Why is it that cheating in relationships has become somewhat of an expected occurrence in relationships these days? I quickly searched online for articles regarding infidelity in relationships and was overwhelmed at the numerous articles provided by Huffington Post on the topic. I’ve even managed to have had an awful experience with a boy I thought loved me back but had turned out to be cheating on me, dating another girl for months of our relationship before I even found out. Great. I’m only 20 and I already have a story to share on unfaithfulness within a relationship?! Think about the number of songs within the music industry today that we can all relate to and have something to do with the topic of cheating. It’s certainly a hot choice of discussion these days.
But the topic has been a popular one within the music industry for decades. Particularly within the country genre. Artists take numerous stands on how they handle the realization of a cheating partner, from violence to a sad memoir of love that was ruined and the unbearable heartache that followed. Men and women artists alike in the country industry have their take on a cheater, and some are pretty awesome. Let’s check out a few.
- “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams
Even way back in 1952 when Hank Williams wrote and recorded “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” unfaithful relationships seemed to be something to talk about. Williams reminds us, and his ex-wife who deceived him that “your cheatin’ heart will always tell on you.” The song, when released in 1953 shortly after Hank William’s death, quickly became a huge hit in the country music industry. “Your Cheatin’ Heart” topped the Billboard’s Country and Western charts for six weeks straight and sold over a million units. About ten years after Hank Williams’ death, and the release of the song, a movie about the life of the legendary singer-songwriter was released bearing the same title as the hit song. Hank doesn’t really seek revenge against this cheating heart he sings of, but rather reminds her that her cheating heart will always give her away.
2. Cocaine Blues” by Johnny Cash
An example from the more violent side of things, Johnny Cash released “Cocaine Blues” in 1968 describes Cash in a fit of anger, taking a shot of cocaine and shooting his woman down “cause [he] thought [he] was her daddy but she had five more.” Although the song was originally written by “Red” Arnall in the 1940s, Cash made the song a huge hit in the Folsom Prison album. Ironically, the song was extremely popular with the prisoners of Folsom Prison when Johnny recorded the live album there in front of the prisoners. Maybe it was that the men in prison may have had similar experiences as the song on dealing with a cheater, or maybe the prisoners found themselves wondering about their women at home and if they were being faithful. Finding out your significant other is cheating on you will surely wrench the heart, but only few would go as far as shooting up some cocaine and murdering your woman. Cash sang a tune full of vengeance by ultimately taking the woman’s life, while Hank merely told the cheater that she will long for him when she’s all alone, yet her cheating heart gave her away.
- “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” by Alan Jackson
Many of us country music fans have often sang along to Alan Jackson’s “Who’s Cheatin’ Who.” The funny thing most fans wouldn’t know about Jackson’s hit from 1997 is that it was originally performed and recorded by Charly McClain in 1980. Alan Jackson then did a cover of the song and released it with his album Everything I Love in 1997. Jackson changes the pronouns in his version to reflect the male perspective as he sings about a cheating woman, “I thought I knew her/ Well I really couldn’t tell/ That she had another lover on her mind…How could I be so blind?” It’s funny how this song was recorded and released from the male and female perspective. Is cheating a popular subject or something?
The first three songs have been songs from men singers and range in their views on how they take a cheater. Many of the older songs about cheaters became popular from the men’s perspective at first and as the 21st century neared, the feisty women of country stepped in to take over those all-too-relatable feelings of a heart that’s been done wrong. Sure, there were also women back then, like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton for example, who sang powerful songs about cheaters, but in the early 2000s into today, the woman in country that we know and love today really took over the stage on the whole topic.
4. “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood
Female country singers have always had a knack for some kick-ass songs about getting revenge on those cheating men who did them wrong. Carrie Underwood has got to be on the top of the feisty women’s list if there ever was one. From her recent release of “Two Black Cadillacs,” a song about the misses and the mistress teaming up to take down their unfaithful man, to her super-hit “Before He Cheats,” Underwood is a strong female voice for all those heartbroken girls to pump themselves up. The fierce blonde can be seen using a baseball bat to destroy her cheating boyfriend’s truck in the music video with a whopping 61 million views. She smirks and tells us, “maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.” She did what all of us heartbroken, mislead girls have always wanted to do to those stupid ex-boyfriends that did us wrong. But instead of getting sued for destroying property, we can live out our wishful thinking through this song instead. Leave the bat at home, ladies.
5. “White Liar” by Miranda Lambert
I admire Miranda Lambert for actually co-writing this song that became such a big hit. Lambert released the song in 2009 and it quickly neared the top of the country music charts in early 2010. Lambert sings about knowing her boyfriend has been cheating on her and referring to him as a “white liar.” The music video consists of Lambert walking down the aisle with this man, passing by all the women he’s cheated on her with in the crowd. At the end she tells him she’s been lying too and turns to run off with one of the best man. This song is different from the others in that while yes, most of these artists sing of getting revenge on their cheating partner, Lambert proves to be just as in the wrong as her partner when she announces she’s been cheating too. This song is an example of how cheating has become so common that they were both cheating on each other. Ironically, Miranda and Blake Shelton, her famous country artist husband, are calling it quits after cheating rumors.
6. “You Lie” by The Band Perry
The Band Perry, with lead singer Kimberly Perry, released this track in 2011 and it became their second consecutive single to reach top ten on the Hot Country Songs chart. Perry sings of her anger at her man’s infidelity and constant lying to her with numerous similes. She even goes as far as throwing her wedding ring into the river. Come on now Ms. Perry, you could’ve at least pawned it off for some decent cash.
Country songs about infidelity and unfaithfulness from both the men and women have traced decades back. From Johnny Cash singing about murdering his woman while high on cocaine in the 1960s, to Carrie Underwood slashing the tires and breaking the windows of her cheating boyfriend’s truck, country artists have been relating to the anger and heartbreak of those who’ve felt the pain of a cheater. Carrie and Johnny Cash would’ve made a great duet song about cheating, I’m sure, had they the chance. Don’t piss them off. Hank Williams’ somber tune rings of sadness and heartache, reminding us that even way back then, even the manly cowboys had a soft heart capable of breaking. Alan Jackson will always be wondering how many couples are doing wrong (but probably not, since he may not be singing from experience here, but let’s just go with it). Miranda Lambert and The Band Perry link the ties of lying and cheating partners, two things that don’t step out without the other in hand.
Cheating has become almost a social norm of sorts within relationships. It’s sad to me that I can ask a car full of friends if they’ve dealt with situations of the sort, and see them all nodding their heads up and down. Every tabloid magazine heads with some scandal about cheating celebrities. Divorce is more and more common these days from what I’ve seen. I don’t want my future kids growing up in a world where unfaithful relationships are a given. Let’s just add that to the list of things our generation must change.