Stupid list thing going around the innernets these days asking music folks to list off then bands they’ve seen live, but one is a lie. As a similar exercise to get your country music brain muscles firing and to test your true acumen on the genre, let’s see if you can navigate this difficult intellectual exercise.
Down with Pop Country
Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line recently called this collaboration “a God thing.” I think a Satan thing is perhaps more appropriate. This Apocalyptic pairing for “Last Day Alive” inspires such an apoplectic response, you go from fearing your own death while in its audience, to praying for death to alleviate the suffering it bestows.
“Take This Job and Shove It” became an iconic country music anthem for a generation because it encapsulated the quiet desperation of the working man and the theater of the mind they would succumb to just to make it through another day to feed their families through lean times. Here, the Moonshine Bandits make it into an ode of the great American screwups.
WARNING: LANGUAGE — To release a song called “Body Like a Backroad” in the year of our Lord 2017, after we suffered through five years of embarrassment as a genre at the hands of the Bro-Country scourge, it goes so far beyond aggressively cliché, it’s just downright grotesque.
Is it too damn much to ask of the National Football League to find somebody to sing The National Anthem at the Super Bowl that has an established history of actually knowing the words to a song most 4th graders are tasked to recite verbatim before ascending to middle school instead of a performer with a sullied past of sliding by using subterfuge like Luke Bryan has?
Like an incorrigible habit that only works to expand the gut, shave years off of life, spends your money, and puts distance between yourself and the realization of your goals and dreams, country music should make a resolution to drop Sam Hunt and his big bag of nothing like the smelly, disgusting, cancerous, unhealthy habit he is.
‘Twas the party before Christmas, when all through the home
One creature was dancing, on a truck covered with chrome;
The beer cans were stacked on the chimney with care,
In hopes that Luke Bryan soon would be there;
Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Young, Calre Dunn, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Dallas Davidson, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Florida Georgia Line, Jana Kramer, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Steven Tyler, Thomas Rhett
“Love Me In A Field” makes the American farm sound like Walt Disney’s model for a sexual theme park, while the reality of things facing the American farmer is either selling out to Monsanto, or having 200 years of your family’s legacy parceled out in a bank liquidation due to falling water tables and intrusive estate taxes until all you have left to show…
Pop star Ariana Grande is saying “hell yeah” she would do something in the country realm, and her timing couldn’t be better. As pointed out by periodicals as diverse as Saving Country Music and The New York Times, country collaborations with pop stars are all the rage as vapid stars look to gain chart traction for terrible singles.
Uncle Rob’s video feed is known for taking everyday life hack topics and mixing in some explosive results. Don’t try this at home kids, but for his latest topic, he outlines the best way to listen to country music superstar Luke Bryan. You can probably guess what happens.
Michael Sweet says he has his own history in country, and has enough respect for it to where he sees right through the Steven Tylers and Brett Michaels who think you can turn into a country star like flipping a switch. No punches are pulled in the song and video for “Radio.”
What would fall and hit the ground faster in the vacuum left where Chris Lane’s self-awareness is supposed to be, a dense pound of his excessive ego, or a pound of air from his vacuous cranium? The answer is “Fix”—an abhorrent effort to assemble any and all obvious and transparent pandering mechanisms known to pop music’s collective brain trust.
You know, I would normally be so diametrically opposed to any rapper announcing his intent to make a country record that I would puff my chest out in defiance, shake my little fists, and give other indications of a stony countenance to let them know that I’ll be damned if they waltz through the gates of country music without at least a strong dose of hostile friction from my disgruntled ass.
Every year, Kenny Chesney’s annual concert on Pittsburgh’s North Shore at the Heinz Field has become the biggest country music embarrassment of the year. This year it’s the video of a drunken female talking on the phone, bent backwards like a character from an M.C. Escher painting while walking backwards before eventually falling down.
Clearly this trend of cross genre collaborations is only going to deepen, so with a servant’s heart and a sincere desire to help the collaborators and interlopers with their “country” efforts, Saving Country Music has constructed a pocket reference field guide to help these cross-genre collaborators navigate through their country music experience.
Every year we wonder if it can get any worse, and while there are positive signs for country music’s future all over the place, the bad stuff somehow continues to only get worse. The only saving grace is that many of the songs highlighted below have become commercial flops, whereas in previous years it would be a virtual Top 10 on the country charts.
Usually such a list is only reserved for the worst songs at the halfway pole of a given year, but 2016 has been especially lush with heartbreakily bad efforts, including from some artists who tend to be on the right side of the good music/ bad music divide. So before we really take the gloves off, let’s reflect back on 2016 biggest disappointments in the album category.
Musician, comedian, actor and writer Bo Burnham is known for mixing comedy with music in his stage shows and popular YouTube channel to deliver a cutting and hilarious perspective on modern life. And in a new special just released to Netflix called Make Happy, Burnham puts the modern state of country music directly in his crosshairs.
Here at Saving Country Music, if there’s anything we love more than baseball caps with perfectly flat brims being worn backwards at country shows (apparently called “snapbacks”), it’s a good contest. So when a press release arrived at headquarters announcing a “snapback” design contest for pop country group Old Dominion, you’re damn skippy I was game.