There are three main ways I can tell I’m getting older:
One, I only care about the price of my clothes, not the brand — although I have developed quite the appreciation for a fashion designer who apparently goes by one name, Clearance (pronounced “Clee-Arn-Say,” I think), which I’m pretty sure is Italian.
Two, if anyone ever says they like my hair, I ask them, “Which one?”
Three, there is precious little modern music I can stomach. I hate rap, modern country, over-produced pop and screaming rock. If it weren’t for acid polka, I would have almost nothing to listen to on the radio.
If one of today’s musical artists is making a fortune and beloved by millions of fans, there’s a good chance that I’m not gonna like their music. I prefer Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson to Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean. I’ll take the Allman Brothers and Rolling Stones over Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold. If I’m feeling a little funky, give me Prince and Parliament over Drake and The Weeknd. And when it comes to rap, I’ll take Kool Moe Dee and Run-DMC over any rap artist that has come on the scene since 1995.
In fact, I’ve now reached the point in my life that if a song sets a record by topping the Billboard charts for 17 straight weeks, I might not have heard of the song or even the artist. That’s exactly what happened last week when Lil Nas X (“Lil” a lil overused, don’t you think?) set that mark with his super-huge-megahit “Old Town Road,” a song I’d never heard by an artist I’d never heard of. Yep, I’m old.
So, I looked it up. Maybe I’m missing out on some great music by listening to too many Jimmy Buffett songs on Spotify or ‘70s and ‘80s hits on SiriusXM. Um, nope. It’s awful. I mean really, really bad. I managed to get through about two minutes of it before the bleeding from my ears began to stain my newest Clearance shirt.
The song features — every rap song “features” somebody — Billy Ray Cyrus. Yep, Hannah Montana’s daddy. At least I’d heard of him, going all the way back to the early 1990s when all the girls at the Valdosta Daily-Times were giddy over “Achy Breaky Heart.”
Lil Nas X reportedly paid $30 for the beat to “Achy Breaky Ears,” er, “Old Town Road,” and he spent about $20 too much in my opinion. I can buy six of Clearance’s nicest shirts for $30.
I loved a lot of rap back in the 1980s. I’ve seen Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys in concert and I wore out Midnight Star’s “Freak-A-Zoid” while practicing alongside my “Learn to Breakdance” poster when I was 12 years old. I thank God every day there was no YouTube or Facebook in 1982 to document my progress — mainly because I’d hate to make everyone jealous of my skillz. (You also have to replace an “s” with a “z” here and there to be hip these days.)
I know Lil Nas X’s feelings are going to be badly hurt by my opinion of his “music” and mega-hit song. I hope he and other modern rappers will be able to trudge on without my appreciation. Maybe being filthy rich will help them. In Lil Nas X’s case, he went from being worth $5.62 (seriously) to more than $4 million practically overnight. That’s enough money to pay me to listen to “Old Town Road” five, maybe six times in a row!
If nothing else, though, at least Lil Nas X, Lil Yachty, Lil Wayne, Lil Flip, Lil Kim and Lil Abner have shown me that it can’t be too hard to make it in the music business nowadays. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Therefore, I plan to drop my new rap album any day now, so look for my rapping self, Lil Zaturated Phat, to hit your town on tour soon.
And if I’m feeling sporty, I might even bust out a few breakdance moves — although I may need to add a chiropractor to my entourage.
Get more from Chris Johnson at KudzuKid.com.