Sorry I’m late to the party …
Just after Christmas we loaded up the car to make the 11 hour drive west on I-40 to visit my family. Our 3-year-old (and 7 of her closest stuffed friends) was peacefully watching a movie in the backseat, and my husband had his driving playlist rocking in one ear, so after a few hours of travel I started hitting the search button on the radio. I know I could’ve plugged my iPhone in and listened to anything I wanted, but there’s something about being on the road that makes me want to punch buttons and hear the occasional static of local radio.
Hard to believe, but I think there might be even MORE country music stations between Nashville and Oklahoma City than there were 10 years ago.
Which brings me to Red Solo Cup.
It’s Toby Keith’s latest single and the video has over 8 million views on youtube. The song is, well, I’ll go ahead and say it … ’cause Mr. Keith did too … it’s stupid. But it’s everywhere. I kept hearing it (or jokes about it) on the radio. It’s all over Facebook and Twitter. It was even covered in an episode of Glee last month.
Which means you need to know about it. So if you haven’t seen it already, watch the video (and please don’t curse me when you can’t get the song out of your head at 2 am). The lyrics are here.
We don’t talk a lot about country music. Some of you have kids that listen, and we get requests occasionally for more country-esque options in Youth Leaders Only (FYI they are few and far between, but we do keep our ears open). But “Red Solo Cup” transcends a style of music. It’s a party song (and students love party songs). It’s catchy (in a stuck-in-your-head-like-popcorn-gets-stuck-in-your-teeth kind of way). And it went viral.
Want the good news first?
Seriously, there is some good news. With country music, there’s usually no “hidden” message. This is a straight-up drinking song, but at least you don’t have to strain and listen 20 times to catch the meaning.
Now the bad news
That means your kids know what it’s all about too. There’s no “I just listen cuz it sounds good” argument on this one. They’re singing along with Toby:
Red solo cup I fill you up
Lets have a party lets have a party
I love you red solo cup I lift you up
Proceed to party proceed to party
For those of you who do have some country fans in your group, it shouldn’t surprise you that over one third of country songs reference alcohol. And more and more of country’s clean-cut all-American artists are singing about drugs too.
“Red Solo Cup” won’t be around forever. But I’ve written before about how music sticks with us. I hope you’ve found some ways to stay aware of what your students are hearing and seeing. If you’re a Youth Leaders Only member, check out the re:tuned section of your Music Resource Book – it’s a great way to use mainstream songs to jump in to spiritual conversations. Or if you’re not a YLO member, sign up for our need2know emails to get the free re:tuned downloads we send out every two weeks.