"A Million Ways to Die" (CD Single)

Music review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
"A Million Ways to Die" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Funny western spoof is full of slapstick violence.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The message in "A Million Ways to Die" is in no way positive -- but it's also in no way serious. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Almost every line of this tongue-in-cheek western anthem involves a violent incident. Death can be caused by anything from gunshots to vicious coyotes to a paper cut  (or a knife in the back, or frying in the sun, or smallpox or bigger pox, or tomahawks), but it's all played for laughs. The music video is rife with blood, splatter, and gore. 


The music video shows a woman tantalizing a man with what's under her dress, and there are scenes of a woman and man in bed.


The one use of "s--t" in this song earned the track an explicit rating. The offending line goes: "...[Y]ou can hear coyotes cry / They'll eat you up and then they'll shit you out again / 'cause there's a million ways to die."


This song supports the movie A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the music video is full of scenes from the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The music video shows plenty of people drinking heavily in an old saloon.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that country star Alan Jackson's single "A Million Ways to Die" is from the soundtrack to Seth MacFarlane's comedy film A Million Ways to Die in the West. This played-for-laughs western song lists ways a person can die: gunshots, paper cut, frying in the sun, smallpox or bigger pox, deadly tomahawks, punishment for stealing a pie or succeeding at cards: "They'll cut your ankle off to cure a minor cough." The lyrics are rendered even funnier by the deadpan soberness of Jackson's vocal and the full-blown spaghetti western-style musical production. One use of the word "s--t" earned this funny song its explicit rating. The official lyric video is interspersed with footage from the film and shows plenty of blood, splatter, and gore, as well as drinking in saloons and some sexual situations.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byrebma97 June 2, 2014

Catchy country parody tune

I haven't seen the movie, but I listened to the song on Spotify. It's a catchy song, and the lyrics are supposed to be funny. It's kind of here n... Continue reading

What's the story?

Alan Jackson's single A MILLION WAYS TO DIE is a soundtrack song from the Seth MacFarlane comic western film A Million Ways to Die in the West. Musically, the song borrows from other popular western themes, such as the song "Rawhide" (from the TV series). Jackson sings in a serious, deadpan voice about the many ways one can die in the west, whether it's "Six bullets in the gut, or just a paper cut" or "Smallpox or bigger pox, and deadly tomahawks." There's one use of "s--t" that earned this tongue-in-cheek song its explicit rating: "Out on the desert plains it hardly ever rains / and you can hear coyotes cry / They'll eat you up and then they'll s--t you out again." At the end of the partial list of the million ways one might die in the west, Jackson sings, "It's a kick in the pants but you don't have a chance / of escaping a million ways to die."

Is it any good?

This comic theme to Seth MacFarlane's film A Million Ways to Die in the West wouldn't be nearly as effective without an authentic country-and-western singer such as Alan Jackson on vocals. He uses the perfect deep and sober approach to this song, and the musical arrangement evokes great TV-western scores. This is a funny, well-informed spoof, and, even if kids don't recognize the musical points of reference, they'll still be entertained by the lyrics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about when violence is funny. What's the difference between violence and slapstick? How do you know this song is a satire? 

  • How do Alan Jackson's voice and performance contribute to the humor of this song?

  • To compare, check out non-comedy western themes, such as Ennio Morricone's music for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington's theme to the TV show Rawhide.

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