Thursday, March 27, 2014

The State of Country Music - Part 2 - "Rolling"

I had to post a follow up to The State of Country Music after noticing the "rolling" epidemic in country music.  There are currently three country singles about "rolling" that are receiving a whole lot of airplay (as in I can't turn on the radio in my car without hearing one of these songs).

What do I mean by "rolling," you ask?  According to, the slang verb "roll" can mean two things:

- The way you behave based on your philosophical stance in regard to a certain situation (or in regard to the world in general).

- To go somewhere by car.

(There is also a third definition for the verb on Urban Dictionary, but it has to do with heavy illegal drug use, so I'm hoping that's not the subject matter of these country songs.)

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Most popular of these three singles (judging by its rank on the Top 30/Top 40 charts online) is a team effort by Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan entitled "This Is How We Roll."  The song was written by Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard (the FGL duo), along with Luke Bryan and rising star Cole Swindell.  Here are the lyrics of the first chorus (the words change slightly in each chorus throughout the song, but this is the basic idea):

This is how we roll.
We hanging 'round, singing out everything on the radio.
We light it up with our hands up.
This is how we roll.
This is how we do.
We're burning down the night, shooting bullets at the moon.
Baby, this is how we roll.

Maybe it's just because I'm 23 and out of the youth culture, but I really don't even know what most of that chorus means.  I guess they sing loud and hold their hands up a lot and that's just "how they do."  The verses are mostly about drinking, cruising in a "jacked-up," "tinted-out" truck, having a hot girlfriend in the passenger seat, etc.  Toward the end of the song (after the rap break, of course), Luke Bryan sings a few philosophical verses about how they're "proud to be young" and they "love who they love and wanna have fun."  Deep, I know.  

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The second most played of the three "rolling" songs is Justin Moore's "Lettin' the Night Roll."  This one is a little different because it's the night that's doing the "rolling."  Written by Moore, Jeremy Stover, and Rodney Clawson, the song has more of a romantic vibe.  The lyrics of the chorus are below:

Got the Kenwoods banging that rock 'n' roll,
whisper to me baby where you wanna go.
I can ride you 'round town or drive you down some ol' back road.
I love the way you lean that seat back, steal my ball cap,
pull it down over your blue eyes.
Watchin' your hair fly out the window, just lettin' the night roll,
and I can't wait to see where it goes.

Although it's a little cliche, a like "Lettin' the Night Roll" much more than I like "This Is How We Roll," mostly just because the lyrics make a little more sense and there is no mention of flat billed hats.

Spotlight: Ex-'Survivor' Star Chase Rice Debuts Big With 'Dirt Road Communion'
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But don't forget - there's another "rolling" song!  Chase Rice's "Ready Set Roll" was written by Rice, Rhett Akins, and Chris Destefano.  A mixture of FGL and Moore's songs, here's Rice's chorus:

Ready set let's roll.
Ready set let's ride.
Get ya little fine ass on the step.  Shimmy up inside,
and slide girl, by my side girl.
Yeah, we can run this town.  I can rock your world.
We can roll 'em down, fog 'em up,
cruise around, get stuck,
pedal to the medal till the sun comes up.
I made a deal with the man on the moon.
He's gonna put in some overtime.  We got all night.
Ready set let's roll.
Ready set let's ride.

So it seems in this song the people are doing the "rolling," but they are "rolling" in a vehicle.  "Ready Set Roll" has the romantic side of "Lettin' the Night Roll" (although it's a little more sexual than Moore's lyrics), but the party energy of "This Is How We Roll" - in the second verse the couple rolls to "where the Goodyears and good times meet."

As an avid country music fan, I sometimes get these three songs confused when scanning stations.  I can only imagine that someone who does not pay as much obsessive attention to country music as I do would think they were all the same song.  Honestly, in my opinion, they basically are.  We get it - you like to drive your truck, your girlfriend is attractive, she rides in the shotgun seat (duh), you really enjoy her company, and you "roll."  Listen to all three songs below to decide if you agree.

"This Is How We Roll" - Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan - Official Music Video

"Lettin' the Night Roll" - Justin Moore - Official Music Video

"Ready Set Roll" - Chase Rice - Official Lyric Video

Thanks for humoring my cynicism and linguistic curiosity.  Also, has anyone noticed that Tim McGraw followed up his hit "Southern Girl" with the single "Lookin' For That Girl" - just another song about the virtues of the country girl of his dreams?  I guess it's a recipe for success, but seriously?

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