My Top 1000 Songs #259: Papa Was A Rodeo
The Magnetic Fields' monstrously overstuffed 1999 opus 69 Love Songs is riddled with wonderous nuggets. It's hard to pick a favorite, or just a few (my homemade single-CD distillation 23 Love Songs is pretty perfect). But I've always had a soft spot for "Papa Was A Rodeo," undoubtedly the greatest Gay Truckers In Love Faux Country Song ever recorded. It manages to be both wickedly clever in its send-up of country conventions, yet devastatingly poignant as pure romance. The mere fact that nobody before Stephin Merritt had come up with the line "Never stuck around long enough for a one-night stand" before is somewhat shocking.
It's got a languid pace, and Merritt's spooky baritone, yet it's beautiful and absurd and still thrills.Live:Americana crooner Kelly Hogan does a great cover; here she is performing it live: