What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ropin' the Wind confirmed Garth Brooks as a superstar and remains one of the best examples of the rock/country crossover that reinvented country music and brought it to a mass-market audience. Like country music in general, it combines a strong moral, sometimes religious viewpoint with a lot of adult subject matter, including drinkin', fightin', cheatin', and the loneliness of the road, in songs that sometimes go a little deeper or have a more clever twist than the usual clichés. "Papa Loved Mama" finds a jealous truck driver murdering his cheating wife, and the story involves kids; this may be a disturbing tale for younger ones. "Lonesome Dove" is a story of the Old West with gun violence by the good guys and the bad guys.
What's the story?
Following closely on Garth Brooks' breakthrough album No Fences, ROPIN' THE WIND was the first country album in history to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (pop) chart; the resulting mass-market attention, to say nothing of his classic country lyrics backed by a tight rock band, changed the face of the genre forever. Selling more than 10 million copies in its first two years of release, it was also the peak of Brooks' chart success.
Is it any good?
Before he went to pursue a career in Nashville, Garth Brooks got a college degree in advertising. This comes as little surprise in listening to crossover blockbuster Ropin' the Wind, which benefits from great attention to detail -- from the song selections and lyric choices to the excellent, powerhouse studio musicians -- in its quest to bring old-time country themes to audiences who never thought of themselves as country fans. It's all there: broken hearts, honky-tonks, the Wild West, and Jesus. Not to mention trucks, booze, cheatin', Mama, murder, and prison, wrapped into one neat package ("Papa loved Mama / Mama loved men / Mama's in the graveyard / Papa's in the pen"). Also (one of the album's three No. 1 singles) a torchy cover of Billy Joel's "Shameless."
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why country music seems to be about different subjects, and tells different stories, than pop music -- and whether this has anything to do with its success.
Do you prefer old-style country music, or the more rock-influenced kind that Garth Brooks makes?
Do you like the themes of country music even if you're a city kid?