You know what's not on that list? Country music and the sexy lamp test. The sexy lamp test is a media test. If a woman in a piece of media can be replaced with a sexy lamp, it fails the sexy lamp test. Presumably, you can have sex with the lamp. I have to make that last point because I've been wondering lately if some of the country music I like can pass the sexy lamp test.
The album I'm most eager to look over is Trace Adkin's "Chrome." I think I bought "Chrome" in 2001 because of "I'm Tryin'." I've always referred to it as redneck music and I absolutely stand by that. The whole thing is just chock-filled with redneck whining about lost romances and weird cities and cars.
Chrome-Case in point: the first song is how awesome it is to have chrome on your truck. Actually, it's about a woman who doesn't like traditionally feminine things and is more interested in chrome. Certainly, it sells its audience on the idea that a truck with a lot of chrome will attract females of the opposite sex. Passes because the woman actively wants to drive said chrome-alicious truck.
Help Me Understand-This one is a guy whining about how he didn't see his relationship fall apart and how he's really lonely now. Certainly, everything that he's missing (being held when he's lonely, showing him the light) is more than a sexy lamp could provide. Leaving him is also something that a sexy lamp couldn't do, but then a sexy lamp can be stolen. In most media, a woman is taken and used as a motivation for a man to do something. It presupposes that other than the man's interest in her, she does nothing. Help Me Understand fails on that criterion.
Once Upon a Fool Ago-The lady in the question here, allegedly a woman, is pushing him, but it might be more of an emotional push. He also shared some goodbyes with her, but parting on bad terms again doesn't afford any agency beyond leaving him. He could have actually thrown it away or sold it in a garage sale. Even when she creeps into his dreams, it's really his loss that's the issue, not what he's done wrong. There is self-recrimination here, but it focuses on the last few decisions he's made, and not how his decisions affected his sexy lamp. Fail.
I'm Tryin'-Man, this guy pulls more all-nighters and double shifts than a doctor in a dramatic, sexy doctor show. He's talking about how he's trying to move on with his life after a divorce, but his wife is calling him and nagging him for money, so it actually passes the test. It's also talking about how he's persevering in the face of adversity instead of bitching about how he lost his favorite lamp, so bonus points.
Thankful Man-Hey, it's another song about working hard and doing the best you can. It's about being grateful for the things you've got, even the setbacks you've experienced. He talks about his mom a bit and the things she teaches him about morality, so either a pass or N/A, but I'd lean for a pass.
I'm Payin' for It Now-Beginning to think the "G" on Trace Adkin's keyboard was broke in 2001. We start with another missing lamp mystery, but it wrote a note. Robbers could have done that, but you can't argue with a sexy lamp and "I'm Payin' for It Now" is nothing if not a man drunkenly arguing with his ex, an actual person, over how bad he feels about her leaving. It's either a pass or the weirdest robbery/ransom in the world.
And There Was You-Wow, for all the past heartbreak this song talks about, I'd expect it to be at the end of the album. None the less, despite all of the good things said about the (alleged) woman in this scenario, the only thing the titular "you" does is love him, make him feel better, and tell him it loves him. It's kind of creepy if you think of it as some kind of hybrid body pillow/sexy lamp. I mean, there are guys on the internet who think they're in monogamous relationships with Twilight Sparkle, so I'm inclined to give this one a fail.
Come Home-This one's strange because it's based on the recipient having the ability to choose to return. The lyrics talk about a guy who's modified their behavior to be less of the things that drive them apart in the first place. Granted, he also says he forgives them for leaving in the first place, which gives the rest a familiar ring of insincerity, but it's a pass.
Scream-"It's pure electricity, you get into me baby." All I can imagine is a guy fucking a sexy lamp, electrocuting his dick, and screaming so his petrified, bewildered neighbors can hear. Imagine making eye contact with that guy as you bring your garbage to the curb the next day, because he's not ashamed. Nonono; he's happy. He's finally found happiness. The worst part is that you know how. God help you, you know how.
I'm Goin' Back-C'mon! Man! You had a "G" at the beginning of that word. It's right there! Did it go missing while you were hitting the other three letters in that word? Sheesh. There isn't any heartbreak here; just a guy talking about how he doesn't really fit in L.A., which seems relatable. It's one of the better tracks on album just because he's talking about something he likes (the country) instead of something he doesn't. Granted, one doesn't usually by country music as a pick-me-up, so maybe I'm the asshole here.
Give Me You-Again, the titular "you" doesn't so much here. It's just a thing he wants alongside manners, a good vacation, and a movie with real heroes. It's the most important of those things, but still. He does talk about the "pleasure and purpose" that it gives him, and if we accept he's could fuck a lamp easily, then I guess we'd have to debate the "purpose" a sexy lamp could give a person. I'm voting "not much," which gives "Give Me You," a pass for a single, alliterative word.
Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow-Well, we can assume that he needs the recipient to have sex with him. Hardcore. All he wants is sex. Crazy, might-die-tomorrow-even-though-we-won't-I-probably-have-a-thing-for-apocalyptic-sex-now-that-I-think-about-it sex. Not-taking-you-for-granted sex. I mean, wanting to be with someone and imagining a apocalyptic scenario in which you're the one they want to die fucking certainly isn't objectification. It's strangely, weirdly romantic. Pass.
On a whole, it's got seven passes, four fails, and a N/A. It might reflect a hardworking douche who doesn't possess the empathic skills to understand why his relationships fail, but the balance of "Chrome" (barely) tends to treat women like real people instead of a set of lost luggage, so good job.
Next week, I'll cover Travis Tritt's "Down the Road I Go." I might even throw in an image of the album cover because 2000's country styles were...well I'm just going to go with "Jesus chic."