As always, for those who haven’t heard this song, you can listen here. There are so many things that I love about this song, and I think I was expecting a little more out of the video – the first time I watched it was just now, before writing this post. No matter. The video is never what is most important.
This song begins like a similar song by Kelly Clarkson called “You Can’t Win.”[i] The whole first verse is full of dichotomies. They’re funny – I was chuckling to myself the first time I listened to this song, after reading about it in an article in Entertainment Weekly about the songwriter.[ii] But then I heard the chorus, and everything was different.
So make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into
When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint or don’t
Just follow your arrow wherever it points
Yeah, follow your arrow wherever it points
Oh gosh, where should I even begin to express my love for this? Part of the reason I love it so much more than the similar “You Can’t Win” is that Kelly Clarkson’s version has no conclusion. The title is what you gain from the song – no matter what, you can’t win. But Kacey Musgraves has a different spin on it, which is why I love it so much. You don’t have to win, because you shouldn’t care! Follow your arrow, your heart, and eff everyone else. How wonderful is that?
And that’s without even mentioning that she addresses both gay rights and marijuana, all in a single chorus.[iii] Perfecto.
Obviously, I’ve been expressing my love already for this song, but I haven’t even gotten to my favorite part yet. This is from the end of the second verse:
You can’t win for losing
You’ll just disappoint ‘em
Just because you can’t beat ‘em
Don’t mean you should join ‘em
So! On top of addressing two of the most controversial political topics in this country in the chorus, she also takes a stab at peer pressure. Just because you can’t beat them doesn’t mean you should join them. Truer words have not been found in any song on my radar.
It’s been a while since I’ve had an anthem, but I’m thinking this is going to be mine for a while. This song even inspired an idea of a tattoo that I want to get – an arrow on my right wrist pointing to my dominant hand – my writing hand. I have to follow my arrow, after all.
If anything can be taken from this song, it’s that you have to figure out what you love, what you’re passionate about, and pursue that. Yes, it will probably be a difficult journey. Yes, not everyone will be rooting for you. But when you succeed, when you follow your arrow – you’ll be not only happy, but you’ll be satisfied with your life and your choices. What more can you ask for?
Also, everyone should listen to Same Trailer, Different Park. It's fantastic. Everything that country music should be. I will be talking about at least one more of her songs in the coming weeks, so listen to the album, and stay tuned!
[ii] I had no idea Shane McAnally had written so many big hits – I love most of his songs, without even realizing they all came from the same songwriter.
[iii] For the record, I don’t have a position on the marijuana debate. But I’ve been fighting for gay marriage and equal rights for several years now. Everyone needs to know that about me, because it’s going to come up again and again.