The reason we have a favorite type of music, and flee to it in times of mental anguish is to get away from the things that are causing the friction in our brains in the first place. That’s also the reason folks voice their displeasure so vehemently when a genre like country lets any poser with a pretty face within its ranks and ensconces them as a superstar. Country music is supposed to be a place where we go to get away from the dudebros and pop darlings of popular culture so you can imbibe in something more genuine. That’s why importing elements of pop into country causes such acrimony and conflict.
You may remember hearing about Walker Hayes when Saving Country Music declared his song “You Broke Up with Me” the Worst Country Song Ever with no hyperbole employed, and assigned the song the only (and maybe ever) negative grade on the seismic and proprietary “Two Guns” scale. That assessment of “You Broke Up With Me” still holds up by the way, and how could it not with aggressively indolent and self-centered lyrics such as, “Ain’t nobody making you watch me get my forget you on.”
But when reading the promotional copy for Walker’s upcoming album called Boom! scheduled to be released in December, I found even more compelling, insurmountable evidence of Walker Hayes’ douchbaggery, if you can believe it. The following is a quote, unadulterated, directly from Walker Hayes himself, and being used to promote his upcoming record.
“’Boom!’ It’s my favorite word. It’s what I text my team every time another station adds ‘You Broke Up With Me’… It’s the first thing I say after I play a song from the album for anyone. So, it’s what we had to call the album. I’m just so excited to share another part of the story. BOOM!”
That’s right, the favorite word from this performer—a man that is 37-years-old and has procreated no less than six times—is a fucking onomatopoeia. And he’s so enamored with this dumbass dudebro-ism, he’s named his album that—an album that popular country music media would lead you to believe is full of earnest songwriting dripping with depth and emotion, when this guy is more Chris Chris than the worst asshole in your office’s sales force.
I don’t care if Walker Hayes is the most upstanding citizen from his affluent suburb, donates to charity, is sweet as pie to his fans, and gives mouth to nose resuscitation to orphaned puppies. This is not the type of incendiarily vapid shit we need infecting anything being sold as “country.” Walker Hayes wants to make music? Then have him go swim with the big fish in pop world where he will immediately be exposed and gobbled up as the talk singing Sam Hunt ripoff he is.
Shane McAnally, the producer and songwriter who is the mastermind behind Sam Hunt, is grooming Walker Hayes to be the cash cow for McAnally’s recently-launched Monument Records, which is a division of Sony. The whole point of Hayes, as well as Sam, is to remake country music into the image of what people like Shane McAnally want country music to be, as opposed to what it is supposed to be, and has been for decades. They like this shitty talk singing pop music, and instead of putting forth the effort to market it on the pop market where they know they’d fail, they’re using their pre-established channels in country to push it to the public, aided and abetted by their bought off, willing accomplices in country radio.