Much to the chagrin of the other humans in my immediate family, this song is far from the last off the country charts. But what you must know is that my relationship with country is…complicated.
There was nothing that I loved more than country music in 1991. The sounds of Clint Black and Clay Walker will always make my innocent girl heart so happy. But there is something that happened as the artist changed and the sound became 2012 country. It wasn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, I was still going to the rodeo, but something changed and I found other sounds.
Funny stuff, I don’t recall my parents listening to country. Country came into my life when my zeal for all things holy came to full bloom. Apparently, the unwritten rule of the southern moral measuring stick in the 90s said that Christian and country could co-exist. Don’t even get me started on “Fancy” and booze and “Earl” and boots under beds, but I digress. I loved Jesus, so I was cool with country. Until I found three genres: hip hop, singer songwriter and whatever the guy I wanted to hang around with was listening to. And ohhhh, was there more music out there.
Because of my immediate association to the past, prior to this year, I listened to 90’s country and a few other songs with a nice country bass line about 3 times a year. Just enough to annoy the alt-heads in my family. But something happened this year. I started listening to country again. It started with old songs. The ones that I could remember laughing and crying to. Then I found newer artists. The ones that had good stories and better rasp. You will hear a few of my new faves on this list, and this is one of them.
Back to that “Girl on Fire”
This is a great opportunity to point out that if you read into the words of these songs, you are going to miss the mark. Take for instance this song. I was not the girl on fire. Ever. I did not have a boy wanting to chase the girl on fire. But this year, I listened to this song and with no connection to the melody or lyric, I wanted more country.
I’d wanted to remember the times when the biggest decision was whether I was upset about 93Q “turning country” or if I was going to admit that I owned explicit CDs. I wanted to hug the girl that threw away her cassette tapes because she thought they gave her impure thoughts. I wanted to remind the girl that has always LOVED country dancing that you can dance even if everyone arounds you hates it. You get to choose.
What I think I have discovered (please, I’m less sure than ever) is that the people that you want in your corner secretly know the words and tap their feet to YOUR country songs even when they hate the sound. It’s weird how love works. It warps the things that you want to protect. And maybe that’s what the girl on fire is all about. She knows who she is and that’s what creates her fire. I’d like to think that the darkness of the past few years has just been preparation for the bonfire that is about be lit in my life. Because, truth be told, I’ve got some fire starting to make up for. So I’ve been dreaming. And allowing the meld of the new and the old to help me envision a world where it all comes together. This is the kind of reconnection I’m looking for today. One where I can explore the forgotten, honor the truth of what is and dream a beautiful rainbow musical dream for tomorrow that includes Melissa and Tanya and Snoop.