There was a time when country stars like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Jr., and the problematic-but-influential Louvin Brothers helped define the genre as we know it by wearing their hearts on their sleeves—singing about bad luck, failed romances, and worries that, eep, they might be going to hell. But that country tradition of misery and desperation is more apparent in modern female vocalists like Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, and Miranda Lambert (all of whom released great albums recently, btw) than their male counterparts, who just came to fuck in their trucks.
Isn’t it funny that when Morris (who feels like a “hard-to-get starlet” in “’80s Mercedes”), Musgraves (who “drives far away” from an ex in “Halfway to Memphis”), and Lambert (who’s her girlfriend’s “Getaway Driver”) sing about driving, they’re either driving away from a man, or enjoying themselves... alone? I think it is!
Take the final verse of Michael Ray’s new single “Think a Little Less,” in which the alleged country star and doppelgänger spends the first two-thirds of the song getting all horned up about the idea of maybe potentially getting his lady friend out of her dress, and then—as though mandated by male country music law—BAM! “I’ll go warm up the truck if you wanna hop in.” (You can watch its absurd video, which dropped this week, below.)
It’s a common move among men in the genre that’s presumably meant to, I don’t know, legitimize them as real country singers? Like, their hair is sexy and they don’t shave every day, and maybe they drink vodka or red wine instead of Miller Light, and they care about dressing stylishly... but they still drive a truck, and definitely want to fuck a lady in the back of it.
Sam Hunt, a very good-looking country singer sort of raps (yikes) a truck line in the chorus of his song “Speakers”:
Love in the back of the truck with the tailgate down
Just us and the speakers on
Thomas Rhett does something similar in the frustratingly catchy Maroon 5-ish diddy “Makes Me Wanna”:
Pull this truck to the side of the road
Slide on over, let me hold you close
And then there’s that clown with two first names, Luke Bryan (I actually don’t know for certain whether he is or is not a clown), who, like Rhett, wants his lady in his tailgate to do... actually I don’t know what this means:
Got a little boom in my big truck
Gonna open up the doors and turn it up
Gonna stomp my boots in the Georgia mud
Gonna watch you make me fall in love
Get up on the hood of my daddy’s tractor
Up on the tool box, it don’t matter
Down on the tailgate, girl I can’t wait
To watch you do your thing
Despite all that garbage I linked to, country music is still a wonderful, sort of (excuse me) life-affirming genre if you know where to look. (Spoiler: don’t look at the men.)