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Breaking Down All The Wishes In Riley Green’s new song, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died”

Let me just start off by acknowledging that this is a very niche column that most people won’t get. But you know what? That’s the joy of writing for a site you own, and not for anyone else. Sure, I don’t get money, or fame, but if I want to write about a random country song I heard on the radio, there’s no one to tell me no. That evens out, right?

Anyway, this article is about the song I Wish Grandpas Never Died, by Riley Green, where he lists many of his wishes for the world in classic country fashion. If you haven’t already heard it, check out the video below and then join me in breaking it down.

“I wish girls you love never gave back diamond rings”

Damn, Riley. Just stabbing me in the heart with the very first lyric. I can’t imagine the pain of the woman you love divorcing you, but it sounds awful. I too wish this never happened. Good wish.

“I wish every porch had a swing”

I mean, if it fits the aesthetic of the house, I guess? If you live in a plantation-style house in Georgia, hell yeah it should have a porch swing. But what about a New York brownstone? A double-wide in a trailer park? A tiny house? A porch swing on any of those would look hilarious. Ok, you convinced me. I’m in on this wish.

“I wish kids still learn to say “sir” and “ma’am” and how to shake a hand”

Lame. I don’t know how old Riley Green is, but right now he sounds about 64. This isn’t the ‘50s. I couldn’t care less if a kid calls me by my name, as long as he’s respectful and kind. Also, I’m pretty sure everyone knows how to shake a hand. It’s not hard. Big boomer energy coming off this lyric.

“I wish every state had a Birmingham.”

Look, I don’t want to disparage anyone’s home city, but Birmingham objectively sucks. No one has ever visited another state and said to themselves “damn I hope there’s a city like Birmingham here.” However, if they did, they would find that every state does have a Birmingham. Bakersfield. Pittsburgh. Fort Worth. They may have different names, but they are all Birmingham at heart. Wish granted.

“I wish everybody knew all the words to Mama Tried”

Great song. Reba’s cover of it is one of my favorite songs of all time. Does everyone need to know the lyrics? I don’t care. It doesn’t change the world one way or another. Pretty weak wish, if we’re being honest.

“I wish Monday mornings felt just like Friday nights”

Hell yes, brother. You lost me on a few of the last ones, but you nailed this one. Is Riley advocating for a four-day workweek? Does he just want society to be cool with us drinking on Monday mornings? Either way, I’m all about it. Let’s make this wish come true.

I wish Sundays on a creek bank would never end”

I have no experience with Sundays on a creek bank, but if it’s anything like a Saturday on the beach, then you’ve got my vote. Any weekend water activity is where I want to spend my whole life. I respect this wish.

“Wish I could learn to drive again”

Nope. Not at all. Learning in general sucks. Learning to drive sucks even more. It took me four times to get my license, and I’m pretty sure they ended up giving it to me just out of pity. In no way do I want to recreate that experience.

“I wish the first time, seventeen, she was my everything”

Gross. I’m 28. I absolutely do not wish to go back in time and bang my 17-year-old girlfriend. Yes, she was my everything, but that’s because I was too dumb and horny to see that the relationship had more red flags that the Chinese olympics . I’ll stay in the present.

“Kiss in a Chevrolet, could happen every day”

I have no idea what this means. Is he wishing to make out in a Chevy? I’m pretty sure you can make that happen, man. You’re a rock star. That’s very attainable. Don’t waste a wish on this.

“I wish everybody overseas was gonna make it home”

No argument here.  

“I wish country music still got played on country radio”

I literally heard this song on country radio.

“I wish good dogs never got grey and old”

Alright man, no need to make me cry during this song.

“I wish farms never got sold”

If my choices were to do 12 hours of back-breaking labor a day only to hopefully break even or sell my 100 acres and move to a city and work literally any other job, I would sell that farm so fast your head would spin. I know someone has to do it, but that someone will not be me.

“I wish even cars had truck bed”

So you want every car to be an El Camino? The least practical car ever made? An abomination that combines the storage space of a pickup with the cab of a lowrider, and for some reason, the engine of a race car? Fuck yeah. I can’t prove it, but I’m convinced the world would be a lot chiller if everyone drove an El Camino. Let’s give it a shot.

“And every road was named Copperhead”

This would make navigation a nightmare and Copperhead isn’t even a cool road name. My buddy lives on Scorpion Drive. That’s fucking cool. This wish is dumb.

“And coolers never ran out of cold Bud Light”

I’m a Coors man myself, but I would happily switch to Bud Light if it was free and plentiful. This is the first wish I can actually see myself asking a genie for. Who doesn’t want a magic beer cooler?

“And I wish high school home teams never lost”

This would mean that every high school team in the nation would finish every season at .500. Did you think about that, Riley? Did you think about what that would do to sports, competition, and the next generation of kids? Of course you didn’t. Think before you wish.

“And back road drinking kids never got caught”

Fuck the police. Agreed.

“I wish the price of gas was low and cotton was high”

Cheaper gas would rock. More expensive clothes would suck. I’m a split decision on this wish. Someone work out the economic ramifications and tell me if this would be good or bad for me.

“I wish honkytonks didn’t have no closing time”

I don’t know, man. I spent my early twenties in a city with 5am bars and I think it took, conservatively, a decade off my life. I’m usually not a fan of the man telling me when or where or how to drink, but given the state of my hangovers, I think last calls might have been one of the laws they got right.

“And I wish grandpas never died”

Me too, man. Me too. Some of your wishes are dumb, but this one is the one that matters.

6 comments

  1. Thank you!!! The “learn to drive ” (hell no!) And “Birmingham wish made me Google and come across your site. Some of these wishes are sweet and some of them sound like he’s stuck in a never closing honkytonk.

    Liked by 1 person

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