Pop Culture Shock: 'Automatic' does not equal 'evil'

MOVE Columnist McKenna Bulkley calls of Miranda Lambert for the millennial she truly is.

By McKenna Bulkley | Nov. 11, 2014

Tags: Millennials Music Reviews


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For the most part, I like country music. Growing up in Southern California, I was about as far away from country as you could get, but it was fun to listen to songs about drinking and trucks and pretend that I could totally be a country girl. It’s usually fun and makes me smile (or it makes me sad I’m single), but it’s really not bad music. But what I can’t stand is when people look back at the “good ol’ days” and then go on to lament what life is like now, because obviously the newer generation is ruining everything.

So when “Automatic” by Miranda Lambert won the Country Music Award for Single of the Year, I was peeved. Not because I don’t like Lambert, because I really do. I’m really excited that her album “Platinum” won for Album of the Year, and that she won female vocalist of the year (although she beat out Taylor Swift, so I’m only kind of happy for her for that one).

I’m peeved because “Automatic” is really, really annoying. With lyrics like “If you had something to say/You'd write it on a piece of paper/Then you'd put a stamp on it/And they'd get it three days later,” and “Hey, whatever happened to waitin' your turn/Doing it all by hand,” the song not only glorifies the good old days, which had its own set of problems, but it throws some serious shade towards my generation, that is, Generation Y.

At 30 years old, Lambert is technically a Millennial. Which means while she’s so quick to hate on everything that’s “automatic,” for most of her young life, these things have been that way. And just because her family may have dried their laundry on the line when she was younger doesn’t mean clothes dryers didn’t exist.

Now there’s no denying we’ve made some astounding technological advancements in the last decade alone, so there are quite a few things that she grew up without. An iPhone is probably one of those things. However, a landline? She probably had one of those. So why are you romanticizing letter writing? Is it really that much better than texting or e-mail to have to wait three days and possibly have it lost in a sea of envelopes?

Also –– “Hey whatever happened to waiting your turn, doing it all by hand?” Our generation isn’t totally devoid of all manners. We might be the selfie (selfish?) generation, but that’s not to say I expect everything I want when I want it. The digital age does not exempt us from hard work. Until they invent a machine that will put away clothes for me, I’m going to continue to put forth physical effort for my part-time job in retail, because that’s what it requires of me and I’m not a lazy person.

Also, as a general reminder, just because things change doesn’t mean they’re bad. I really appreciate the automatic things in my life, and I’m guessing Lambert does too, because without all of her fancy technological equipment, she wouldn’t be able to put on the big concerts with all the interesting effects and lighting that she’s done in the past.

Lambert can complain all she wants that “It all just seemed so good the way we had it, back before everything became automatic,” but when it comes right down to it she’s a Millennial with a Twitter account just like the rest of us.

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