I love petty country songs.
“I’ll Think of a Reason Later” by Lee Ann Womack and “Long Walk” by Brandy Clark are two of the most satisfying country songs to scream on an annoying day about annoying people.
But the absolute best petty song is Ashley McBryde’s “Fat and Famous” from her 2016 album Jalopies & Expensive Guitars.
In a 2018 performance in London, McBryde gives us the hilarious backstory to this song. She was asked to perform at her high school reunion because they didn’t have the budget for music and she was already going.
Of course, like with most unconventional jobs, she was asked if she still does “music ‘n stuff.” As someone who has heard the “‘n stuff” from extended family members and people from my grandparents’ church more often than I can count, I totally understand the frustration as well as McBryde’s response, “I do for a living, asshole.”
We’ve all been there.
Then, in her best (and most relatable) peppy, peaked-in-high-school, class president voice, Ashley McBryde shares that this person who called her to ask her to play at their reunion also said this:
“You know what’d be great. What would happen if you like wrote a song about our graduating class and you did it like at the show? Wouldn’t that be awesome?”
And, thus, “Fat and Famous” was born, and we now can all subtly get revenge on those who were less than kind to us in high school.
The song starts with a recount of what this person did to the singer back in high school. The bullying, teasing and just in general, meanness.
But now, in a very Toby Keith “How Do You Like Me Now?” turn of events, the singer has got money and beer endorsements while this mean girl is just . . . well, fat, drunk, and unhappy.
The song pulls no punches, just absolutely picking apart this person’s life while simultaneously building up the singer’s life as a famous musician:
“You got a closet drinking problem
And a juvenile delinquent souvenir from Senior Prom
I got a Budweiser endorsement
You’re re-financing your mortgage
How’s it feel to make those payments?
You got fat and I got famous”
I gotta admit that the first time I heard this song, there were a couple moments where I winced and wondered if McBryde went too far and was too mean…
But, you know, we all need those cathartic fantasies in which tell off the people who have wronged us. I am about as petty as they come, so while I’m a coward in real life, I will absolutely scream this song in my car as I think about all those people who were mean to me in high school.