Last Friday, country star Toby Keith wished the nation a happy birthday with his new song, “Happy Birthday America.
” Famous for past patriotic hits like the battle song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” and tear-jerking “American Soldier,” Keith is a radio station favorite on the Fourth of July. However, Keith’s latest release seems to strike a different chord—literally and figuratively—with country fans.
Recently, Toby Keith shared a story with Fox News about the effect “Courtesy” has on Americans. While celebrating the Fourth of July on the water last summer, Keith’s crew stationed their boat in between many others before a fireworks spectacle. The country star told the news network that all the boats synced their radios to the same station.
That’s when Keith’s song came on the radio.
“Everybody was honkin’ their horns and screamin’ and singin’. It was a big unison thing,” Keith shared. “And I said, ‘Wow, this is pretty neat.'”
While “Courtesy” speaks to the country’s resilience and unbreakable spirit, Toby Keith’s “Happy Birthday America” tells a much more heartbreaking story.
Happy birthday America
It’s the Fourth of July
I get to wake up in your freedom
But sometimes I wonder why
Seems like everybody’s pissin’
On the red, white and blue
Happy birthday America
Whatever’s left of you
Toby Keith Discusses Inspiration Behind Song
That same day that Toby Keith watched boaters around him sing in unison to his song, he remembered saying, “Happy birthday, America. Whatever’s left of you.”
Slowly, the story began to write itself as the 59-year-old country star reflected on the state of the country.
“I live in the heartland and it just feels like everybody you talk to has the same worries,” Keith said to Fox News. “It just feels like the politicians aren’t getting the job done on either side and it just feels like the democracy is in danger.”
He continued, “I was seeing both sides having concern over the end of democracy. We’ve fought and divided almost to the point it’s only about power and winning. Charlie Daniels had a song saying ‘God save us all from religion.’ And I’m thinking, ‘God save us all from politicians.'”
Country Stars Release Songs on Lack of Patriotic Pride
Toby Keith is not alone in his feelings, either. Similarly, fellow country star, Aaron Lewis, expressed his feeling on the nation’s current state in his latest release, “Am I the Only One.” In both country artists’ singles, they mention the sad sight of citizens burning their own country’s flag. However, whereas Keith’s single adopts a glum demeanor, Lewis’ song takes a more aggressive stance.
“Happy Birthday America” — Toby Keith
Now your children wanna turn you in
To something other than yourself
They burn your flag in their city streets
More than anybody else
“Am I the Only One” — Aaron Lewis
Am I the only one, willin’ to fight
For my love of the red and white
And the blue, burnin’ on the ground
Another statue comin’ down in a town near you
Watchin’ the threads of Old Glory come undone