Whereas 2013 seemed to be dominated by country rap singles, 2014 has so far been the story of EDM, or Electronic Dance Music. Though EDM and hip hop can sometimes be mistaken for each other, especially to the country consumer’s ear and because the two disciplines have numerous similarities, there are also many clear differences between the two disciplines.
Dirt Road Anthem
When looking at the historical timeline of country music, many times it is big events that set the wheels of change in motion, for the good and the bad. Whether it is intrusion of pop or rap into country, or the ill-treatment of country music greats, here are some of the most embarrassing moments in country music history.
Alan Jackson, Bob Dylan, Chris Gains, CMA Awards, Darius Rucker, DeFord Bailey. Jason Aldean, Dirt Road Anthem, Garth Brooks, George Jones, Grand Ole Opry, Hank Williams, Jakob Dylan, Jason & the Scorchers, Jessica Simpson, John Denver, John Hartford, Keith Urban, Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, Ludacris, Olivia Newton John, rap, Rascal Flatts, Reinstate Hank, Ryman Auditorium, Sheryl Crow, Stonewall Jackson, Struggle, Taylor Swift, Waylon Jennings
All of a sudden hip-hop influences are dominating the top of the country music charts, asserting just as much influence, if not more than indigenous country influences, with a bevy of new country rap tunes from numerous artists ready to be released, and mainstream artists lining up to try and be a part of the trend. How did country music get here?
Aaron Lewis, Accidental Racist, Ashley Monroe, Blake Shelton, Boys 'Round Here, Brad Paisley, Brantley Gilbert, Colt Ford, country rap, Cowboy Troy, Cruise, Darius Rucker, Dirt Road Anthem, Florida Georgia Line, George Jones, Jason Aldean, Jawga Boyz, Joe Diffie, Kid Rock, Lil Wayne, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, LL Cool J, LoCash Cowboys, Ludacris, Luke Bryan, Lynard Skynard, Miranda Lambert, Moonshine Bandits, Nelly, Pistol Annies, remix, Sheryl Crow, Staind, Struggle, T Pain, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Warren Zevon, Waylon Jennings
We all know them and we all hate them, those ubiquitous and ridiculous pop country songs that make us hang our heads in shame, embarrassed to call ourselves country fans, constantly making us having to explain that no, we don’t listen to that type of country. They pursue us doggedly, on the radio, over the speakers at the grocery store, blaring from a car full of high school kids at a red light.
1994, Achy Breaky Heart, Bad Country Songs, Big & Rich, Billy Ray Cyrus, Blake Shelton, Boys 'Round Here, Brad Paisley, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, Corn Star, Country Girl (Shake It For Me), Craig Morgan, Cruise, Dirt Road Anthem, Florida Georgia Line, Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, I Wanna Talk About Me, Jason Aldea, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Red Solo Cup, Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy), She Think's My Tractor's Sexy, Stuck Like Glue, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Truck Yeah, Worst Country Songs of All Time
When President Obama won re-election last Tuesday, he said in his speech that what makes America strong is not that it has the greatest wealth in the world, or because it has the strongest military, or because its culture is the “envy of the world.” Obama cited America’s diversity, and the bonds that hold that diversity together as the reason the United States remains the most powerful nation on the planet.
Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s hard to dispute that the CMA Awards are the most important night in country music every year. The nominations announced last week had a few interesting wrinkles including Kelly Clarkson for Female Vocalist of the Year, so let’s take a in-depth look at what’s coming up on November 1st and make some predictions.
2012, Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Carrie Underwood, Chief, CMA Awards, Dierks Bentley, Dirt Road Anthem, Eric Churck, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldea, Jason Isbell, Kelly Clarkson, Kirs Kristofferson, lionel richie, Miranda Lambert, Snoop Dog, Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown Band
I can’t 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.
Just like how Taylor Swift’s big 2009 sweep of the awards caused a dramatic pop-oriented shift in the genre, an Aldean sweep could cause a shift to Aldean’s calling cards of checklist songs and country rap. And a win for the song “Dirt Road Anthem” would all but make the formation of the mono-genre complete.
Country and folk music have a long history of joining forces to create infrastructure to help support music, principally in festival gatherings. And as the corporate music world continues to crumble and is able to support fewer artists, while capital and infrastructure to develop upcoming acts continues to contract, hip-hop and indie rock bands have been flocking to traditional roots festivals for support.
Jason Aldean’s country-rap breakthrough hit “Dirt Road Anthem” is climbing the charts, and after the recent release of the video and his performance with Ludacris at the CMT Awards, I suspect it will remain in the Top 10, if not take one of the top tier spots very soon. So I thought it might be fun to peel the skin back and see what this puppy is made of.
With Kid Rock hosting the CMT Awards, with country rapper Colt Ford performing, and with Jason Aldean and Ludacris closing the show out with a rap song, you can make the case that 15%-20% of the 2011 CMT Awards was either rap or rap inspired. I expect those percentages to increase until the number gets to 50%. Then the mono-genre will be fully realized, and the death of contrast will be complete.
The parade of new lows coming from Music Row in Nashville just keeps coming folks. The pre-Holiday period of 2010 might go down as the worst ever. The latest low blow comes from Jason Aldean, whose single off his album released today called My Kind of Party is a straight up rap song.