Within days, Bocephus retaliated by recording a song about the kerfluffle and releasing it on his website, where it was reportedly downloaded more than 150,000 times in 24 hours.
"Keep the Change" is part of a longstanding country music tradition: the belligerent and pandering (usually) patriotic anthem. While we await the inevitable announcement that a Kid Rock song will be taking Hank Jr.'s place on “MNF” (because Kid Rock is the Hank Williams, Jr. of….that thing that he does), we thought we'd take a fond look back at some other terrible recent examples, from both sides of the political aisle.
5. Eric Church, "Homeboy"
About a small town delinquent who thinks he's cool ("With your hip-hop hat and your pants on the ground/…Tattoo on your neck/Fake gold on your teeth"). He'll eventually miss the simple pleasures in life, once he wises up and stops acting so, you know, black.
4. Hank Williams, Jr., "Keep the Change"
Tuneless and clunky and seriously, patently awful, this fulfills one of the chief qualifications of the pandering country song: It sets up a musical straw man, then aggressively bats it down. "Change" confronts those who would take Williams' religion, his Christian name, his friends and his V8 engine. Who is doing these terrible things? "We know who to blame," says Hank ominously. (Hint: it's a fiendish cabal that includes Obama and the lamestream media types at “Fox and Friends.” Yes, “Fox and Friends.”)
3. Steve Earle, "Little Emperor"
One of country's most famous (hey, one of its only) liberals, Earle's political songs miss as often as they hit. This taunting farewell to Bush II ("Hey little hypocrite/What you gonna say/When you wind up standing naked/On the final judgment day?") is tuneful but obvious. Less than six months old, it already sounds dated.
The latest in Keith's long-running songs-about-America-I wrote-on-the-back-of-a-cocktail-napkin-at-Chili's series, which appears to be yielding diminishing returns, if this laundry list of a song is any indication. In it, Keith sings approvingly about ex-Marines, schoolteachers, 4th of July decorations and folks who buy American. Is anybody really against these things?
1. Lee Greenwood, "God Bless the USA"
Newly popular after Bin Laden's death, this is the granddaddy of them all. Unlike other tracks here, it's not belligerent, it's just…bad. It's schmaltzy and obvious, the "Butterfly Kisses" of patriotic country anthems. It earns extra demerits for Beyonce's cover version. That thing was just awful.
And one we kind of like: Brad Paisley, "A Man Don't Have To Die"
References Jesus, downsizing, divorce and other staples of life in the '10s, but with a comparatively light touch. It's perfectly modulated: not preachy, not flippant, not morose. Well. maybe a little morose. But mostly, it's awesome.