An Afghan immigrant was shot and killed in D.C. after fleeing to the U.S. from the Taliban. Pro-life activists were attacked on the street (and the police didn’t care). Women are violently robbed in San Francisco while the city’s soft-on-crime policies disincentivize criminals from stopping. 

If you aren’t aware of the crime plaguing U.S. cities, then you’re either rich enough to avoid it or partisan enough to turn a blind eye when it contradicts a particular “criminal justice” narrative. And if you do know what’s going on and say something about it, then you’re “racist” and “pro-lynching.” Just ask Jason Aldean. 

Two months ago, the country music star released “Try That in a Small Town,” a song about neighbors standing up for each other against violence. Lyrics include “Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk / Carjack an old lady at a red light … Well, try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own.”

Aldean also sings, “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that s*** might fly in the city, good luck.”

The song went largely unnoticed until a couple of weeks ago, when Aldean released his music video, which intersperses clips of him singing with footage of violent protests (in the U.S. and Canada).

Then, the media that had lately cared little for Aldean’s song went ballistic. The video was criticized for showing Aldean against the backdrop of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, the site of a 1927 lynching. The video’s production company clarified, however, that it is a “popular filming location outside of Nashville” and also a location in Hannah Montana: The Movie

Nevertheless, a writer for CNN complained of the song’s “toxic message,” “celebration of vigilantism,” and “entitlement.” 

“Jason Aldean Already Had the Most Contemptible Country Song of the Decade. The Video Is Worse,” blares one headline from Variety. 

Following the backlash, CMT (formerly Country Music Television) pulled Aldean’s music video. 

Instead of succumbing to this attempted cancellation, Aldean’s “anti-woke anthem” skyrocketed to No. 2 on the Hot 100, with its video and audio streams increasing 999%. The music video has nearly 18 million views and counting. (And if all press is good press, Google Trends tells us that Jason Aldean is doing exceptionally well.) 

Liberal critics were likely not counting on the Streisand effect transforming Aldean’s song from a run-of-the-mill country release into a nationwide hit. 

For his part, Aldean pushes back on the accusation that his song has anything to do with race. 

“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests,” he said on Twitter. “These references are not only meritless, but dangerous.”

He continued, “Try That In A Small Town, for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.”

As Coleman Hughes wrote for the Free Press, “What disturbs progressives is not the fact that Aldean’s song contains macho, pro-gun lyrics—which are ubiquitous in rap. What disturbs them is the fact that Aldean is a straight, white, conservative male, and therefore must play by a different set of rules than black, left-leaning artists.” 

In the end, liberal critics are merely mad that a famous artist is finally calling out their failed policies and refusing to cater to their sensibilities. No wonder the song became so popular.