North Texas Daily

Accidentally embarassing

Accidentally embarassing

April 10
22:33 2013

In 1982, former Beatle Paul McCartney and legendary funk singer Stevie Wonder released one of the corniest duets in recorded human history.

The song was called “Ebony and Ivory,” and its goal was to teach a lesson of racial harmony to the world.

You see, the black and white keys on a piano have to work together to create beautiful music, and in the same way, blacks and whites have to…well, you get the idea.

It was a noble effort and a powerful message disguised by lyrics so hilariously bad they rendered the song’s original intent completely impotent. In 2007, British radio listeners dubbed it the worst duet in history.

“We all know that people are the same wherever we go.

There is good and bad in everyone.

We learn to live, we learn to give, each other what we need to survive together alive.”

 –  ‘Ebony and Ivory’

We’re telling you this because it looks like at least two musicians didn’t get the memo that no one should ever try this kind of thing again.

Country singer Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J teamed up on Paisley’s latest album to croon and flow through “Accidental Racist,” a song attempting to dismantle the respective stereotypes of country and rap music while taking an even bigger stab at completely moving on from racism in America.

The “accident” of the song’s title is found in the opening lyrics, where Paisley explains he was accused of racism for wearing a shirt with the Confederate flag while standing in line at a Starbucks.

We sympathize with Paisley’s discomfort—after all, it’s really tough to keep track of when you should and shouldn’t proudly wear your stars and bars. It’s certainly harder to remember than avoiding white after Labor Day.

But the real problem with the song isn’t necessarily its message—if you boil it down, it’s about different races getting to know each other, which is pretty much a nice thing.

The problem is that this message is drowned out by the overpowering weirdness of the both the lyrics and their delivery, which initially borders on humorous and quickly becomes hysterical.

This same problem brought down “Ebony and Ivory,” but “Accidental Racist” is beyond the pale. Paisley’s opening crooning about the injustice of slavery along with the injustice of being called a bigot is accompanied by the saddest guitar noodling you’ve ever heard—you can almost feel the tears falling into your beer.

And then LL Cool J starts rapping about the Mason-Dixon line. That’s basically where we turned it off.

“If you don’t judge my do-rag, I won’t judge your red flag. If you don’t judge my gold chains, I’ll forget the iron chains.”

 –  ‘Accidental Racist’

We hear a lot about the need for an “honest conversation” about race in America, but until we can write a song about racism that doesn’t make the entire world cringe, we should probably try some other form of media for this discussion besides music.

We hear talk shows are pretty good for that kind of thing.

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