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On July 25th, 2012, Waylon Albright Jennings, aka “Shooter”, the son of the late Waylon Jennings, sold out as hard as one can to the forces of big corporate mainstream Music Row pop country by releasing an undeniably pop country song and video with “The Nickelback of Country Music”, Bucky Covington.
But that’s okay, because he was wearing a Scott H. Biram shirt while doing it.
“Drinking Side of Country” is so bad, it is impossible for me to write a review for it that is negative enough. It is a song and video for 14-year-old mop-headed boys to masturbate to. The first thing you need to know about the song is that it’s an older song that Bucky originally cut in 2010 that they changed the lyrics to because of an embarrassing situation involving Shooter. You see, the original chorus had Bucky referring to himself as an “Outlaw on the run.” But seeing how in Shooter’s song “Outlaw You” he publicly called out pop country pretty boys who use the term “Outlaw”, they changed it. They were hoping all the tits in the video would distract from the lyrical shell game, but luckily you have your sweet, lovable Triggerman here to set the record straight.
This is a classic materialistic, chauvinistic, image driven song and video with positively no soul, relatively no story, and absolutely no attention paid to message or artistic appeal. It’s fluff. The only difference between this song and one from Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, or Brantley Gilbert is … well … nothing. It’s corporate music that contains all the calling cards of pop country: the token banjo, the bikinis, the reference to booze, the materialistic shots of vehicles, and the wholesale vapid approach that conveys nothing but envy and consumerism. In fact, what it is is a rap song and video; a product of the mono-genre. Pimps with all their ho’s and hot rods.
In this song they decide to razz on the beautiful city of Detroit, saying “So we went up to Detroit and took some country to the city. Like some old hillbilly tourists I guess we looked real silly.” Ha! Detroit is way more country than this song, video, or Bucky and Shooter combined.
What does “Drinking Side of Country” even mean? It means nothing. It’s focus group-driven consumerism demographic-pandering drivel. See here, Shooter likes beer so much, he can’t even put it down to talk at the camera.
The kinky sex backroom deal ultra-corporate cross-marketing stamp is all over this song and video as well. Bucky Covington and Shooter were paired together because they share the same label. Kellie Pickler appears in the video, and was on the same season of American Idol as Bucky. The video was released through Maxim, where Kellie has a big interview and photo spread this month.
Is “Drinking Side of Country” the worst song attempting to garner attention on country radio right now? No, no it’s not. Tim McGraw’s “Truck Yeah”, Kip Moore’s “Somethin’ About A Truck” and a few others are worse. But I would put it in the bottom 10 percentile in regards to substance.
And I don’t want to hear anybody talk about how this song will give exposure to “underground” bands. The gateway drug theory rarely pans out, and you don’t attract new fans with shitty sellout songs, you attract them with the good ones, with substance. You shouldn’t have to mince your words, shave off the edges and apologize for real, authentic music. Instead you should educate and expose people to the real stuff with the confidence and sincerity that it is truly better. “Drinking Side of Country” doesn’t represent the values of anything underground or independent, it represents the the selling out of those values.
If you watch the video for “Drinking Side of Country” and truly believe that it has anything to do with independent, underground, real, true, Outlaw, or just pain good country music, or if you think it has any substance whatsoever in the context of any music, then you my friend have been completely duped by the cult of personality of Shooter Jennings.
Just think of what Dale Watson would say watching this video. Envision him sitting there taking it all in, with his white fluffy pompadour, butterfly collars and leather vest, with his nickel-clad Telecaster slug over his shoulder. I think I know what he’d say.
Two guns way down!