Every once in a while a song hits the radio stations that becomes an instant favorite of mine. Country artist Toby Keith’s song “American Ride” was one of those for me. I recently saw him in concert at the Post Gazette Pavilion in Pittsburgh, PA and he played this song live. I love the energy and emotion he pours into it. You can really tell that he loves his country, (in this, and many of his other songs) but you can also tell that he sees it spinning out of control…The second verse to the song says:
“Daddy works his can off payin’ for the good life.
Kids on the YouTube learnin how to be cool.
Livin in a cruel world, pays to be a mean girl.”
This is illustrating the way things are in America today. The father works hard in order to provide a good life for his wife and children while the kids sit at home and learn how to be cool (or at least what the world thinks is cool) on youtube and other social networking sites. Now, I know I’m not a kid anymore, but 24 is not that far away from being a teenager. I can relate to what Toby says next, in that I saw this kind of thing as I was in my teenage years. The last line does an adequate job of explaining what it’s like to be a kid in this day and age. We truly do live in a cruel world and kids are forced to get tough and be “mean girls (and guys)” in order to survive the cruelty of the world we live in.
The chorus of the song says:
“Thats us, Thats right
Gotta love this American ride.
Both ends of the ozone burnin.
Funny how the world keeps turnin.
Look ma, no hands.
I love this American ride.”
Toby is saying that this is the way it is, and we have no choice but to love it. I really like when he says “both ends of the ozone burnin…funny how the world keeps turnin.” This lyric reminds me of Billy Joel’s hit song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” from 1989. Mr. Joel says “we didn’t start the fire; it was always burning since the world’s been turning.” Now, twenty years later, Toby is saying that it is still the same way and he’s riding it with “no hands.” This is to illustrate living dangerously.
The third verse of the song says:
“Poor little infamous America’s town.
She gained five pounds and lost her crown.
Quick fix plastic surgical antidote.
Got herself a record deal, can’t even sing a note.”
This verse portrays the way society views women. In the song, a woman gained five pounds and lost her crown (probably talking about a beauty contest). She then got the “quick fix” and had plastic surgery, which she thought would be the antidote to her problems. Toby then says that she got herself a record deal and she can’t even sing a note. This is how it is today as well. If a woman is sexy, she can do anything. Record companies will sign them because of their looks, not their talents, or lack thereof!
Lastly, and my main reason for writing about this song, the fourth verse says:
“Plasma gettin bigger, Jesus gettin smaller.
Spill a cup of coffee, make a million dollars.
Customs caught a thug with an aerosol can.
If the shoe don’t fit, the fit’s gonna hit the shan.”
Toby hit the nail on the head with this opening line. He has observed, as most people have, that the plasma TV’s (or worldly possessions) are getting bigger (people want bigger and better things) and Jesus is getting smaller. He’s saying that people are so focused on worldly possessions, wealth, and having the best stuff that Jesus is becoming less important to them. People think that this song is a knock on Jesus, but it’s really a knock on us for allowing possessions to become larger than Jesus in our lives. Toby goes on to say “spill a cup of coffee, make a million dollars.” This is referring to the incident years ago when someone spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee on them and sued McDonalds because the coffee was hot and burnt them. Coffee is hot…it’s common sense. There’s no reason to sue a company over it. You’re the dummy who spilled it! The last line in this verse is a new realization to me (as of 3 minutes ago). I never realized what he was saying until I looked it up. I won’t spell out what he’s saying, but replace the “f” in “fit” with an “sh” and replace the “sh” in “shan” with an “f” and you got the message of what Toby is saying.I love this song and the rest of Toby’s patriotic songs. I love this country and I support the troops, but like Toby, I see that things are getting far worse.
This is just my interpretation of the song. You may have a different or better one. Regardless, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
P.S. – I fully support Toby Keith’s decision to drive Ford trucks!– paulg