An Open Letter to Q-106 & Country Radio Stations Everywhere: If You Value Women’s Lives, Please Stop Playing “Redneck Crazy”

I see I have some explaining to do. I’m going to have to admit to listening to (and liking) country music before I get any farther. As a young woman of Middle Eastern descent who grew up first-generation American in the heart of the Midwest, I often find myself in the midst of cultural identity crises such as this one. Growing up, I tried really hard not to like country music. I was too cool, obviously, in my studded camouflage bell-bottoms from Old Navy, and anyway I couldn’t relate. My mom doesn’t make casseroles, potato salads, or apple pies. She does, however, cook large quantities of white rice like it is going out of style, serve Arabic coffee in cup sizes that Starbucks customers would throw a fit over, and shape ground lamb into kafta for my dad to grill outside in the sweet Michigan summer nights the way most people in our neighborhood grilled hamburgers.

Ah, those summer nights. They are the reason I couldn’t escape the love of country music. You can’t come of age on the shores of Lake Michigan, cruising up and down the Grand Haven strip, riding shotgun with sand between your bare toes and your car windows rolled down, warm wind blowing through your chlorine-bleached hair without listening to it on the radio. And once you’ve come that far, you understand why it’s the perfect thing to listen to the second the world starts getting green again. And the perfect thing to listen to any time you get in your car and want to pretend the world is getting green again. Which is every time that you get in your car when you live in the Midwest between November and March.

Which brings me to my point. I am sick of hearing “Redneck Crazy” every time I get in my car. It’s not the sick I normally am of songs in heavy rotation on radio stations. Instead, I get sick on a gut-level that someone not only decided this song would be okay to write and share with others, but also that other people thought it would be okay to broadcast publicly and so damn often.

“Redneck Crazy,” while catchy in tune, is dangerous in idea. Because it is a popular country song right now, the message it sends is constantly on repeat on multiple stations in any given American city as we speak. And by continuing to broadcast the song, radio stations everywhere are supporting, indirectly or otherwise, its message, which is: “It’s okay to stalk someone you used to be intimate with if they don’t want to be intimate with you anymore.” Here’s the thing though: it’s not.

Stalking is a telltale sign of intimate partner violence, a pattern of abusive behavior by one person toward the other in an intimate or formerly intimate relationship. Stalking is also a major indicator of a batterer’s potential for lethality, or risk for murdering or attempting to murder his or her partner or former partner. With domestic violence killing anywhere between 50-80 people in Wisconsin alone every single year (mostly in murders perpetrated by men against women), its symptoms are not to be taken lightly. Let’s disrupt this cycle of blindly accepting or at least being silently complicit in all the little things in our culture that try to normalize misogynistic, pathological behaviors by refusing to listen to songs like this one and drawing attention to why they are inappropriate.

And before I get accused of being sexist myself, I’ll go ahead and throw it out there that basically every Carrie Underwood song should be boycotted for similar reasons. It’s not acceptable to destroy somebody’s property or murder somebody because they no longer want to be with you. Even if you’re cute, blonde, and don’t have a penis. So, you can stop spreading psycho messages to tween girls everywhere.

*     *     *

Here are the lyrics to “Redneck Crazy,” if you’re dying to know them. My smart-ass commentary in brackets.

Gonna drive like hell through your neighborhood [that sounds safe]
Park this Silverado on your front lawn [probably not the most considerate place to park]
Crank up a little Hank
Sit on the hood and drank [*drink]
I’m about to get my pissed off on.

I’m gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows [not creepy]
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn’t come here to start a fight [Really? That’s not the vibe I was getting…]
But I’m up for anything tonight
You know you broke the wrong heart, baby
And drove me redneck crazy [there’s actually a clinical term for that: “sociopath.”]

Wish I knew how long it’s been goin’ on
How long you’ve been gettin’ some on the side

[At this point, I actually feel bad for you. But let’s be real. Even though cheating’s not cool and getting your heart broken is the worst, you can’t control other people. Dating or even marrying someone doesn’t give you the power or ownership over them. They still get to make their decisions, which include cheating on you and/or starting relationships with new people, and you don’t get to endanger or intimidate them over it].

Naw, he can’t amount to much by the look of that little truck
Well he won’t be gettin’ any sleep tonight

I’m gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn’t come here to start a fight
But I’m up for anything tonight
You know you broke the wrong heart, baby
And drove me redneck crazy
Redneck crazy

Did ya think I’d wish ya both the best?
Endless love and happiness?
You know that’s just not the kind of man I am

[Read: “I am not evolved enough to realize that all human beings should feel love and happiness, even the shitty ones, because that would make the world a better place.”]

Yeah, I’m the kind that shows up at your house at 3 AM [Much better.]

 I’m gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn’t come here to start a fight
But I’m up for anything tonight
You’ve gone and broke the wrong heart, baby
And drove me redneck crazy.
You drove me redneck crazy, oh yeah

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About Christina

Milwaukee-based bon vivant. Lover of food, yoga, design, good words & loving kindness.
This entry was posted in Essays, Feminism, Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to An Open Letter to Q-106 & Country Radio Stations Everywhere: If You Value Women’s Lives, Please Stop Playing “Redneck Crazy”

  1. Reblogged this on 14thgradenothing and commented:
    I thought I might be the only person in the world with a problem with this song! It’s a definite trigger for me and I have to change the station immediately when it comes on. There’s nothing romantic, or appropriate to glorify, about stalking.

  2. Anna says:

    LOL i love this how did i just see it

  3. Lauren says:

    Your commentary is fucking hilarious.

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