This will be a four-part series. Here is the first one, featuring the best American song of the 21st century: Jason Isbell with Drive-by Truckers, Outfit.
Don’t call what you’re wearing an outfit, don’t ever say your car is broke
1 ref.: Don’t worry about losing your accent, a Southern man tells better jokes
2 ref.: Don’t sing with a fake British accent, don’t act like your family’s a joke
Have fun, stay clear of the needle, call home on your sister’s birthday
Don’t tell them you’re bigger than Jesus, don’t give it away
In the verses, the speaker tells his story. In the refrain, he passes what he had learned on to his son. The advice is not one given by a man who has a country of his own. His government is the enemy of its people, whom it sees as economic units to be value-harnessed and replaced.
The song is a guide to a talented working-class boy on how to not drown under these conditions. Its commonplace lyrics in fact span the grandeur of existence, from personal self-respect to the Highest truth. Because there will one day be a day when his people have a country of their own. That last part is not explicit in the song, it’s me filling in a blank.