Country music is like root beer. If you do not acquire a taste for it in your early days, it stands little chance of being loved. I rarely heard country music while I was growing up, so most of it sounds like maudlin static to me. I blamed Garth Brooks most of all for the great country infestation of pop radio. In the end, I think pop won that siege. When I hear country radio these days (almost never intentionally), it sounds like pop dressed in pedal steel, arpeggios and twang.
Pair Garth Brooks and KISS, and there’s a combo burrito of two brands of macho I can barely stand. I don’t want a dude in spandex wearing a top that looks like an underwire bra for his chest hair singing about licking anything. Even less do I want to see a man wearing a belt buckle big enough to cut him in two strut around on stage.
I’m not sure why I didn’t seek the nearest fallout shelter when they appeared on stage together twenty-two years ago. I figured that a song from a tribute album called Kiss My Ass might be worth a listen. Back then, I suspected that the pairing was so absurd it could work, and it did.
“Hard Luck Woman” suits Garth Brooks so well that it’s hard to believe that this song wasn’t written for a country singer in the first place.
I guess I shouldn’t blame for Garth Brooks for rise of country music into the mainstream. Along with bands like the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS helped open the ears of America to songs about trucks, tractors and badadonka donk donks.