STORY BEHIND THE SONG: CELEBRITY
Brad Paisley was sitting in Nashville traffic when he noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of him: CELEBRITY IN TRAINING. He wasn't sure what it meant, but the message moved Brad to think about the state of modern celebrity.
"It used to be that if you wanted to be famous, you worked on being able to do something great," he says. "These days, it's more about finding a quicker way - go on TV and eat a cockroach or go on a date and make a fool of yourself in front of the whole nation. That seemed like a fun thing to put into a song."
The song turned out to be the simply titled "Celebrity," a lighthearted spoof of our obsession with the rich and famous. Brad drew from the only wells he really needed - entertainment news and reality TV shows, which inspired the entire first verse.
He recalls that the song poured out easily. He ran into a problem, though, after a live audience test. "Certain lines went over great," he says. "But the bridge didn't have what it needed to lift the song any higher."
Over the next couple of weeks, Brad tweaked the bridge and came up with the "jackass millionaire" line, a reference combining two hot TV shows, MTV's Jackass and the internationally popular Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. "That got laughs," he says with a smile.
Brad freely admits that the laughs are on him in "Celebrity."
"I've got people who work for me who at certain times of the day, their job is to make sure that I have a certain brand of drinks," he reveals. "So, I am absolutely making fun of myself in this song."
Brad has also become part of the Hollywood glamour scene with his marriage to actress Kimberly Williams. But the couple's Hollywood friends haven't taken offense to Brad's satirical swipe.
"Nobody really thinks it's about them," laughs Brad. "They all come up and go, 'That's hilarious. People act like that!' Then I'm thinking that they're acting the same way."
Fans caught on to the humor, and "Celebrity" became a runaway hit, reaching the Top 5 and picking up CMA Award nominations for Single and Song of the Year.
"It's definitely meant to be on the lighter side," says Brad. "I had no intentions of it being a controversial song of any kind. I mean, celebrity is a pretty safe thing to attack!"
-- Alanna Horner