The Story Behind the Song
“Try That in a Small Town” is a compelling country music track by the renowned artist Jason Aldean. Released as part of his album, the song presents a thought-provoking narrative that addresses social decline in modern society and the contrast between urban and small-town values. The song’s lyrics and accompanying music video delve into the artist’s perspective on the state of the nation, shedding light on contentious issues and encouraging discussions on the role of individual behavior and community values.
In the opening verse, Aldean paints a vivid picture of various provocative and illegal actions, symbolizing the reckless behavior and unrest present in some urban environments. The actions described, such as sucker punching, carjacking, and disrespecting authority and national symbols, are meant to evoke a sense of lawlessness and disrespect for societal norms.
The chorus, “Try that in a small town, see how far ya make it down the road. ‘Round here, we take care of our own,” serves as a stark warning against engaging in such behavior in rural or close-knit communities. It reflects the idea that small-town communities are often tightly knit and uphold values of looking after one another, promoting a sense of responsibility and accountability.
As the song progresses, Aldean emphasizes the significance of firearms in small towns, hinting at the notion that in such environments, self-defense and protection of community values are highly regarded. The lyrics subtly imply that engaging in the same provocative actions in a small town would likely lead to swift consequences due to the strong sense of community and shared values. The lyrics “full of good ol’ boys, raised up right,” may suggest that the upbringing in such communities instills respect for traditions, authority, and each other.
“Try That in a Small Town” serves as an anthem that expresses Jason Aldean’s perspective on social decline and the contrasting values between urban areas and small-town America. The song encourages listeners to consider the impact of individual actions on communities and highlights the significance of preserving shared values to foster a safe and harmonious environment.
The Controversy Unveiled
Upon its release, “Try That in a Small Town” quickly ignited controversy after going viral on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, polarizing opinions among listeners. The song’s bold portrayal of urban unrest and provocative behavior, contrasted with the values upheld in small-town communities, sparked intense debates on various fronts. Let’s delve into the key points that triggered the controversy surrounding Jason Aldean’s thought-provoking track.
a. Accusations of Insensitivity: One of the main points of contention was the perception of insensitivity in the song’s lyrics and message. Critics argued that the portrayal of violent and unlawful acts, even as symbolic imagery, might come across as dismissive or trivializing real issues faced by certain communities. The concern raised was that reducing complex societal challenges to a simple “try it here, see what happens” approach could overshadow the gravity of these problems.
b. Misinterpretation of Intentions: Another source of controversy stemmed from the interpretation of the song’s intentions. Some listeners and media outlets alleged that the lyrics implicitly supported violence or endorsed a confrontational stance towards particular groups or ideologies. While Aldean clarified that the song does not reference any specific race or promote harm, misinterpretations persisted, leading to further division among audiences.
c. Political Overtones: The inclusion of real news footage depicting protests, flag burning, and other contentious events added a political dimension to the song’s message. This led to discussions on whether the song was subtly taking a political stance or merely reflecting the artist’s perspective on societal issues. As with any politically charged topic, opinions varied widely, contributing to the divisive nature of the song’s reception.
d. Response from Jason Aldean: Amid the heated debate, Jason Aldean addressed the controversy directly, defending his creative choices and the song’s underlying message. He emphasized that the lyrics do not reference race and clarified that the intent was to draw attention to societal issues without endorsing violence or harm. Despite his response, the controversy persisted, with some supporters praising his courage to address difficult topics, while critics remained unconvinced.
e. Role of Music as Social Commentary: The controversy also extended to the broader discussion of music’s role as a form of social commentary. Some defended the song as a legitimate expression of artistic freedom and a means to shine a light on societal challenges, while others criticized its content and approach as being too polarizing and provocative.
The controversy surrounding “Try That in a Small Town” demonstrates the power of music to spark discussions on critical social issues and the complex interplay between artistic expression, social commentary, and public perception. While the song’s intent was to shed light on the contrasting values between urban and small-town America, it inadvertently became a catalyst for polarizing opinions, reflecting the challenges artists face when tackling sensitive and divisive topics in their work. As the debate continues, the song stands as a testament to the impact music can have in prompting reflection and dialogue on the state of society.
Artistic Expression vs. Social Commentary
The controversy surrounding “Try That in a Small Town” raises a fundamental question about the balance between artistic expression and social commentary in music. As with any form of art, music serves as a powerful medium for artists to express their thoughts, emotions, and perspectives on the world around them. While some argue that artists should be free to explore provocative themes and symbolism in their work, others contend that there is a responsibility to approach sensitive subjects with greater care and sensitivity.
Supporters of artistic expression highlight the importance of allowing musicians to use their creativity to address pressing societal issues. They argue that art often serves as a reflection of the times, provoking thought and encouraging dialogue on important topics. Advocates of this perspective appreciate the courage it takes for artists like Jason Aldean to tackle controversial subjects in their music, as it helps initiate conversations that might otherwise remain unaddressed.
On the other hand, critics of the song’s social commentary argue that art carries a responsibility to promote understanding and empathy rather than contribute to polarization. They contend that when addressing sensitive subjects, artists should take care not to oversimplify complex issues or inadvertently perpetuate harmful stereotypes. The controversy surrounding the song underscores the importance of considering the potential impact of artistic expression on society, particularly in an age where media and music can swiftly spread powerful messages to a global audience.
Impact on Music and Politics
The intersection of music and politics is nothing new, with music often serving as a vehicle for political expression and social change throughout history. “Try That in a Small Town” adds to this legacy by sparking discussions on the relationship between music and politics in contemporary society. The inclusion of real news footage and the strong social commentary in the song’s lyrics reinforce its relevance to ongoing political and social debates.
As with many politically charged songs, “Try That in a Small Town” has found both ardent supporters and vocal critics. For some, the song’s message resonates deeply, aligning with their own beliefs and experiences. They see the track as a call for preserving traditional values and expressing frustrations with societal challenges. On the other hand, detractors argue that the song’s portrayal of urban unrest may perpetuate divisive narratives and exacerbate existing tensions.
The song’s impact extends beyond its musical realm, inspiring discussions on how artists use their platforms to influence public opinion and advocate for social change. In an era where musicians can reach millions through social media and online platforms, the potential influence of music on political discourse has grown significantly.
The Role of Celebrity Couples in Activism
Amidst the controversy, Brittany Aldean, Jason Aldean’s wife, played a significant role in supporting her husband’s creative expression. Celebrity couples like the Aldeans often find themselves in the spotlight, attracting attention to their actions and statements. Brittany’s public endorsement of the song and its message reflects the increasing involvement of celebrity couples in activism and raising awareness about social issues.
With substantial followings on social media, celebrity couples have unique opportunities to leverage their influence for causes they are passionate about. While some applaud the Aldeans for using their platform to promote dialogue on social decline, others may view their stance as reinforcing divisive narratives.
The involvement of celebrity couples in activism has drawn attention to the complexities of engaging with social and political issues in the public eye. As society looks to figures like the Aldeans for inspiration and leadership, their actions, endorsements, and statements carry both significant impact and responsibility.
Response from Jason Aldean
In the face of mounting backlash and CMT’s decision to pull “Try That In A Small Town” from its rotation, Jason Aldean took to his Instagram Stories to address the criticism surrounding his song. In a candid and impassioned statement, he defended the track against accusations of promoting violence and racial insensitivity.
Aldean began by expressing his dismay at being accused of releasing a “pro-lynching” song and his alleged dissatisfaction with the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. He refuted these claims outright, asserting that there is not a single lyric in the song that references race or advocates violence. Moreover, he emphasized that the video clips used in the song’s music video are authentic news footage, further distancing the song from promoting a harmful message.
“As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy,” Aldean wrote, acknowledging the impact of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas on him personally and the wider community. He emphasized that he, like everyone else, yearns to put an end to the senseless violence that has plagued the nation and wishes to spare families from experiencing further devastation.
The country singer then delved into the song’s true intent, explaining that “Try That In A Small Town” is an ode to the sense of community he experienced while growing up. According to Aldean, the song celebrates the idea of neighbors taking care of one another, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs.
While Aldean’s intention was to evoke nostalgia for tight-knit communities, critics have expressed concerns about the song’s content and accompanying music video. Some have interpreted the lyrics as glorifying violence and promoting pro-gun messaging. However, the songwriter credits for the track go to Kelley Lovelace, Neil Thrasher, Tully Kennedy, and Kurt Michael Allison.
Despite the ongoing controversy, Aldean remains resolute in defending his artistic expression, emphasizing that the song serves to highlight the value of community bonds and compassion for one another. He acknowledges the diversity of interpretations that music can evoke but maintains that the song should not be taken out of context or mischaracterized.
As the debate continues, Aldean’s response underscores the complexities artists face when creating music that delves into sensitive and polarizing issues. The song’s removal from CMT’s rotation further exemplifies the impact of public perception on the music industry and the need for ongoing dialogue about the role of music in addressing societal challenges.
Music as a Catalyst for Social Change
“Try That in a Small Town” joins a long tradition of songs that have acted as catalysts for social change. Throughout history, music has played a vital role in shaping public opinion, inspiring movements, and raising awareness about social issues. The song’s controversial themes and the ensuing discussions exemplify how music can spark conversations and encourage reflection on pressing matters.
Songs that tackle political and social issues often become anthems for movements, giving voice to the sentiments of the people and reflecting the prevailing mood of a society. Whether through protest songs, anthems of unity, or calls for change, music has the unique ability to transcend boundaries and connect with people on a deeply emotional level.