Well, it’s happened. As predicted by Saving Country Music and certain others, Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad” is now officially the longest-charting #1 single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the chart’s nearly 60-year-old history, logging a total of 25 straight weeks at #1, and beating a record previously held by Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” after shattering the record for a solo artist previously held by Leroy Van Dyke’s “Walk On By.”
And now, whenever someone refers to the history books to find out what song was the most successful in the genre from a statistical standpoint, they’ll find Sam Hunt, his pop/rap/EDM song with a verse that goes, “Got hips like honey, so thick and so sweet,” and his stupid haircut as the answer. The song has also been certified triple platinum, is the third most downloaded song in 2017 all genre, and is the most downloaded song in country. It has also been streamed 261 million times.
I don’t give a shit if you’re tired of hearing about Sam Hunt on Saving Country Music or anywhere else. This record falling into the hands of the most non-country “country” performer in history is a tragedy, is the very reason vehement defiance is necessary to the cause to save country music, and apathy for what is transpiring in the country mainstream is an ally to their efforts. At least in the case of Florida Georgia Line, we could blame the remix with Nelly and the new chart rules that factor in pop radio plays for the anomaly of the song’s success. And let’s face it, ” Cruise” is not nearly as terrible as “Body Like A Backroad,” even if it feels like choosing between two bastard children.
And who is to say the record stops here. “Body Like a Backroad” could very well have three or four more weeks in it at #1, or maybe even more before it falls out. What is rising up the charts that could top it at the moment? Where are the rest of country music’s heavy hitters that can offer some relief from the Sam Hunt summer of unadulterated hell on corporate radio courtesy of “Body Like a Backroad”?
I’m out of adjectives to describe the severity of this development, and any ideas of how to launch efforts to impeded Sam Hunt and “Body Like a Backroad.” There is no way to sugar coat this. After two solid years of what felt like substantial gains in substance in the mainstream, we have suffered the mother of all setbacks. The success of “Body Like a Backroad” is symbolic of the regression being felt across the country mainstream in 2017.
Does country music really want a song such as “Body Like a Backroad” to represent what it is, and what it stands for? Is this how we want this era of country music defined? Is this country music putting it’s best foot forward? In fairness, the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart is just as much a barometer of public opinion as it is the devil’s work of the country industry. The song continues to be helped greatly by radio, remaining in the Top 10 despite hitting #1 many weeks ago. But the success of “Body Like a Backroad” is very much due to the will of the people.
It’s a big Sam Hunt shit sandwich, and we all have to take a bite. Let’s hope this symbolizes another lowest point, and a rebound is on the way.