Tag Archives: Good Old Boys

Day 285: Randy Newman – Good Old Boys

10 Dec

Back On My Feet Again

And the Suggestion Train will keep on chugging, straight into The United States’ worse half, for Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys.

Seconds into this record, I knew that I recognized that voice.  It had to be the dude who wrote “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” for Toy Story, it just had to be.  A few more seconds in, and I realized that it was also the guy behind “It’s A Jungle Out There,” the Monk theme song. Naturally, I was a little confused.  Why is the creator of such wholesome and family-friendly songs from my childhood singing about rednecks in a Jeff Foxworthy-after-a-little-too-much-whiskey way, full of racism and hatred?

Newman’s ironic and satirical style took about half of a song for me to get used to. Once I realized that “Rednecks” is in fact a criticism of the lifestyle that at first appears to be celebrated, I quickly fell in love with this record.

While the South-loathing schtick isn’t prominent on every song—quite a few tracks seem to be tributes—there’s still plenty to enjoy for the average northerner.  Newman’s got a cool voice; he always has.  God knows how many times I watched Toy Story as a little kid, so I might even owe him for fostering my love of unconventional voices early on.  Newman’s vocals and stories are the clear centerpieces of this record, but the instrumentation should be acknowledged as well.  Thankfully, he stays close to a piano throughout, and this sounds little like the country record that it kind of is.