Saving Country Music’s Worst Country Songs of 2011

I’m sure every year since the early 90’s it would be easy to look back and say this is the worst year for mainstream country music ever. This may be the sign of a continuing downward trend, or a common symptom of the human condition that doesn’t allow us to look big picture. But what I can say for sure is that I never recall a year with this high caliber of a crop of bad songs. This group can hold their own against the Achy Breaky Hearts and Honky Tonk Bandonka Donk’s of the last few decades.

And this year might be the first that songs do well not in spite of being stupid, but because they are stupid as the thirst for irony in modern society seems to have no end. When taking a step back and trying to find the worst songs from the year, you can see 2011 will go down as the year when the laundry list country song perpetuated by the over-bravado doucher “New Outlaw” ruled the roost.

5. Brantley Gilbert – Country Must Be Country Wide

Unlike the other songs on this list, this one from the official “Country Music Douche” doesn’t have you reaching for a brown paper bag or running to the bathroom to unload your lunch, it’s more just insulting to the intelligence of the listener when you try to decipher the lyrics. This song is nothing more than a vehicle to drop transparent countryisms that people immersed in the corporate country culture expect to hear in their songs. And that’s the problem, they hear this song, but they don’t listen to it. Because if they did, they’d discover real quick it is an incongruent pile of leavings from a large farm animal. (read song review)

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4. Beer Time – Justin Moore

Double vomit. “Beer Time” proves that this 5’6″ pip squeak has as hard of a time performing an honest, heartfelt song as he does reaching the wine glasses on the top shelf of the cupboard. I picked this song because of it’s spectacular aptitude of soaring to new heights of suckitude, but really you can pick just about any song on his ridiculously-named Outlaws Like Me album and chances are it will be just as bad. (read review for Outlaws Like Me album)

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3. Toby Keith – Red Solo Cup

That’s right ladies and gentleman, raise your red solo cups high, and let’s all toast the onset of idiocracy! A dumb song, and an even dumber video expose Toby Keith as a business man and marketing guru first, then an artist. Toby owns the Show Dog Universal record label responsible for 2 of the 5 songs on this list. You have to give him credit for his cunning use and understanding of modern media: make a stupid viral video for an even more stupid song and you have the spoon fed public eating out of his hands. And just because Toby Keith admits this song is stupid, doesn’t mean it’s still not in fact stupid. I’d rather shit red solo cup shards than have my ears exposed to this audio abortion. (read “Red Solo Cup”: Bad is the New Good)

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2. Trace Adkins – Brown Chicken Brown Cow

Sexualized puppets and sexual innuendo specifically targeted towards children, this song is the lowest of the low. Toby Keith and Show Dog Universal should have know better when Trace twisted their arm to release this as a single. The pony-tailed baritone with a million-dollar voice and a 10 cent brain had delusions this would finally be the follow up to his blockbuster and the undisputed heavyweight champion of all awful pop country songs “Honky Tonk Badonka Donk”, but he was wrong. Trace may be every pop country-loving soccer mom’s sexual fantasy, but this song sucked so bad even Trace was eventually forced to admit defeat and pull it from radio.

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1. Jason Aldean – Dirt Road Anthem

This is it folks, this is the one. It is where the mono-genre went from theory to practice. And this song didn’t just partake in the previously-taboo mixing of country and rap in the mainstream format, it blew right through the barrier and kept on going until it became the best-selling, most-important, and most-influential song in all of 2011. All the others songs on this list are just stupid or silly or just downright bad, but this one is certifiably hurtful and dangerous when it comes to the integrity of country music. Like Garth Brooks flying over the crowd at Texas Stadium or Olivia Newton-John’s CMA win, we will look back at Dirt Road Anthem’s dominance of 2011 as a big black eye, and possibly the beginning of something even worse for the genre. (read song review)

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Dishonorable Mention: Taylor Swift’s immature “Mean” and Martina McBride’s mawkish “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”.