Home Celebrity All The Heated Controversies Over Jason Aldean’s Latest Song

All The Heated Controversies Over Jason Aldean’s Latest Song

Monica July 22, 2023

Everyone has freedom of speech. That’s what the First Amendment is for. But sometimes, people can take this freedom too far, as many believe Jason Aldean’s latest music video for his song, Try That in a Small Town, did. It’s made headlines across the country, and not for good reasons.

To sum it up, shots of Aldean singing are intertwined with footage of burning protests, riots, and flag burnings. We usually see this violent footage on the news, but never in a music video. Because of it, Aldean is receiving a lot of backlash, and his video has turned into one of the most jaw-dropping controversial music videos of all time. Yet even despite the controversy, experts believe his song will hit Billboard’s Top 100 chart. Let’s take a look at why so many people are up in arms here.


Jason Aldean Was Present For The Vegas Shooting

Aldean was on-stage during the heartbreaking 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Vegas. He witnessed what some people refer to as the worst gun incident in US history which saw more than 60 people murdered in cold blood. Because his most recent music video is pro-gun use, it seems controversial and hypocritical. Furthermore, he questionably thought it would be clever to film his music video at the site of a lynching. With the combination of showcasing gun violence and controversial lyrics, his song went from a country song to a politically charged debate (via Yahoo).


The Music Video Depicted Police Violence and Gun Ownership

If you haven’t seen the music video, then we’ll sum it up for you. In the video, Aldean is singing alongside footage of protesters clashing and fighting against the police, people breaking into shops, and protesters bashing police cars. He explains that people in small towns have less tolerance for unpatriotic actions than those in bigger cities, as he entices people to “Try that in a small town.” It’s controversial because it discusses racism, stereotypes, and violence, which is a touchy subject for the country at large (via Forbes).

Daily Mail

He Claims It’s About The Best Part Of A Small Town

That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of things people like about small towns like their community feeling, people who hold the door open for you, and small chats at local shops. So why didn’t Aldean and his writers (Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Kelley Lovelace, and Neil Thrasher), talk about that in his music video? It seems like they’d rather sing about a dystopian world with uncomfortable connotations and small-town nostalgia with a diabolic undertone. Aldean throws danger right in everyone’s face and the song seems more like an outrage than actual respect for small-town America (via Today).


It Was Filmed At The Maury County Courthouse

To put it into perspective, Aldean’s music video takes place at the Maury County Courthouse, which is located in Colombia, Tennessee. In 1927, this is where a white lynch mob dragged 18-year-old black man Henry Choate behind a car. They then hung him from the courthouse’s second story. Aldean and his team filmed the music video here. As we’ve already mentioned, he sings about gun violence and murdering people who don’t respect the police with juxtaposing footage for the entire three-minute video. That’s where the public’s backlash and outrage began (via Yahoo).


People On Twitter Are Outraged

Journalist Ashton Pittman simply explains how disrespectful Jason Aldean’s music video location was. And in a second Tweet, he’s clever to point out other country songs that exist that didn’t feel the need to promote gun and police violence, like Loretta Lynn who sang about women’s freedom, or Mickey Guyton who sang about “Black Like Me.” With millions of topics around the world, Aldean didn’t have to choose the one he did, but that also shouldn’t define the country music genre (via Twitter).

CBS News

Aldean Used Offensive Lyrics

It’s one thing to curse in your song lyrics, but another to bring down an entire group of people, name-call them and label them. We’re living in the 21st century, there’s no need to bring down people. For starters, he denounced small-time urban thugs with the lyrics, “sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk”, “carjack an old lady at a red light” and “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store.” People are outraged at the song, calling it racist and abominable (via The Independent).

NY Post

He Offended The Police

We understand police brutality nowadays is one of the most heated topics in the news. And while it’s good to talk about these things, it makes a difference how you talk about it and what you say. In Jason’s song, he used the lyrics, “cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough,” or mentioned people to ‘spit on the Stars-and-Stripes.” It sparked a lot of controversy since freedom of speech does not mean enticing a group of people to attack another group of people (via ABC News).


The Production Company Defended Themselves

Tacklebox, the production company for the music video, defended themselves, and rightfully so. In a statement, they claimed the site in the music video was already used in other productions. They said, “Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false.” They defend Aldean and say he did not pick the location, though it’s obvious he could have rejected the location altogether (via ABC News).

NY Post

Let’s Not Forget The Burning Of The Flag

In Jason Aldean’s music video, he shows videos of people burning the American flag. While it may be incredibly disrespectful and provoke a feeling of violence, it’s legal. According to US Courts, “Flag burning is such a form of symbolic speech. When a flag is privately owned, the owner should be able to burn it if the owner chooses, especially if this action is meant in the form of protest.” Even so, showing video footage of this for millions of people to see is controversial in the sense that many worry it may inspire people to start burning the flag, contributing to an uprising. As Aldean suggests, they wouldn’t get away with it in a small town (via US Courts).

Tennessee Star

Police Reform Activists Are Involved

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, a police reform activist, had something to say about Aldean’s music video. In a Tweet, she said, “Uvalde? Small town. VA Tech? Small college town. Newtown? Small New England town. Parkland? A small town that had just been voted Florida’s *safest* town. Most mass shootings occur in *small towns*. Your listeners are dying.” And instead of having some compassion for the victims of mass shootings, especially the one Aldean witnessed, he instead doubled down on his First and Second Amendment rights with freedom of speech and freedom to bear arms (via Yahoo).


Jason Aldean’s Defense

On Twitter, Aldean defended himself against the accusations. He felt the need to publicly explain why he made this music video and talk about the sort of backlash he received. Aldean said, “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. These references are not only meritless but dangerous.” They are dangerous Aldean, especially for someone present at a massive shooting (via Twitter).


He Grew Up In A Small Town

In the same Twitter post, Aldean mentioned how his song represents his childhood and growing up in a small town. We’re all allowed to have our political views, though it seems Aldean made sure the entire world knew his. Because of the amount of violence portrayed in his music video and the timing of mass shootings in the country, it’s an incredibly touchy subject that Aldean could have probably skipped out on (via Twitter).


Celebrities Got Involved

Of course, there’s never headlining news without celebrity opinions. Several celebrities formed their own opinions about the Jason Aldean controversy. American musician Sheryl Crow thinks Aldean’s song is lame. She said, “I’m from a small town. Even people in small towns are sick of violence. There’s nothing small-town or American about promoting violence. You should know that better than anyone having survived a mass shooting. This is not American or small-town-like. It’s just lame.” You’re not the only one from a small town, Jason (via Newsweek).


He Doesn’t Shy Away From Talking About Gun Ownership

While there may be flag burning and police violence in the music video, he certainly doesn’t shy away from talking about gun ownership, either. Let’s take a look at some of his lyrics: “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. Try that in a small town, See how far you make it down the road, Round here, we take care of our own.” Gun ownership alone is already a controversial topic in America. Adding it to the lyrics of a popular song, in your opinion, makes it a lot worse (via The Independent).


Whoopi Goldberg Found The Song Deplorable

Since no one truly knows the meaning behind the lyrics except Aldean, we can only form our own opinions. Whoopi Goldberg is one of those people. In an interview, she said, Said “He talks about life in a small town, and it’s different, and he chose these images. He’s got folks from the Black Lives Matter movement, and he’s talking about people taking care of each other, and I find it so interesting that it never occurred to Jason or the writers that that’s what these folks were doing: They were taking care of the people in their town because they didn’t like what they saw.” She defends those both living in small towns and living in big towns, saying people in big towns also take care of each other. It’s human nature. And the fact that he made it about BLM adds another layer of confusion (via EW).

Daily Express

Donald Trump Supports Aldean

It wouldn’t be a full-on debate without Donald Trump’s opinion. He was in support of Aldean, and said, “Jason Aldean is a fantastic guy who just came out with a great new song. Support Jason all the way. MAGA!!!” We’re not surprised that Trump was in favor of the song, considering how much controversy he stirred up during four years of the presidency (via Newsweek).


While Some Hate The Song, Others Support It

One example of many that support Aldean’s song is singer Travis Twitt. He Tweeted, “It is simply expressing a point of view that many American people share which is against the obvious violence that we have seen from the likes of so many ‘activists groups’ in this country in recent years and the belief shared by millions that this behavior would not be tolerated by many people in many places across the USA.” Others love the song, and others see nothing wrong with the messages or videos. People who live in small towns agree with Jason’s words and agree that’s all how they stand up for each other (via Today).


Other People Who Related To The Song

Some people deeply related to the song, including state House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison. In a recent Tweet, he shared what the song meant to him, saying, “The same people who want to defund the police, let criminals go free, use Antifa to destroy public buildings, steal, create mass chaos……, are offended that I will defend myself and my neighbors against criminal acts.” He agreed that Jason Aldean was right and was ‘surprised’ at the rising backlash to the song (via Tennessean).

TV Line

He’s Open About His Beliefs

Aldean and his political beliefs didn’t come out of nowhere. He has a reputation for being extremely open with his conservative political beliefs, especially in recent years. He was dropped by his publicity firm and helping sell anti-Biden clothing for children, and telling his audience he didn’t want to see anyone wearing a mask. For those reasons, this music video might not even come as a surprise (via NBC News).

13 News Now

The Music Video Is No Longer In Rotation

The CMT Music channel pulled the music video from rotation and it’s no longer available, though they offered no proper explanation for it. We can assume it was because of the backlash it received because of its disrespectful footage (via USA Today).

News Week

It’s Expected To Reach Billboard’s Hot 100

Aldean’s song reached hundreds of thousands of views after its release. It reached number one on US iTunes. So despite the backlash, it also gained a lot of supporters. And even if people believe Aldean is going to get “canceled,” the truth is, this music video probably helped his career. That’s how the world works nowadays (via The Guardian).