There’s a grownup tone to Walker Hayes‘ new song “AA” that, when set alongside his hit “Fancy Like,” feels downright melancholy. All this talk of addiction, insecurities, real life parenting and the grind of daily life — who is this guy all of a sudden?
New fans who’ve plowed past “Fancy Like” in his catalog have discovered Hayes is not just capable of adding depth to his infectious rhythms and guitar licks (this time, it’s an easygoing little run that connects chorus to verse), he prefers it. Longtime fans are seeing how he’s learned tricks made popular by social media influencers to shape his songs.
“AA” relies on a series of “hits” designed to ping your senses and keep your interest. In the first verse alone, the shot of Jack and the overpriced oil change might grab you. If not, wait until the first line of the chorus: “And I’m just tryna keep my daughters off the pole / And my sons out of jail.”
Has there every been a “pole” reference in a country radio single before? Somewhere before the end of the first minute, Hayes has your attention.
Struggles with nicotine and the realities of aging — both tremendously easy to relate to — start verse two before more hits come in the way of a sneaky lyric about S-E-X and a gratuitous John Deere namecheck. They’re all playful jabs meant to tickle the senses and bring an endorphin high. A few curmudgeons will use this as an excuse to stand still when it’s on the radio or television, but the rest of pop-country America will dance along as they shout, “Hey, I’m just tryna stay out of AA.”
Did You Know?: Walker Hayes has talked about and written songs about his struggle with sobriety before. “Beer in the Fridge” is one example.
Walker Hayes’ “AA” Lyrics:
Coffee cup cold and black / Wish you had a little shot of jack / Besides that, can’t complain / Just tryin’ to do the dang thing / Might change the oil in my truck / I ain’t paying no thirty five bucks / Kids need shoes, mama needs Levi’s.
And I’m just tryna keep my daughters off the pole / And my sons out of jail / Trying to get to church so I don’t go to Hell / I’m just tryna keep my wife from figuring out / That I married up and she married way way down / In Alabama where they love Nick Saban / Tryna write a song the local country station will play / Hey I’m just tryna stay out of AA.
Well I gave up Skoal and cigarettes / Now I’m just hooked on Nicorette / Trying not to be like my old man / But the older I get the more I am / Trying to get paid and a little love made y’all / Hey y’all at the end of the day y’all / I’m just another John Deere guy / Up on a tractor.
Ooo tryna stay out of AA everyday / One step at a time / Life’s hard, family’s weird / Sometimes you just need a beer / Can I get an Amen.