So, in 1984, they talk about how the Ministry of Truth is responsible for generating entertainment that will pacify and entertain the masses. Its mentioned that the minitrue (newspeak!) uses formulaic methods to generate entertainment to keep the every-man from becoming educated. They call it “Prolefeed”. Orwell goes so far as to imply that this formula is so dead simple that it was produced by mechanical means, on a versificator.
There have been countless descriptions of modern-day pop music as prolefeed, so I’m not going to come out of the gate saying I’m breaking new ground here, that’s absolutely not the case. I get that. Nor am I saying that my particular taste in music is better (its not, and I welcome anyone to hate the music to which I listen. I can’t explain why I like it, outside of a very vague story of how I arrived at my present tastes). Additionally, I don’t judge anyone for liking Top 40 music. I welcome vapid music, and I do NOT think that every song has to teach us something, or tell us something, or touch us in some meaningful way. If you grab my iPod and hit “Random” you’ll see that the majority of music I listen to garbage, vapid, uninspired, and made specifically to make people dance, or to shake peoples brains with bass. I digress.
I think it’s important to recognize that the entertainment industry is becoming based solely on prolefeed. With the internet and the proliferation of “I can put whatever I want on the Internet!” you have access to untold treasures of music that IS deep, IS meaningful, etc. Sites like Soundcloud can give you access to any kind of music to which you’d like to listen, free of charge.
I want to analyze a Florida-Georgia Line song, called “Round Here”. I’m not going to talk about “Cruise”, because that song doesn’t actually say anything at all, it just talks about how attractive women look good in big trucks, a fact I’m not willing or able to refute. I’m also not able to argue about healthy grass being green, or apples generally being a shade of red, unless they’re green. Take that for what you will.
Heres the choon:
Take a good listen. On the surface. Lets cover a few facts about the music industry, eh?
First, the most popular kind of music is country music. Nielsen says that “Country Music is, by far, America’s favorite musical genre.” That link says that 27% of consumers identify themselves as country music fans, with second most-popular genre being classic rock from the 60’s-80’s. That second set is finite, they aren’t making any more of it. Pop/Top 40 accounts for a mere 18.8% of the consumers asked.
Billboard released a ridiculously long report profiling the average country music fan. They aren’t broke, uneducated, jobless, tech-less or anything else. (You can view the summary here, with a link to the full deal.) I’m also looking at the music sales for 2012 (View them here). Country music fans buy music. A lot.
The dissection of the lyrics makes for interesting discussion. The marketing machine is specificially targeting their market by clearly outlining that very same market inside the songs. Lets look.
“Hammerin’ a nail, Stackin’ them bales
First line and we’re already profiling our target market as people who do manual labor, work on farms, landscaping, or simply a repetitive task (hammering away). This also plays to people who have ever done these things. Nostalgia, after all.
I’m dog tired by the 5 o’clock hour, but I’m ready to raise some hell.
Easy enough to identify with this line. Anyone who has ever disliked their job of the moment has watched the clock.
And Jesse’s getting’ ready, I’m gassin up the Chevy
Whether you’re a Chevrolet fan or not, the theme here is a big, American vehicle. Another demographic spoken to directly.
I’m gonna pick her up at 6, I hope she’s gonna wear the heans with a tear that her mama never fixed.
Just like their song “Cruise,” FGL is again asking to agree with them that attractive women are attractive. I get that. Next up, we’re into the chorus of the song.
The moon comes up and the sun goes down
We find a little spot on the edge of town
Twist off, sip a little, pass it around
Dance in the dust, turn the radio up
And that fireball whiskey whispers
Temptation in my ear
It’s a feelin’ alright Saturday night
And that’s how we do it ’round here
Yeah that’s how we do it ’round here
Alright, alright. So, drinking at night on a Saturday. I think a few people can identify with that.
Mud on the grips, Wild cherry on her lips
I’ve been workin’ and tryin’ and flirtin and dyin’
For an all night kinda kiss
And country on the boombox
And candles on the toolbox
Doin’ everything right
Got the country boy charm
Turned all the way on tonight
I think that the message here speaks to men, because every man (in this crazy guys opinion) likes to think that they’re a daring romantic with insane amounts of charm.
Yeah, that’s how we do it ‘round here
So, this last line, in addition to being the song title, also gives anyone with a sense of geographic pride a line to shout, and ensures that this song will be played at sporting events for decades. Bravo, FGL.
Again, enjoy whatever music you like. Just understand… Prolefeed for the most part. The music I listen to is crap, I recognize it, but I like to dance, so, whatever.