New Country For Old Men: Joe Nichols, “Yeah!”

Published on August 8th, 2014 in: Music, New Country For Old Men |

By Jeffery X Martin


This is the South, damn it, and we are nothing if not polite. When attempting to obtain female companionship, we may leer at a girl from a distance for a while, but really, that’s the same thing women do while shoe shopping. Look at the shoes, imagine what the shoes would look like on, think about taking them out for a night, and then return them to the store the next day because they just don’t fit.

Is that wrong?

Country music doesn’t seem to think so, but at least one current hit song takes it to the next step: actual conversation. That’s right, boys talking to girls. The problem is, this song is based around the concept that it is perfectly all right to lie to a woman and totally misrepresent yourself, as long as you get to go back to the barn with her.

The song is called “Yeah!” and it is by an artist named Joe Nichols. He’s having a bit of a career resurgence this year. The first single from his album, Crickets, was a great song called “Sunny and 75,” about how even when things are crap and the weather is lousy, he looks at his girlfriend and he feels like he’s on the beach. It’s a nice sentiment, helped by a great arrangement.

So, “Yeah!” feels like a huge disappointment after that, a step backwards into the country quicksand of not really knowing how to relate to females. Analyzing and breaking down the lyrics shows just what a gleefully skeevy song this is.

The song takes place in a hayfield, where all the boys have parked their trucks in a circle and left their headlights on, the better to party with you by, my dear. Do people really do this when it doesn’t involve deer hunting? I don’t know. A pretty girl in a sundress comes into view, grabbing everyone’s attention.

She started walking over to me/Like she already knew me
She sat down right beside me/And asked if I was here alone

At this point, the woman is the aggressor. She approaches him. She makes the first move. She seems to have already made up her mind. There’s no reason for the narrator of the song to lie about anything. He’s already in! But the thought of actually letting his guard down, and perhaps paving the way for a **gasp** real relationship is too terrifying for him and he instantly resorts to lying.

He says, ”Yeah!” Of course, he’s there alone. Now, he may not be. His girlfriend could be off pissing in the bushes. We’ll never know. The other things he says don’t give us any reason to believe a word he says. The chorus is where we get his real mindset.

Whatever you’re drinkin’, that’s what I’m drinkin’
Girl, you’re callin’ the shots tonight
Whatever you’re thinkin’, that’s what I’m thinkin’
Tell me what you’ve got in mind, so I can say “Yeah, yeah!”

He’s known the girl 15 seconds, and he’s already giving her the “Yes, Dear” treatment.

She brings him a drink. He tries it and he doesn’t really like it, but he tells her he does. Then, she plays him some of her favorite music.

Kinda hit me kinda hippie, and I thought, “No.”/But I said, “Yeah, yeah!”

This guy is a disingenuous son of a bitch. He can’t even bring himself to say, “I don’t know, Dave Matthews kinda sucks now.” Dave Matthews DOES kinda suck now! Everyone knows it, and it’s okay! That’s why we still listen to Under the Table and Dreaming, and not much else! Differing musical taste is not going to be a deal-breaker, especially when it’s clearly indicated that you are already home free.

However, encouraged and bolstered by these lies, she takes him to the river for some night swimming. It doesn’t implicitly say “skinny dipping,” but I’m pretty sure that’s the deal. Then when he realizes it’s getting late, he asks if she needs to go home. She says, “No.”

There’s the punchline, kids. He’s been saying “yes” to all these things he doesn’t agree with, but she says “no” to the thing he does agree with, and he gets what he wants anyway, because this is some kind of Stepford Gals country wish fulfillment that I can’t wrap my head around.

Guys, telling lies to get laid is wrong even if you’re sure the girl wants to take you home anyway. That is her prerogative as an autonomous, choice-making, sentient being and, if you’re a smart lad, you’ll keep your fool mouth shut and go with it. Saying “yes” when you mean “no” sets every gender back a good 30 years. Can’t we have country songs that encourage listeners to be the best version of themselves possible?

I hope the answer is, “Yeah.”

One Response to “New Country For Old Men: Joe Nichols, “Yeah!””

  1. Cassie:
    August 11th, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Also I love how this night of 1,000 lies is supposed to be a favor to the girl, aka “you’re calling the shots.” I’m lying to you. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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