For some reason, during his Nineties run of inexplicable hits on the Country charts, Billy Ray Cyrus wrote two highly political songs, but from wildly different platforms. The first, “Some Gave All”, was the title track of his debut album, and it was written from the perspective of jingoistic conservatives. Now, odes to the wartime dead are one of Country music’s trademark specialties and something the genre generally does well even in its lowest eras (even Luke Bryan managed to pull one off successfully in “Drink a Beer”), but unfortunately, Billy Ray Cyrus is a moron. As a result, the song’s writing is so over-the-top and melodramatic, and Cyrus’ performance so laughably overwrought, that the result is more unintentionally hilarious than stirring or inspirational.
As for “Trail of Tears”, made several years later on Cyrus’ fourth album of the same name, it represents the bleeding-heart liberal side of Cyrus’ political profile. Again, there’s nothing wrong with writing a Country song about the plight of the American Indian…Johnny Cash devoted a whole album to it, and that album, Bitter Tears, is one of his masterpieces. But this song, in addition to having no tune to speak of, is so shallow in its writing that it comes off as condescending…at times it sounds more like he’s taunting the Native Americans about their suffering than sympathizing with it.
Verdict: Both of these songs are utter garbage, but I suppose I can appreciate the fact that Cyrus was willing to make both Parties look bad by association.