24 April 2008

Collected thoughts on Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee"

Have you guys seen this fine series of Garfield tribute videos? I like a lot of these, but right now I think my favorite is this one...

I don't know how this happened, but the song got really, really, really stuck in my head. To the point where I had to search for the lyrics and information about the song online, and then download it and listen to it a million times. Over and over, like penance. And, the next logical step of course was to watch the music video. Here is a play-by-play of what I got from it, let me just get this all out so I can move on with my life:

- Alan Jackson is waterskiing in a cowboy hat and jeans with the knees all torn out. Concerned about safety? Alan Jackson is too - he has aviator glasses and an 80s-looking life vest. Cute!

- According to the lyrics, he is "learn[ing] how to swim and learn[ing] who he [is]." This is represented by an old man fishing from a rowboat, and a bunch of crazy young kids driving into a river in a manner that looks unsafe.

- "It gets hotter than a hoochie-coochie"? I don't know what that means, and the video isn't telling me.

- Stereotypical country song staples roll-call: Pickup truck? Present. Hound of some kind? Present. American flag? Present. It's in the background but I see it. I see it with my eyes... and with my heart.

- "We fogged up the windows of my old Chevy / I was willin' but she wasn't ready / So I settled for a burger and a grape snowcone..." Really? I kind of don't believe him. Actually, now I feel terrible saying that about him because he is the American hero who brought us the 9/11 tribute, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)".

- For a second there he wasn't waterskiing on skiis, but on the soles of his cowboy boots. Wait, he just totally topped that by playing his guitar while being towed in an innertube, wearing cowboy boots. And he acted like he was paddling with the guitar.

- There are a lot of things in this video that don't make sense, mostly because it's just a random collection of scenes with limited continuity. There's Alan Jackson, there's a younger version of him maybe, there's no one around him, there's a party, it's all over the place. There are a lot of things in the song that are straight-up descriptions of simple visuals that should be present but AREN'T - like foggy windows, and a pyramid of cans in the pale moonlight.

- Remember the guy fishing in the rowboat? At the end of the video, he catches a white cowboy hat on his line. For a split second when I saw that, I thought it meant that Alan Jackson was in trouble because his hat was floating around in the river. Remember in Oregon Trail when you tried to ford the river but your wagon fell over and someone's death was represented by that little hat bobbing along on the water? Nooo Alan!

But then it cuts back to Alan Jackson, who is still wearing his hat - a compelling twist ending!

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