The Agent’s Lyrical Breakdown of Luke Bryan’s “Most People Are Good”

So, no sooner did I put out my declaration of disgust for Country music, I found one that seemed to fly in the face of most of my statements.

Luke Bryan’s ” Most People Are Good” isn’t a sad, pity song like most old-school Country nor is it an obnoxiously chipper party anthem that co-ops Rap because it’s too ashamed to be called country. Instead, what we have here is an inspirational ballad meant to lift spirits and keep us soldiering on through hard times because life is worth living – a sentiment that I’ve championed more than a few times here.

So by that logic, you’d think I’d like this song. But, no. There are a lot of lyrics that I have hang-ups with that make my skin crawl. And since I had so much fun destroying Meghan Trainor’s work by applying logic to her lyrics, I thought I could do the same with Luke here to edify while getting some cheap yuks through riffing. So, let’s begin.

“I believe kids oughta stay kids as long as they can…”

You hear that, mom and dad? Luke wants me to move back in with you and sit around the house watching old Looney Tunes shorts and eating Kix cereal.

Look, living life like you’re young is okay to a point, but you’ve got to grow up and forge your own way at some point.

“… Turn off the screen, go climb a tree, get dirt on their hands”

Ah, so that first line just meant that you’re a crotchety old bastard who doesn’t like them new-fangled smarty phones.

You do realize that ‘the screen’ you want me to turn off is the only way most of us even know who the hell you are, right? Traditional radio is being fazed out and almost no one consumes physical media anymore. So maybe you shouldn’t, to reference a better musical talent, “bite the hand that feeds”.

“I believe we gotta forgive and make amends/’Cause nobody gets a second chance to make new old friends”

A noble sentiment and all, but a bit too broad for my comfort levels. I can think of quite a few people I wouldn’t want to rekindle a friendship with; school bullies, egomaniac ex-girlfriends, junkies, ETC. You’ve got to start vetting people a little bit for your own sake.

“I believe in working hard for what you’ve got/Even if it don’t add up to a hell of a lot”

So do I. I’m an old farmer’s kid myself. However, the way you word it here makes it sound like you think we shouldn’t demand better for that hard work. You should always demand better and fair pay for your effort. That’s LITERALLY what this whole “Fight for $15” campaign to raise the minimum wage is all about.

“I believe most people are good/And most mama’s oughta qualify for sainthood”

Firstly, I think Sturgeon’s Law would argue with you on that first point.

Secondly, I love my parents. They’ve always been supportive of me even when I was a genuine scumbag. But speaking of parents in general, they’re just like any other group of people; a few keepers and a WHOLE LOT OF BASTARDS. Just ask the gay kid with the homophobic mom if he thinks she’s saint material. Ask the beaten and bruised girl what she thinks of her alcoholic dad when he abuses her. The idea that parents deserve your respect by default just because they farted you out of/into their orifices is an outdated and toxic one and needs to be buried. Let them earn respect like everyone else.

“I believe most Friday nights look better under neon or stadium lights”

Okay, neon lights CAN be pretty. But so can the stars that the light pollution from your lights blots out. This is just subjective B.S. meant to pander to emotion and doesn’t add anything to your critical commentary on the state of the world. Next line, please.

“I believe you love who you love/Ain’t nothing you should ever be ashamed of”

You know what? I can’t complain about this line. I totally agree with you on this.

Though if I had to nit-pick (which I do for the sake of comedy), your lack of mastery of proper English is starting to wear thin on me.

“I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks”

That may be true, but that doesn’t mean you start slacking off. When you see a problem, you attack it head on – you protest, raise awareness, raise money, organize people, ETC. Letting things fall by the wayside just because, “it’s not a big deal,” is how things BECOME a big deal.

“I believe them streets of gold are worth the work/But I still wanna go even if they were paved in dirt”

Well, scientifically speaking, gold is so heavy for its size and so much softer than standard paving asphalt that the cost of transporting and upkeep would NOT be worth the work. But I get what you’re saying. It’s the same chestnut as before with your “working hard for what you’ve got” line and I stand by my rebuttal.

Also, what’s with you cowboy types and your dirt obsession? I can only imagine that folks like this see pictures of dust bowls and get the most Brobdingnagian erections you’ve ever seen.

“I believe that youth is spent well on the young/’Cause wisdom in your teens would be a lot less fun”

Oh yeah. Not knowing how to balance my bank account, wondering how credit cards work, paying people to do my taxes because no one taught me, trying to learn to cook on my own. Every day was just like F***ING DISNEYLAND as a teen.

Seriously though, this line pisses me off more than any of the others. This whole “ignorance is bliss” bulls*** needs to stop.

“I believe if you just go by the nightly news/Your faith in all mankind would be the first thing you lose”

Well, sure, if your only news sources are angry d-bags on either side of the political spectrum like Fox or Young Turks. That’s why I have #GoodNewsFriday on my Twitter and Facebook pages. You’ve got to spice it up. Get your news from a variety of sources.

“I believe that days go slow and years go fast/And every breath’s a gift, the first one to the last”

And more emotional pandering. Not the best way to end your song, sir.

Okay, I rag on the lyrics here. But I don’t honestly think Luke is as shallow as I’ve made him out to be here. As it turns out, this kind of sappy, feel-good music is just really easy to make fun of.

Unfortunately for Mr. Bryan, happy music that acts like it has all the answers just doesn’t make for good art to me. Combine that with the slow, edgeless tone, and you have a song that fails on just about every level to engage me.

Ah, this was fun. Remind me to do this again sometime.


Why The Playstation 4 “Perfect Day” Commercial Is Brilliant

Most people wouldn’t think of advertising and marketing as credible forms of art, but you’d be surprised at how much effort goes into putting a powerful message into a simple ad.

Today, many commercials have gone viral and have become just as memorable as the television shows they appear in the middle of. However, speaking as someone with some marketing experience (my first tasks in college involved designing ads for print/web and marketing to a live audience), I was a little sad that I wasn’t seeing the kind of memorable effort I use to see in the business of selling product. Many seemed to be very uninspired and by the books.

Naturally, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the “Perfect Day” commercial that was part of the Playstation 4’s “Greatness Awaits” campaign. Granted the PS4 itself does nothing to impress me (this console generation has been VERY disappointing so far), but I have to admire the effort that was put into this simple ad. Let me take some time to show you what I see.

The Tagline

Let’s start with the tagline of the campaign as a hole; “Greatness awaits.” To a non-gamer this may sound silly. “Greatness?”, they may be heard to say. “What’s so great about staring at a T.V. Screen blankly pushing buttons?”

To understand the greatness in “Greatness awaits,” you need to understand positive reinforcement. Most of us know the basics; reward a person’s behavior and they will be more likely to repeat it later on.

For gamers, that reward comes in the feeling of accomplishment from the completion of a challenge. Whether it’s beating the boss, solving a puzzle or coming out above your friends in a match tournament – they have, in their little section of the world, achieved a level of greatness. That’s why unlockable achievements in games are so ubiquitous.

The Content

Now let’s look at what these two guys are actually doing. We see them beat the tar out of each other in various ways. The slash each other in one-on-one medieval combat, they throw each other into guardrails in races, and even blast one another to smithereens in futuristic war – all scenarios familiar to gaming. However, throughout this behavior, they remain smiling and happy even as they know they are about to be destroyed.

This is the mentality of the average gamer during a game; they welcome their opponent knowing that, win or lose, they will be happy to challenged and happier to share the experience with other people.

… And speaking of sharing things with people.

The Subtext

This is the part that blew me away.

Above I have placed the full song used in the commercial; Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.” Go ahead and give it a listen before you keep reading.

The song tells the story of a man and a someone very close to him (though many claim it’s also about heroin abuse, but Reed isn’t typically the kind to be subtle about drug use) and how they make him endlessly happy.

However, there is a dark edge to the song as well. In the second verse, he reveals how the person in question makes him feel better then he thinks he actually is (“Just a perfect day/You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else/Someone good”).

I like to think that this is a hidden feeling that a lot of gamers, particularly the competitive ones, feel regularly. They respect their opponents, resent them for being so much better or worse then they are, but love them for either making them feel superior and pushing them to improve their skills. This obviously was not the intent of Lou Reed when he wrote “Perfect Day,” but it does unintentionally capture what I see as an unspoken spirit of camaraderie amongst gamers.

Final (Over)Analysis

Yes, I admit that I am thinking about something that was not meant to be thought about as hard as I am. That being said the best frivolous things are the ones that hold up well when you look at them closer then the creator intended.

In addition to fulfilling its job to market goods, this ad also serves as a little love letter to the gaming community.

… Now if only they could put that love and care into the console itself.