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Boot-scootin' Barbie

By Tater Barley Banks | Comment Diversions | December 11, 2010 |

By Tater Barley Banks | Comment Diversions | December 11, 2010 |

As 63 Eyes, the band played grungy-punky original songs for fun.

As Triple Shot, the same three guys played country covers to pay the rent.

Often, Triple Shot would, with a wink, open for 63 Eyes, and it was through bills like this at the club that, while I still couldn’t pick Keith Urban or Tim McGraw out of a lineup of one, I came to some appreciation for country music. (Brad Paisley I might guess right, but only because the homeboy represents.)

Old-school country, that is. Willie Nelson and “Whiskey River” and “Rocky Top,” and the saddest song ever written (and I will brook no dissent here), “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today,” not that country-pop crap. (And speaking of brook, I don’t know where Garth Brooks fell in that line, but I enjoyed the hell out of a Brooks concert I saw on TV many years ago anyway.)

Like many people my age, I have an inherent distrust and suspicion of The New! and The Hot! when there’ll never be and CAN never be another Aretha or James Brown or Hank Williams or Hendrix or … so what’s the point? But that doesn’t mean labels and the programmers and the public will ever stop trying to hype The New! I don’t especially resent that until they try to foist some teenage prodigy on us, someone with the life experience of a fruit fly. “She/he is mature beyond his/her years!” Well, if it’s maturity I want, then I’ll pay attention to someone who is, you know, actually mature.

I always invoke the “dog walking on its hind legs” principle of prodigies: It doesn’t have to do what it does very well, it’s simply amazing that it can do it at all.

To quote a certain group of 1960s rock and roll prodigies: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Which brings us to Taylor Swift.

I had (thankfully, I imagined) never heard and never wanted to hear a Taylor Swift song. Why the hell would I? It’s not exactly aimed at my old-man demographic (though the lecher in me thinks she’s kinda purty).

And then the other night, channel-surfing, I stumbled upon E!’s version of “Behind the Music” and couldn’t stop watching her story. The snippets of songs they played sounded like the icky country-pop I had figured they would, so I didn’t go running to the record store — do they still have those? — but if Paisley and McGraw say she’s a song-writing genius — and they did — well, how can I argue? It’s also hard not to root for somebody who knew exactly what she wanted to be when she was 10, and was driven enough (and, I suppose, lucky enough) to make it happen to an astonishing degree of success in less than 10 years.

So while I still have nothing but disdain for her music, dammit, now I like her.

And I hate that I like her, but secretly I hate that I hate that I like her …

Ahem. Where is this diversion going? Oh yeah, three directions. You can:

1. Describe at unconscionable length your secret love for or open loathing of country music.

2. Tell us about someone whose work you hate but who you really kinda like and hate yourself for liking.

3. Explain why we need The New! anyway. (Movies I excuse, because you always need new young people to play young people. Can’t keep coasting on playing a teenager forever, can you, Lindsay Lohan?)

To suggest a diversion idea or leave Tater a fan letter, you can reach him by email.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.