jon
    December 4, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I think the important thing for a reviewer to consider is how the artist goes about making his point.

    “it’s not my place to evaluate Mr. Goebbels’ assertion that Jews are the source of the world’s evils and must be butchered by the millions, but his reliance on trite phrases and his failure to illustrate his point with vivid, well-written scenes that *show* rather than *tell* undercut the otherwise well-crafted writing here.”

    That would be your idea of a good review?

  73. Ben Foster
    December 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Well, I’ve never heard a country song about Jews being the source of the world’s evils, but I’m sure you’d be just the one to review it, Jon.

  74. Cutting the Treacle
    December 4, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Ben Foster: “I’ve never heard a country song about Jews being the source of the world’s evils, but I’m sure you’d be just the one to review it, Jon.”

    me: that’s a neat little take-down

  75. Jon
    December 4, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Mister Foster, if you haven’t heard of something, you might want to consider the possibility that that might be more a function of your youth and degree of education than a function of the world and all its variety. If you’re interested in when and where and how bigotry has been expressed in country music recordings, there are easy ways to educate yourself on the subject. And yes, I’m fairly certain I’d do a better job of reviewing such songs than would someone who thinks that a reviewer should ignore the content of the work being reviewed and only address its form. In fact, I’d probably do better reviewing any kind of song than would a reviewer who had such a misshapen view of his or her role.

  76. Barry Mazor
    December 4, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Ben, that would simply make you lucky. There are country songs exactly like that among the old Klan-sponsored records DJs used to get in the mail unsolicited. Wouldn’t exactly call them major label.

    There’s enough hateful tripe of all sorts to please any variety of hater. I trust that we won’t need to stir those waters around here.

  77. Ben Foster
    December 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I don’t mind a friendly debate, but I’m not trying to make waves or rankle anyone, and I do not pretend to possess superior country music knowledge to that of others who are commenting here. The only point I was trying to make was that I didn’t think we should accuse Janet of coloring her review with political bias. I respect all of the writers at the 9513, and I wouldn’t make that accusation against any of them. The debate took some strange turns, and I admit there are some things I would now say differently. But at this point, I’ve said all I needed to say and more.

  78. Jon
    December 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    The only point I was trying to make was that I didn’t think we should accuse Janet of coloring her review with political bias.

    I understand that, but for one thing, Janet made it perfectly clear that her review *was* colored with political “bias” – that is, it reflects her belief that what the song preaches and the way that it preaches it is divisive. For another – and in my opinion, this is the more important point – there’s nothing wrong with addressing politics in a song that makes politics its central point. Political views about gun control, the election, etc., etc. aren’t peripheral to this song, they’re at its heart. A review that didn’t address them would be an incomplete and flawed one, in the same way that a review that *only* addressed them, and no other aspect of the song, would be flawed and incomplete.

  79. Stormy
    December 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Waynoe: Why is it beneath me to point out that Straight Outta Compton is based on a true story while this song is not?

  80. Cindy
    December 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I am politically very conservative. Not having heard the song, although I may agree with some of the sentiments, I don’t like musicians being so blatant in their message, to the Left or Right. I look to musicians to get to a deeper level of humanity in their message. I’ll watch the news myself, thanks.

    Good example: Jason Isbell: I love his song Dress Blues. I disagree with him politically, but the guy wrote a poignant song about the impact of war that people of any political stripe should agree on.

    I have the last good record Andy Griggs made-there are some really well sung songs on there, like “Be Still” (I think that’s the title..) and “Heaven.” But I wince when I hear of him doing something so calculated. He can reach far higher.

    I do take exception to the reviewer throwing in their political opinions-especially concerning The Tea Party. For the same reasons. Tell me what you think of the song, don’t pontificate to me about politics. When you do that, you risk alienating your readers. (Plus, your here to write on music, not politics!)

  81. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t see how a reviewer could avoid writing/addressing politics when reviewing this song. That’s why I won’t review it, since I don’t think the politics of it are subtle or deep enough to deserve a real review. And I still don’t hear how it’s well-sung. I’m surprised people think so.

  82. Jon
    December 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t think the politics of it are subtle or deep enough to deserve a real review.

    Saying that the politics of it are neither subtle nor deep *is* a real review ;-).

  83. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Touche.:)

  84. Cindy
    December 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    My point is I don’t what to hear the reviewer’s politics through the review.

    There may be a really good way to write a song hitting the issues he’s touching on, but is this THAT song? Thats what I want you to write on. Even though I don’t like the content of the review, and I am conservative, it sounds like I’d probably not like a song that comes over like a sledgehammer.

  85. Marc
    December 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    why is having a single come out a year after the last one a “comeback”.. per the wording of the review.

    Doesn’t matter though.. awful song either way.

  86. Ben Foster
    December 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I’m sorry if there were any instances in the above discussion in which my comments crossed the line of politeness, and I apologize to anyone that I snapped at. I don’t know what my deal was.

  87. luckyoldsun
    December 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Jon–“Are you under the impression that Rhett Akins coined the phrase “kiss me where the sun don’t shine?!”

    No, but I’ve heard Rhett Akins’ “Kiss My Country Ass”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeDM_aP4IJc

    and this Griggs song is a blatant rip-off of it.

  88. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

    He name-checked Fox because he needed one syllable.

    This song is talk-radio bumper music, nothing more. It’s laughable, really. The impotent rage of an old fart. And the totally unsubtle lyrical approach coupled with the very mediocre music means that it’s destined to be judged for its lyrics: ain’t much else to grab onto, really. I wonder if that was intentional, because it seems more like a commercial or a ampaign jingle than an actual song. The music is there just so it won’t be just some guy rambling. And so that kind of approach basically forces the listener to evaluate it first and foremost on its political message.

    Me, I don’t need a sermon from entertainment figures, and generally don’t want a message being shoved down my throat, so no amen from me, but I can offer something else with two syllables.

  89. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

    As for hate speech … nah. Johnny Rebel is hate speech.

  90. Jon
    December 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

    @LuckyOldSun In the first place, how do you know that the Akins song was written first? In the second, it strikes me that rather than seeing one as a rip-off of the other, one might see them as following the pattern of a common antecedent. And in the third, even if this were based on Akins’ song, it’s better done in every respect. Which admittedly isn’t saying very much at all.

  91. Stewman
    December 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Beyond the fact that the song is incredibly lame, the concept is so tired at this point, as an artist, one should try a little harder. I presume this is to get a little ink for an artist who’s been off the map for a few years.

  92. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Makes you wonder if he would’ve done this song during a non-election year. Then again, with the current “white noise machine” state of politics, it can feel like every year is an election year.

  93. luckyoldsun
    December 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Sherlock,
    I know (to a sufficient level of certainty) that the Akins song was written first because put it out more than four years ago.

    And this Griggs crap isn’t just “inspired” by Akins–It’s practically the same damn song, with the same damn melody (though much of the recitation is atonal.)

    Oh, Akins put the Rebel Flag on his pick-up and Griggs moved it to the shop out back.

    And just from a “qaulity of song” standpoint: “Kiss My Country Ass” is a lot more emphatic a statement than “Can I Get An Amen.”

  94. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    For sure, Griggs doesn’t sound very emphatic here. More like whiny. He sounds like the uncle that shows up to every family function all in a lather about something he heard on the news, got half of it wrong. The kind of old windbag who always sends you chain emails with conspiracy theories or racist jokes about Obama, then alls you up to ask if you got them.

  95. Chris N.
    December 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    You can hear the flop sweat all over this.

  96. Matt D. Gnatt
    December 19, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Wow, first time I’ve been on this site. Obviously leans heavy to the left. It’s funny how when someone “sings” or states views that are different than your own you call it hate speech or they’re racist . Good song or not, I get so tired of that crap. I sure hope the majority here does not think the government (both sides) has their best interest in mind, but I’m afraid that’s not the case. This song isn’t politically correct and that’s what drives you all nuts. I guess once guns, God, Conservatives and the evil rich are done away with and everything is even across the board then you all will be happy. (Oh, and when there are enough tax payer funded programs where no one has to work). I like the song and the fact that Andy Griggs has the balls to stand up for something.

  97. Thomas
    December 19, 2010 at 4:28 am

    …i simply tuckered the the top left hand corner of the 9513 onto the same corner of my screen – et voilà, problem solved, matt.

  98. Paul W Dennis
    December 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Matt D Gnatt – the site itself doesn’t lean left or right although some of those who post comments may lean in one direction or the other. There are many commenters who lean right.

    Ideally politics gets left out of the articles posted online here, but the writers and staff have little control on what happens after that. Also, some songs, perforce, will have the article writer showing a little of their political bent. Since this song was used at political rallies, to ignore the political aspect of the song would be ignorant indeed.

    Yes, I suspect that Ms Goodman leans left. I lean center/right but had no problem with her review other than as noted above (he comments about gangstas and “… this song teeters toward crossing the line of hate speech…”). She has the right to be wrong in her interpretation of the material. Just look at all the different spins placed on the Hag’s “Okie From Muskogee”

    This song simply is mediocre and politics have nothing to do with that

  99. Miranda
    February 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    From reading most of the posts on here I can tell the most of you are not “country” people, aka “Good ol boys.” You are reading way more into it than what it is, and if you knew Andy you would have way more respect for him and the song. Andy didn’t write this song with any political agenda in mind. He would have released it whether it was an election year or not. You can analyze it all you want, but unless you have old fashioned values you will never understand or agree with it.

  100. ronnie
    March 1, 2011 at 12:32 am

    i would say this is freedom of speech and that is good ol US of A in action.and if you have a problem with that take it up with the guys who died for this country. he without political sin cast the first stone ..i think we all have problems with someone in the the driving seat democrat or republican sometimes and have voiced our frustration and have better things to do than bash a song …come on guys and gals lets have a good ol glass of sweet and leave the singing to andy….

  101. ronnie
    March 1, 2011 at 12:46 am

    p.s can i get an amen

  102. Matt G
    March 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    NOELLER….Its people like you that give a little bit of this country AWAY every single day…and nothing is free in this country or this world!if you truly believe that ask someone that has lost someone in a senseless war that was fought for what most of us believe in!! im sick of people not having the guts to stand up for for this country or the Americans in it.black,white,Italians, Jew’s everybody thats here the right way…no your one of those people that believes in “the new world order”..but you know what..in your new world i wonder if people like you will even have the right to make comments like you made!!! i hope im not around to live it!!

  103. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 8:22 am

    That’s pretty funny. Not everyone lives in the US of A, you know.

  104. Waynoe
    March 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Another brilliant comment by Jon. It’s funny how a perceived conservative slant in a song can bring out the whinies. I mean, in pop culture, they have never had liberal political agendas in their material, have they? Oh, I forgot, only liberals have free reign of hte free speach mantra. Man I keep forgetting that!

  105. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

    The point is that “people like” Noeller are Canadian.

  106. luckyoldsun
    March 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

    W–
    No, even liberals play “Sweet Home Alabama”–because the record rocks.
    This record is going nowhere–on the merits.

  107. Matt G
    March 7, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    that is funny Jon!..but then again “I” do live here in the U.S.A and that happens to be the only people i care about..that being said im not without sympathy when something bad happens to people in another country..

  108. Danny Ray
    May 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

    This is a great song! It’s simply a joke that the reviewer even mentioned hate speech! What about “Freedom of Speech” all you banner waivers of hate speech? Great song Andy! Very well-written! More power to ya!

Tagged In This Article

//

Current Discussion

  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on Engine145.com. You're good at what you do, and The …
  • bob: Go Brandy FGL - Just go away.

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton