Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thanks for the High Life

This post might seem like a bit of catharsis, and perhaps that is the case. A few weeks ago, El and I ended our five-year relationship. I am not sure there was any single reason for the breakup. I guess we had different thoughts about the future, had different wants and needs, were growing apart, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, she moved out of the townhouse and into her own apartment a couple of weekend ago. Some of her friends from work came over to help her pack and move her things. El bought some pizza and beer for everybody while they were here helping.

Her stuff is gone, so now the place is pretty empty. Since I am not the most adventurous of cooks, we agreed that she should clean out the refrigerator and take whatever food and ingredients she knew she would use and I would not. The fridge was not particularly full before and was even more empty afterward. One of the few items left was a single bottle of Miller High Life that was left over from a six-pack she had bought during the move. It occurred to me that an ex-girlfriend leaving a bottle of High Life in the fridge would make a great country song. It would be appropriately titled "Thanks for the High Life".

Many country songs are written in a simple three-verse formula. I have not really listened to country music regularly since the 90s, so most of these examples will be dated. Songs that follow the three-lyric formula include "Don't Take the Girl" sung by Tim McGraw, "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle, and "Love Without End, Amen" and "Check Yes or No" from George Strait. Incidentally, George Strait happens to be my Mama's favorite singer.

The first verse in this type of song presents the theme of the song in a straight-forward manner. It could be an innocent story about an early-life experience like learning to drive or memories of a favorite pet. It could be a reference to sports such as winning the big game. Another option is to present a challenge that has to be overcome. The first verse of my song would establish the story of a guy whose girlfriend has broken up with him and left a bottle of beer in the fridge. It would not have to be a single bottle in the song. Perhaps, a six-pack or a case would be more appropriate. This verse would end with a simple thanks for the beer.

The second verse continues the theme but usually with some twist. The childhood friend from the first verse could become a teenage girlfriend or a young wife. The high school football star could be shipped off to war. The second verse in my song would turn depressing with perhaps a touch of meanness. In this verse, the thanks for the high life would be a sarcastic reference to his lonely future without her. This verse might include lyrics about the beer helping him forget her with a sad joke about the sips being his first steps on the road to becoming an alcoholic.

The final verses of these songs continues the theme from the first two verses, but can take that theme in a variety of directions. If the song is a love song, the obvious answers are for the girlfriend to become a wife or for the verse to reflect on an older couple's life together. The final verses of country songs frequently include references to religion or patriotism. If the second verse is the low point of the song, the final verse can serve as the light at the end of the tunnel. The third and final verse of my song would turn reflective and show closure to the relationship. In this verse, the high life would refer to their relationship and how he appreciated their time together.

There are my thoughts for a country song. I do not think this will be the perfect country song like "You Never Even Called Me by My Name", but it is an idea.

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