Review: Charlie Daniels, ‘Take Back the USA’
Credit Charlie Daniels for not letting his personal politics overwhelm his new song about joining together to make America great again. On the surface, ‘Take Back the USA’ sounds like a rally cry for those who believe a change is needed in the White House — and given the timing and the singer’s opinion of the current administration, that’s likely what he’s hoping it becomes. But Daniels never places the blame squarely on Republicans or Democrats in this tune.
Instead, he lists mistakes he feels were made in recent years between descriptions of plights familiar to the blue-collar country fan. “They voted for free trade / Sent our jobs away / To somewhere overseas / And now the unemployment line / Is where I spend my time / That’s the price I pay for being free,” Daniels sings during the second verse.
During the chorus, he includes a loss of religion as a reason for the country’s despair. It’s the song’s most effective and universal line. “The rich are getting rich while the poor are getting poorer / God’s getting less while the devil is getting more / Nobody standing in his way / It’s time for us to make a change and take back the USA.”
These are valid and even bipartisan complaints. However, complaining rarely makes good politics or good music. ‘Take Back the USA’ attempts to inspire, but ultimately ends up feeding the negativity one hears every time he or she turns on the television in advance of Election Day. Daniels offers nothing in the way of a solution, other than the vague call to “Take back the USA.”
It’s rare an artist can turn politics into verse, especially without a sense of specificity. ‘Take Back the USA’ is passionate but ham-fisted. Daniels’ anger is real, but few enjoy being shouted at in three-minute increments, even by a country music legend.
Listen to Charlie Daniels, ‘Take Back the USA’