Every so often, a popular country song offers an insightful, populist critique of the status quo. James Wesley's current hit, "Real," written by Neal Lee Coty and Jimmy Melton, is such a tune:
Five-hundred channels and there ain't much on tonight
Except reality shows about some folk's so-called lives
A pretty girl cries 'cause she don't get a rose
But she'll find love next year on her own show
And they call that real
Real, like a job you lose 'cause it moves to Mexico
Like a mama and a baby with no safe place to go
Like a little dream-house with a big old foreclosed sign
Like a flag-draped coffin and a twenty-one gun goodbye
In early 2009, I wrote a Zblog about another populist country anthem, "Shuttin' Detroit Down," performed by John Rich. Subsequently, I was disappointed to learn that Rich toured with John McCain during his presidential campaign, although that was before the song came out.
I do not know anything about James Wesley's politics, or those of the songwriters, but both "Shuttin' Detroit Down" and "Real" tap into some popular sentiments among an audience which many leftists presume to be right wing through and through. "Real" offers hope for finding more common ground between leftists and country music listeners on media and economic issues.