Brad Paisley Shares What He Learned From Releasing ‘Accidental Racist’
It's been over two years since the release of Brad Paisley's "Accidental Racist," his controversial duet with LL Cool J, and the singer has had some time to reflect on the lessons he learned from listeners' reactions to the song.
"I mean, we didn't do that for that reaction at all. In retrospect, if you look at everything that's happened since, I wish I had had that perspective prior, you know what I'm saying?" Paisley tells AZCentral. "It's such an interesting time that way. So hindsight's 20/20, but our intentions were so good with that."
Paisley says that at the time he and LL Cool J recorded the song, it didn't cross his mind that his lyrics would be taken the way they were, comparing the track to love songs that use hyperbole and exaggeration to get their point across. But, Paisley admits, he didn't realize that the same rules don't apply to more sensitive subject matter -- a lesson he's definitely learned.
"It's an amazing thing the way a phrase can be taken the wrong way," he says. "It never occurred to me in the process because you can say something that's an absolutely bad idea in a love song -- you can say, 'She can cheat on me 100 times, and I'm never gonna leave her.' That's a bad idea in your relationship. That's a terrible notion. And anyone would say, 'Don't do that. You're crazy.' But if you say it in a love song, they're just gonna bop their head to it as they drive down the road and go, 'Well, that guy's being foolish.'
"But when you say in a song a thing that has to do with something as heated as this topic, any stance, everybody weighs in," Paisley continues. "It's different than a love song in that sense. And I didn't realize that.
"When you take a stance on this topic, people say, 'Wait, you don't speak for me.' And it's like, 'Wait a minute, I'm not trying to speak for you. We're just trying to have a conversation here.' And they're like, 'No, this conversation is our conversation. It's everybody's conversation,'" he adds. "And all of a sudden, you're like, 'Wow, okay, this is a whole different way of having to look at songwriting.'
"I wouldn't change a thing in terms of the things I've learned from that," Paisley concludes. "It's part of life, to live and learn."
Paisley is currently out on his 2015 Crushin' It World Tour with Justin Moore and Mickey Guyton. On June 17, he'll take a break from the road to serve as the opening act for the Rolling Stones when they perform at LP Field in Nashville.
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