By: Ian Maikisch
I know when most people ask me, “What kind of music do you like?” and I respond, “I listen to all genres of music.” It normally seems like a cop-out. However I do really feel like, if you truly love and appreciate music and poetry then there is something in every genre that you can fall in love with.
So when I tell people I like country music, most will scoff and think that I’m tasteless — for some reason. What they don’t understand is country music is one of the most popular genres in America. This is a point that I’ve wanted to make for a while. When a “cool kid” hears a song about trucks, small town life and Sunday cook outs after church, what they don’t get is, that message connects to a huge part of America’s culture. For a lot of people who listen to country music, the message is reflective of their lifestyle and that’s why they listen. Now that’s out of the way, I want to talk about Kelleigh Bannen.
Bannen’s song “Church Clothes” is a narrative of a couple who has to put up appearances of their “perfect relationship” in public.
Singing, “We walk in and head to the same pew and hold hand, just like we’re supposed to. But last night you slept on the sofa and these days I don’t even know ya. We fight like hell but nobody knows. When we’re wearing our church clothes.”
Bannen’s message in this song is one that many couples can relate to. Screaming and fighting at home but, when they go out they kiss, hug and act like everything is fine. I honestly think that everyone has either been through something like this in their own lives, or at least know of a couple that has acted this way.
Another verse from her song, “Oh we don’t speak, don’t touch as if nobody’s watching us. Lord knows we’ve got it down. What would they say if we gave up?”
This idea of being scared of what others opinions of you are, is definitely a universal one. There’s a Hindi phrase that comes to mind, “Log Kya Kahenge,” which translated to English means, “what will people think.” This is a problem that we all face and eventually either have to fight through or give into it.
Recently Bannen has released a video of her singing “Church Clothes” combined with Chris Stapleton’s song, “Either Way.”
Stapleton’s song mirrors Bannen’s in message but is darker and rawer. Singing, “We go to work, we go to church, we fake the perfect life…. It’s been so long since I’ve felt anything inside these walls. You can’t help, you can’t hurt, when you don’t feel at all.”
Bannen in her acoustic video of both songs chooses to use Stapleton’s chorus from “Either way,” belting “We can just go on like this. Say the words, we’ll call it quits. Baby, you can go or you can stay. But I won’t love you either way.”
It seems like these songs were meant to be married together. Even though both songs talk about a failing marriage, this combination works really well.
In Bannen’s black and white video, she sings and plays guitar and is accompanied by a lonely sounding piano. The choice to make the video black and white seems like a metaphor in its self, and the fact that her partner in the video is facing away from her seems to further imply a message of distance. Even though the video is simple, the messages in both songs isn’t. The simpleness of the video really makes you focus on the lyrics and hear the pain in these two songs.
Check out the video below, as well as, both songs in this article. Sit down and really listen to these songs. Then watch the video and you’ll see how Bannen flawless merges them together to make one song about love lost and forgotten.