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Brad Paisley meant every word he said in “Accidental Racist.”
The country singer’s latest song provoked much chatter online Monday, as it dredged to the surface hundreds of years of racial tension, political unrest and regional rivalry that still dominates much of the modern American landscape. The tune earned scorn online, from outlets such as Gawker, Vulture and Jezebel, which called it “The Worst Song Ever™.”
Late Monday night, Paisley defended the song on Twitter.
“So, as you buy this album, I hope it triggers emotions. I hope you feel joy, heartache, triumph, surprise; you laugh, cry, nudge someone beside you,” he wrote. “I hope the album rocks you, soothes you, raises questions, answers, evokes feelings, all the way through until Officially Alive,” Paisley continued, referring to his upcoming full length album.
Ostensibly a tune about fostering understanding between the north and south, and whites and blacks, the song used imagery such as the Confederate Flag and lamented the impact of Reconstruction, with lines such as, “I’m just a white man comin’ to you from the southland/Tryin’ to understand what it’s like not to be/I’m proud of where I’m from, but not everything we’ve done/And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history.”
The song also includes a verse and duet with LL Cool J, who provides the perspective of a black northerner.
Despite the criticism, Paisley is sticking by the track.
“‘Cause I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said in a final tweet. “This is a record meant to be FAR from easy listening. But fun. Like life. Have a ball, y’all.”
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