Songwriters: Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher
It seems today’s country hitmakers never tire of singing about how awesome small town life is. But when compared with countless hits of similar theme, Jason Aldean’s “Fly Over States” comes across as both twice as intelligent and half as self-important.
“Fly Over States” places its narrator on a cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles, where he overhears two first-class passengers speaking in a derogatory manner of the field-covered rural states they’re passing over, musing “Who’d want to live there?”
Aldean becomes indignant upon hearing such talk, thinking of all the hardworking people who call such areas home. He believes that if urban dwellers could travel through those states instead of over them, “they’d understand why God made those fly over states.” He’s got a point: Though lacking the media exposure afforded to big city areas such as New York, a small town in the middle of Kansas is no less important. For some people, that little town is their whole world.
Far from stringing together a random laundry list of rural signifiers, “Fly Over States” demonstrates that it has a clear point to make, while showing that it is indeed possible to sing about the country lifestyle without sacrificing all lyrical intelligence. (Are you listening, Justin Moore?) Also worth noting is the fact that “Fly Over States” builds appreciation for the rural without tearing down the urban, or taking on a confrontational attitude. It expresses an actual feeling instead of just sticking to surface-level imagery – The narrator’s appreciation and regard for those “Fly Over States” clearly comes through. These are qualities that many a mainstream country hit could take a few cues from.
Of course, Aldean’s label will likely realize the error of this release, and thus swap it out for a safely mediocre ode to dirt roads, girls, small towns, parties, “Ol’ Hank,” etc. But until then, country radio listeners can enjoy a glimpse of the more thoughtful side of Jason Aldean.