Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pop Prick: Dierks Bentley "Sideways"

Pop Prick is by Josh Rank. He can be found at: www.joshrank.blogspot.com.

Dierks Bentley “Sideways”
The literary genius of Dierks Bentley

This Top 40 country song follows in the same vein of such literary greats like James Joyce, Virginia Woolfe, and William Faulkner. It’s rare to find a contemporary song that employs the classic writing device of “stream of consciousness” narrative.

“Hey girl, what’s your name?

It’s so loud in here I can’t hear a thing

But I sure do like your style

And I can see you came to rock

In your blue jeans and white tank top

Man, that look drives me wild”

It’s almost as if he wrote the lyrics without thinking about them at all. As if he were walking through a honky-tonk bar, saw a pretty little thing, and spoke exactly what he was thinking into a teletype.

It’s lyric writing like this that the world of music doesn’t see enough of. People spend too much time paying attention to rhyme, content, and general aesthetic pleasantness. Bentley may be at the forefront of a new movement in music.

After passing some time rambling, the song stumbles upon a few rhymes. This is where the song veers off course. It should have just stuck to lyrics that any drunk hillbilly could come up with after pouring a jug of moonshine down his throat so the genius would not be lost. However. Bentley tries to force some rhymes:

“And it’s, hey now, here we go

DJ don’t play nothing slow

Keep those girls out on the floor

Gotta make them want to come back for more”

He somehow manages to keep the hillbilly simplicity while including rhyming words. This is commendable for the simple fact that it still has mass appeal to the country community while employing some literary technique. This is why the song has managed the acclaim it has.

I, however, like to focus on the more unique aspects of the song. All the pretty rhymes overshadow, but don’t erase the stream-of-consciousness beauty.

“Ain’t no need to fight

Y’all take the redneck stuff outside

That’s what parking lots are for”

Beautiful. And he brings it back to the moonshine thought pattern by including two words that aren’t even words and a double negative. Jeff Foxworthy would be proud.

Bentley may seem like a dumbass who would fail a seventh grade English class, but that’s an image he's created just to sell records. His true love for classic literature pokes through in the subtle devices he uses to write his music. Now if only he could find a way to write about something more than drunk girls at a bar, he might gain the recognition he deserves in the literary community.


  1. I love the review except for the last paragraph. He has written other songs that show this literary side. His writing appeals to a broad audience. Many of us consider ourselves educated. However, I enjoy the conversation style in this particular song.

  2. Interesting blog. Thanks for the positive comments about Dierks. I just wanted to point out that he actually has written about something other than drunk girls at a bar. Long Trip Alone, Beautiful World, Better Believer are all literary genius in my opinion--and have nothing to do with drunk girls at a bar, but take on a more spiritual tone. While BW and BB will likely never make it to radio, LTA won him several Grammy nods, but the radio and country awards industry paid little recognition to it--it only made it to #10 on the charts.

    I agree, he deserves way more recognition in the literary community.

    DB Congress Chair

  3. Yeah, sarcasm just flat-out doesn't exist.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I like this text from the post: "People spend too much time paying attention to rhyme, content, and general aesthetic pleasantness..." is very interesting...some time ago I did a study on this subject, but the title was viagra online to have a two-way approach, the truth was very interesting results


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