Trace Adkins – “Marry For Money”
Songwriters: Dave Turnbull and Jimmy Melton.
Forget buyouts, buy-backs or bailouts: Trace Adkins has come up with possibly the ultimate economic stimulus plan.
“Marry for Money,” Adkins’ second single off his eighth studio album X, proves the singer was paying attention during his successful stint on “The Celebrity Apprentice”–or at least to the huge divorce settlements creator Donald Trump has shelled out.
As an ode to the Anna Nicole Smiths of the world, it doesn’t hurt that parts of the song are actually funny. Thanks to its combination of sarcasm and honesty, Adkins’ portrayal of an equal opportunity gold digger is amusing: “I’ll call her sweetheart and honey if she’s a hundred and twenty/…She can be really ugly/I’m gonna marry for money.”
Is it possible to take a song seriously that ends with “Oh, cha-ching/Mucho dinero” and rhymes “sugar mama” with “zeros and commas?” Of course not. But it is possible to enjoy it.
Save a grating mid-song guitar solo, the song’s instrumentation is strong, and its acoustic intro subtly grabs your attention. Its solid production and charismatic performance also save it from going from cute to cheesy, unlike some of Adkins’ more ridiculous outings.
Novelty songs—purposely silly tunes meant to comically portray a person or situation—like “Marry for Money” shouldn’t be automatically disqualified from being good. When done well, they serve as entertaining counterpoints to the darker cheatin’, leavin’ and drinkin’ songs so closely associated with country music.
It’s even possible for these ditties to enhance artists’ careers, like David Allen Coe’s “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” and George Jones’ “No Show Jones.” Little Jimmy Dickens, Jerry Reed and Roger Miller all recorded notable novelty songs.
So the problem isn’t the novelty song form; instead, the trouble begins when they dominate an artist’s song catalog. Unless purposely done to fill a niche (think Cledus T. Judd, Rodney Carrington and Ray Stevens), it’s a dangerous pattern to fall into.
Between “Hot Mama,” “Chrome,” “Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk,” “Swing,” “Rough and Ready,” “I Got My Game On” and now “Marry for Money,” Adkins has long since crossed that line.
Within the novelty realm, this song deserves a “thumbs up” for its effortless, unselfconscious humor and presentation.
But judging it on its merit as a single released to radio, it does nothing to enhance Adkins as an artist. As Jim Malec notes in his review of X, “Marry for Money” serves as interesting filler within a stylistically diverse album. However, with “I Can’t Outrun You,” “Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink” and “’Til the Last Shot’s Fired” also on that album, this should not be the single in radio rotation.
An argument could be made that releasing “Marry for Money” is an adventurous move, given its blunt rejection of traditional loving relationships; however, it would have been more adventurous to break from his usual novelty crutches
His bid for President Obama’s Secretary of Economic Gimmick Songs notwithstanding, Adkins deserves recognition as one of country music’s most underrated performers. Releasing a single other than “Marry for Money” would have been a step in the right direction.
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