You Lie - The Band Perry - From their self-titled album, The Band Perry - Republic Nashville - 2011
Man, I really hate this song. I usually don’t like to say things like this right out, but it can’t be helped; I want to avoid any ambiguity. It seems the Band Perry have a bad habit of creating songs that are too self-centered and superficial for their own good. I wanted to do a review of “If I Die Young”, but just about every single thing I could ever hope to thing of to say about it has already been said.
So, basically, this song is about a woman who was apparently lectured ad infinitum about some guy’s bad reputation, then gets angry when that reputation turns out to be true. She even realizes that when she shows her face around whoever it was that warned her she needs to fully expect a round of I told you so’s. Still, she laments the fact that the way he lies comes so naturally and that becomes the joke of the song? Is that supposed to be the joke? Because I feel like it’s the chorus is supposed to be funny or something, but it isn’t.
If anything, the joke is that the singer comes off totally paranoid, and presents no evidence at all that this guy was cheating on her, aside from the fact that he smells like another woman’s perfume. She didn’t catch him with this girl, or anything. I’m not intentionally trying to take the guy’s side, but there is no way we know. As for looking nervous, maybe it’s because he knows that you are going to threaten to kill him. Has this sort of thing happened before? I mean, I know I’m are supposed to sympathize with the narrator character in this song, but she hasn’t given me any good reasons. Besides, the metaphor gets exhausted in the first chorus. The chorus only plays three times but that’s all I remembered. That feels like 90% of the running time of the song.
This is not the way that you do a cheating song. When someone cheats on you there are a lot of feelings involved. Sadness, betrayal, and anger are all among them. And usually, at least in country music, the cheating song follows the person that is being cheated on. Maybe because, in accordance with certain stereotypes, country musicians tend to be bunch of sad sacks. However, this is totally doing it wrong. You see, it’s hard to be sympathetic when this guy could have completely been doing something innocent, and all we’re getting here is like, 1/5th of the story because the whole song is just saying how well he lies. We need some examples. Otherwise, how do we know? We just take your word for it? That’s not really how it works. I want to really set this straight: she never says that he is cheating, that she caught him, or anything. She sort of implies that this is not the first time something like this has happened, but only sort of. All we get is that he lies and that he smells like perfume. That’s it. That’s not enough.
The fundamental failing here is that the whole crux of a song like this is built on us knowing that the person cheating is actually cheating. The details don’t even synch up. He’s ornery, but he pouts when she calls him out? He’s a natural liar and yet he gets nervous when caught? You know, the more I think about this song the more the more I think that maybe this narrator is insane.
But really, the real reason that this song bothers me, the real reason that I hate it, is that it’s pure fluff. It’s a real non-entity of a song. The whole plot is that this guy lies (which he doesn’t explicitly do). It’s full of these crazy images (sleazy used care salesman, penny in a parking lot), juxtaposed with the serious issue of fidelity in a relationship, that I have no idea if this song is supposed to funny or not. I get the impression that the writers (strangely enough, three people, two men and a woman, that all share a last name, but are not the band) just wanted to use the “totally clever” chorus they wrote. Well, what they came up with was a terrible, uninteresting song.