Sanneh pulls no punches, however. I loved this passage, about Paisley's second single, "in which a boy pays tribute to his mother's new husband":
It built to a chorus—"I hope I'm at least half the dad that he didn't have to be"—that was designed to make remarried mothers cry.... The song was a deft and novel articulation of family values, and it was Paisley's first No. 1 hit. It was also profoundly square, with plaintive piano chords and cozy lyrics about a happy family "crowded 'round the nursery window," and the literal-minded music video looked a lot like a commercial for something (maybe a mortgage company, or powdered lemonade).
It may have struck me as especially funny since I've been drinking a lot of powdered lemonade lately. It's my replacement for fountain soda, which was starting to give me stomachaches.
Paisley may also be a New Yorker reader. He's entered the Cartoon Caption Contest at least twice, and his captions are actually pretty good.