Monday, April 22, 2013

Anything Like Me by Brad Paisley

Before Brad Paisley was known for being an accidental racist all over the blogosphere, he was known by his fans and critics as one of the most creative and important forces in country music as well as mainstream popular music.

Paisley is one of the best representatives of country music paying tribute to his country music forefathers in songs like “This Is Country Music,” while composing clever songs about modern topics like “Online.” While Paisley’s music is full of humor his most powerful works are about his personal life.

I don’t really remember “Anything Like Me,” from Paisley’s 2009 album, American Saturday Night. It wasn’t until I heard this song on his greatest hits collection Hits Alive did the song really strike a chord with me (if you’ve been keeping up to date with this blog, the reasons to you will be obvious).

The opening of this song is exactly how I felt when I found out Diana was pregnant. You better believe when we found that it was boy, there were tears in our eyes. It wasn’t so much that we were happier that it was a boy, it just made it seem that much more real.

Brad works this his feelings of fear knowing that this boy will do the same things that he will which were a pain for his parents. My feelings of apprehension had to do with the fact that I wasn’t sure that I could father a boy.

After unpacking these feelings and my ideas about manhood partially through my “To Be A Man,” posts I’ve become more comfortable about raising a son. I’m still worried about it, but I’m beginning to see that I’ll be just fine.

Paisley lovingly sings about all of the things he thinks his son will do which he did, which will lead to him, probably like his own dad, loosing his temper. He envisions his son growing up and the little things he does wrong as being exactly that: little things.

My son may not play football but if he’s like me, he’ll have a first piano recital, get hooked on video games, read too many comic books and will fracture his elbow before a school dance but got to that dance anyways (that actually happened).

Paisley sings about this as “payback,” but the love and peace in his voice makes it seem like that he is looking forward to all of this.  It is comforting to know that while fatherhood is overwhelming, it is something I am blessed to get to experience.

The last verse is one of the most incredible turnarounds I’ve heard in a song. So far the things that the son will do if he’s anything like Brad have mostly been things that cause difficulties in life.  In the bridge, Brad sings about his son loving him (and hating him) and leaving the house. He’ll seem like he wants to go but that he’ll cry leaving home. Brad closes the songs singing “he’ll be alright, if he’s anything like me.”

This ending puts this whole idea in perspective. It’s about being confident in yourself and knowing that since you turned out okay, therefore your son will too. If my son gets the worst parts of me, he’ll also get the best parts as well and that’s a pretty amazing thing to think about.

I don’t have the confidence that our kid will be alright if he’s "anything like me." I know that it’s silly at this point in my life to feel a lack of confidence, but right now there’s a lot of things swirling around in my life. Especially with this fatherhood stuff, there’s just so much that is going to be new.

I told Diana recently that I have no doubts about her ability to be an amazing mother, but that I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle fatherhood. She told me that she has never doubted my ability to handle difficult situations. You know what? I guess my son will be alright because if he’s anything like me he’ll have a partner in his life like Diana who will believe in him in ways beyond his own confidence and his imagination.

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