John Rich has tapped into the current Zeitgeist like few others dare to even try, and it seems to be paying off big-time for the country music artist.
His latest inspiration is turning out to be an anthem for the times, one that since its release has been downloaded by millions all around the globe.
The singer-songwriter’s most recent project is titled “Progress,” and he appears to draw upon his extensive band experience, which includes being a member of Lonestar and Big & Rich.
Written, performed, and recorded by Rich, “Progress” shot to the top of the charts in what feels like a nanosecond.
The tune was initially released independently via former President Donald Trump’s social media network Truth Social. Then on its first day it became the global No. 1 single on the Apple Music charts, outperforming some of the biggest pop artists.
The song’s extraordinary rise in popularity is an indication of the sizable population of freedom loving people in the U.S. and the world, whose entertainment choices are a reflection of their deeply held beliefs.
For “Progress,” Rich tapped two prolific fellow country hit songwriters. Co-writers are Nashville Songwriter Hall Of Fame Inductee and country artist Jeffrey Steele and veteran country songwriter Vicky McGehee.
On Truth Social, Rich described the project as his “message to the tyrants running our country into the ground.”
After the song hit the most-downloaded lists, he used his Twitter account to celebrate its success. He wrote, “Felt good to beat the machine today:) Thanks to all of you for the massive support!”
Reflecting the sentiments of so many, Rich’s chorus tells those who are pushing their warped form of “progress” exactly what they can do with it.
The refrain echoes:
“Stick your progress where the sun don’t shine
Keep your big mess away from me and mine
If you leave us alone we’d all be just fine.”
The lyrics of the song go on to take direct aim at specific policies that are impacting our nation and others abroad, including border crises, financial mismanagement, abandonment of individuals, facilities, and resources in Afghanistan, and draconian measures in response to a virus.
The first verse begins with words that express the feelings of people who are justifiably overwhelmed with the many unprecedented changes that have occurred in the past two years:
“There’s a hole in this country
Where its heart used to be.”
In one verse, Rich’s song compares the current administration’s zero-border policy with its ruinous withdrawal from Afghanistan that led to the deaths of 13 military service members:
“They invite the whole world to come live in our land
And leave our countrymen dying in Afghanistan.”
In another verse, the lyrics provide a commentary on the current tendency to denigrate and even try to eliminate Christianity in order to replace it with allegiance to the almighty state:
“They say let go of Jesus and let Government save
You can have back your freedoms if you do what we say.”
The subject of faith is near and dear to Rich, who posed the following question back in 2020: “Why is there such a push to get God out of the conversation?”
He remarked, “The people that want him [God] gone are the ones that want to be God themselves, and as long as God is still in the mix, and people like us recognize him as the ultimate authority, they can never be the ultimate authority for us.”
The lyrics of “Progress” also make reference to the dictatorial policies of censorship in its various forms, which government officials have employed:
“They shut down our pipelines and they shut down our voices
And they shut down our main streets.”
Rich issued a press statement to explain his goals in releasing the song at this particular point in time.
“I, like you, have been watching and living through the systematic destruction of our country. And in the name of progress, we see our border is standing wide open,” he said.
“And in the name of their progress we see our children targeted. And in the name of progress we see crime coast to coast like we’ve never seen it before. And in the name of progress we see people wanting to take our rights away to defend ourselves and our families as we see fit. And so on and so forth in the name of progress,” he added.
Rich also shared his thoughts on the real meaning of the term “progressive.”
“It just struck me as such an ironic thing that everything they claim to be progressive is actually regressive, it’s actually destructive. It’s the opposite which is kinda like they want to do as we’re all learning now,” he said.
The music video of the song projects powerful images of the nation’s so-called progress, including empty grocery store shelves, exorbitant gas prices, and streets on fire as the result of intentional burning and looting gone unchecked.
Yet with all this, the video footage and song lyrics definitely end on a positive note. There are depictions of a wide variety of individuals displaying patriotism, as the lyrics convey strength and perseverance:
“They bent us all over but it’s all over now
Because we figured it out
We ain’t backing down.”
Many thanks to Rich for his anthem artistry. The nation and the world really need it.