Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Story Songs: Time Marches On

Country music star Tracy Lawrence sang about the changes -- from sweet to bittersweet -- a family goes through in "Time Marches On."

The song, penned by Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Famer Bobby Braddock, was No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart for three weeks in 1996.

It begins with a young couple at home with two small children in the 1950s:

"Sister cries out from her baby bed
Brother runs in, feathers on his head
Mama's in her room learnin' how to sew
Daddy's drinkin' beer, listenin' to the radio"

In the second verse, the song moves on to the '60s with  sister is beginning to use makeup, brother is into drugs, mom is in depression, and dad's got a girlfriend.

And the final verse ends with the sister calling herself a "sexy grandma," brother is on meds for high cholesterol, mom is senile, and dad is six feet under.

I like the straightforward lyrics, but it's the references to put a time frame on the events that makes the song so effective to me.

After the first stanza we learn that the father is listening to Hank Williams' "Kaw-Liga" and "Dear John" on the radio and after the second verse we know that "Bob Dylan sings 'Like A Rolling Stone.'"

Braddock's thought-provoking song reflects many aspects of the American family during those decades, and Lawrence's delivery is powerful.

Another thing the song notes is:

"The only thing that stays the same
Is everything changes, everything changes"

So true.

"Time Marches On" lyrics

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