Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-ninth day of each month is "Music."
Here's my playlist of songs that should always be thought of as lyrical pairs, despite the fact that they mostly come from different genres and artists. (Also, this post took a million years to write.)
Pair #1: Classic Lesley Gore
It's My Party and It's Judy's Turn to Cry by Lesley Gore - Okay, this one was a no-brainer. It's well known that It's Judy's Tun to Cry is a sequel to the story told in It's My Party. Frankly, Johnny and Judy deserve each other, but I guess our teenage narrator loves Johnny too much for that.
Pair #2: How Do We Feel About Pot in this Decade?
Okie from Muskogee by Merle Haggard and Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves - God, Merle Haggard was a handsome man. I honestly still can't really tell if this song was parody or not (kids still respect the college dean as riots and protests about Vietnam are going on? 1969 was a confusing time, I guess), but I think that it's sort of brilliant in its use of just about every country music trope that exists. Anyway, contrasted with the 2013 Follow Your Arrow, it really speaks to how much has changed in the last 45 years. I find it telling that Haggard hit #1 with this song, but Musgraves only hit critical acclaim.
Pair #3: Just Get Pissed Off
Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood and Redneck Crazy by Tyler Farr - I know these songs are controversial (exes getting revenge), but I love them. I'm a total hick. Anyway, I don't see either of these as songs condoning domestic violence or stalking, but if you choose to read them that way, that's fine. I think there's a place for talking about hard issues in popular culture. I see these songs as showing how both men and women react emotionally and immaturely to breakups. The two songs were authored by the same songwriters, so I guess it's not surprising that I see them as peas in a pod.
Pair #4: Yesterday(s)
Yesterday by The Beatles and Yesterdays by Guns N Roses - I read somewhere that Axl Rose wrote Yesterdays as a response to The Beatles song, to counter the positive with the negative and the power of recognizing that the past is not always good. I actually think both of these hold up well and I can't believe I'm pairing GNR with McCartney, but there you have it. I can't find that interview now, so you'll have to take my word for it, I guess.
Pair #5: One Bad Breakup
I Breathe In, I Breathe Out by Chris Cagle and He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones - Dr. BB thinks this pairing is ridiculous. I am a Cagle fangirl, though, so I don't see this as sacrilegious as he apparently does. I think that the Cagle song tells the first part of the story and the Jones story tells the last part. I don't think anyone needs to know what happened in the middle.
Jolene by Dolly Parton and That Girl by Jennifer Nettles - Yeah, it may have taken forty years for That Girl to be written from the side of the much maligned Jolene, but the song was worth the wait. Both beautiful songs sung by singer-songwriters of the highest caliber and both songs that I cannot help but roll down the windows and crank up when they come on the radio.
Pair #7: Texas - A Good Place to Get Lost
Little Red Rodeo by Collin Raye and Austin by Blake Shelton - I imagine that the narrator in Raye's song never did find his girlfriend and then a year later, the Shelton song took place. Great story songs that just seem to me like they belong together.
Pair #8: Oklahoma - An Even Better Place to Get Lost
The Day That She Left Tulsa (in a Chevy) by Wade Hayes and You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma by Lefty Frizzell and Shelly West - Hayes sings the first part of the story and Frizzell/West come in and finish. Also, that Frizzell/West song is probably my number one listened to song in the last year. It's an earworm and the "I've got a calico cat/And a two room flat/On a street in west LA" line WILL NEVER LEAVE MY BRAIN. (Apparently Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton recently did a version of this song. It's not Lefty and Shelly, but it's pretty good.)
Pair #9: Follow the Photograph
My Favorite Picture of You by Guy Clark and Just Someone I Used to Know by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner - This relationship was doomed from the beginning. If you think of it as one continuous song, the photograph really tells the whole story of a tumultuous affair that was never meant to be. (Also, could Wagoner have been more of a dickhead? In all the banter clips I see, he's just so sleazy and sexist. But Dolly is my hero, of course.)
Pair #10: GI Blues
Traveling Soldier by The Dixie Chicks and Riding with Private Malone by David Ball - The Dixie Chicks really do hold up. I was worried that this song wouldn't be as powerful as I remembered, but it's really there. I imagine this fellow all alone, waiting for boot camp, and this girl falls in love with him, but he never comes home. Meanwhile, his mom keeps his car under a dusty tarp for decades, but he just never comes back. Sort of parallel stories about the same soldier.
What I really learned here was that I can pair anything with at least one Dolly Parton song.
To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.