Just days after Jason Aldean made the news for halting a recent concert due to heat exhaustion, the singer is back in the news today after CMT pulled the controversial music video for his May single, Try That In A Small Town.
Criticised for its pro-gun messaging and “racist dog whistling”, the music video will no longer receive plays on CMT despite the music video only premiering on 14 July.
The clip for Try That In A Small Town finds Aldean standing before a church with an American flag draped over the entrance. From there, the video weaves real-life footage of flag burning, protests, and a robbery at a convenience store.
With lyrics that put listeners in the shoes of a character who would “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store,” Aldean’s single appeals to some people who feel like the world has changed too much in a short period. In contrast, others are upset by the footage shown in the video.
Billboard reports that CMT hasn’t publicly stated why they pulled the video, but it may have been influenced by viewers who were unhappy with what they saw on their screens.
TikTok user Destinee Stark called out Aldean’s video for showing “very stereotypical crimes” and added, “Car-jackings and robbing liquor stores. Who talks about those crimes? Sounds like he got his inspiration for this song from Fox News,” per Taste Of Country.
Aldean has since responded to the backlash of his video, which some have called “dangerous” and “irresponsible”. On 18 July, he wrote on Facebook:
“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. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.”
Aldean continued, “As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives- and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”
For Aldean, Try That In A Small Town “Refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors [sic], regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors [sic], and that was above any differences.
“My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know that a lot of us in this Country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to- that’s what this song is about.”
You can watch the music video below.