One of the real pleasures of summertime is stumbling upon that one big hit that everyone you know starts blasting, that every radio station plays, and that seems to be the soundtrack for every fun summer event.
Remember “Call Me Maybe”? Of course you do.
If there’s anything like it for 2018, I haven’t heard it. But who said the song of the summer had to be released this year?
I’d like to nominate a new contender for 2018’s song of the summer: Alan Jackson’s 1992 song “Chattahoochee.” It’s become a hit for me and my roommate this summer – maybe because we live near the song’s titular river, but maybe also because it is a truly epic song with an even more epic music video.
In my experience, everyone who has seen it loves it. Clear hit potential (again). But in case the video alone isn’t enough, I submit to you the following case:
1. It’s so 90s.
Everyone loves the 90s, and we’re now living at a time in which the most active music demographic (the millennials) look back on the 90s with mad nostalgia. There are mullets, 90s cars, 90s fashions, and all the sounds and signs of 90s neo-traditional country music. Listen to “Chattahoochee” and you’ll be transported back to that magical time during the end of the Cold War and nearly a decade before the War on Terror and before Clinton / Bush / Obama / Trump. If there’s anything we need, it’s that.
2. It’s an innocent and optimistic song about coming of age.
Millennials who didn’t have the good fortune to grow up like Alan Jackson often found themselves without the freedom and adventure that comes with the rural living described in a country song like this. “Down by the river on a Friday night” is more like “inside looking at my phone alone on a Friday night.” This song flips the bird to the pretension and alienation many young people feel by providing a likeable, simple, and (mostly) healthy story of coming of age.
3. It’s over the top.
Enthusiasm is what made 80s music great, and that enthusiasm spilled over into much of the music of the 90s. The “Chattahoochee” music video especially has absolutely no shame. Alan Jackson strums his guitar while riding on an inner tube. He skis in blue jeans and a cowboy hat. He performs for wild dances of people by tiki torch light. I think there even might be a “yeehaw” in there. In these cynical days, you’d be arrested for having so much fun non-ironically.
That’s exactly why “Chattahoochee” succeeds.