Straight to Hell

Spun: Hank Williams III

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Steeped in the traditions of granddaddy Hank Williams Sr., Hank Williams III embarks upon a mission to pay homage to the roots of country music with his new double album, Straight to Hell, but not without breaking a few rules, raising some hell and throwing up his middle finger to pop country.

The style of the first disc is unadulterated, classic country, albeit revamped for the 21st century--a world where beer and whiskey is not enough to drown your sorrows. On "Pills I Took," Hank wails, "I still don't know what they were and I don't know where I got 'em/but they sure did make me feel good/they kept my heart from feeling blue/they kept my thoughts away from you." Country purists will appreciate "Dick in Dixie," an all-out war on modern country with hicks chanting, "I'm here to put the dick in dixie/and the cunt back in country/'cause the kind of country I'm hearin' nowadays it's a bunch of fuckin' shit to me."

If Hank Williams Sr.'s lyrics were raw, then Hank Williams III's penmanship are dripping with blood, conjuring unsettling images of debauchery, murder and sorrow. The lighthearted tone and jovial melody of "Louisiana Stripes" creates a striking juxtaposition with the lyrical content when Hank sings tunefully, "Well she had to love my friend and that's not right with me/So I grabbed my gun, shot em' both in the head and then I threw their ass in the creek."

Easily the most random of the set, the second disc features several of the album's most touching moments, each broken up with lengthy interludes of raw sound effects--kids laughing, flowing water and racing trains among other random interjections. The whole experience is enough to immortalize the Hank Williams trio as the greatest legacy of country music, after all, it's not often you can have both the god and the devil on your side.