It was either feast or famine for country singles in 2016. As the rigged singles system that almost guarantees #1 songs for any releases from big-named artists metastasized at radio—creating an incredible volume of singles hitting #1 for a solitary week before immediately falling off a precipice—if a song happened to not fit into that rigged system…
Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Young, Calre Dunn, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Dallas Davidson, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Florida Georgia Line, Jana Kramer, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Steven Tyler, Thomas Rhett
It’s always worth a chuckle when you hear someone say that country music must “evolve” to stay relevant, or hear an artist bellyache about how constricting country music is to their creativity. And then you put on a record like this and hear just how much a true artist can do with a simple message and melody, and three chords and the truth.
I’m speaking of Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation,” with its diabolically ridiculous baggage of 14 songwriters, and viral video featuring pubescent girls singing about drinking “cold ones.” “Vacation” is nothing more than two previous songs mashed together.
Yes, it’s very easy, and very popular and seductive to rally behind Kesha in this matter. The press and popular culture love to hate stories about women being kept down or even abused by overbearing men and the companies they run or hide behind. Kesha doesn’t have a particularly compelling reason to lie, though the way major label contracts are constructed, who wouldn’t want out of one . . .
See, this is what happens when you have poorly-coordinated white doofuses with about as much soul as a solid state amplifier get up on stage and try to pretend they can move like Bruno Mars. We’ve already seen Luke Bryan eat it numerous times, and it was inevitable Thomas Rhett would be heading into the Stage Fall Hall of Fame now that he’s decided to become a dance first, and sing second “performer.”
As an addendum to Saving Country Music’s Worst Songs list, 2015 necessitates we also single out some of the worst albums released in 2015. Take note that in most years, such a list is not necessary. Not that there aren’t bad albums, but even when you’re speaking about country music’s worst offenders, many actually release fairly decent songs on their albums. But 2015 was a different case.
And so continued on the unrelenting march of terrible songs in 2015. This year included some especially diabolical turns that puts the last 12 months in contention for the worst run for songs in country music history. Of course the usual suspects appear on the rap sheet like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Sam Hunt. But 2015 ushered in the worst year for watching previously heralded artists turning their coats from blue to red.
Alabama, Bret Michaels, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Danielle Bradbery, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, Granger Smith, Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Sam Hunt, Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Thomas Rhett, Ucle Ezra Ray, Zac Brown Band
It’s all R&B. Like, all of it. If it’s American and mainstream, chances are it’s better categorized as R&B than anything else. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re talking about. Of course R&B sounds like R&B, but so does hip-hop these days. Modern rock? Yeah, it’s pretty much just R&B. Country music? That may be the most convincing case.
Adele, Alabama Shakes, Brett Eldredge, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Coldplay, Country Music Gold, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan, Jason Aldean, Justin Timberlake, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, mono-genre, Old Dominion, Prophets and Outlaws, Sam Hunt, The Weeknd, Thomas Rhett
Not everybody is happy about all this mainstream success and good times being had by Chris Stapleton and his fans. So for the sake of argument, fairness, and equal time, let’s take an honest, devil’s advocate look at Chris Stapleton, and see if some of this criticism is worthy of wearing the luster off of his CMA wins, and astounding commercial success subsequently.
Well well well. In yet another bid for you to firmly affix your eyeballs to the boob tube on Wednesday, November 4th for the 49th annual CMA Awards, it has been announced that critic’s favorite and thrice-nominated SteelDriver turned songwriter turned performer Chris Stapleton will be performing with former ‘N Sync member turned solo superstar Justin Timberlake. Though if you’ve been reading Saving Country Music, you probably already knew this.
There was another big battle at the top of the country albums charts last week, and once again the good guys won. Despite the perception by so many in the mainstream country business that radio play and youth is the key to success, two guys in their 60’s with no mainstream radio love topped the charts, and not just from statistical anomalies based on weak numbers, or on an off week for releases.
The hubris, the insult of calling Tangled Up “country,” the effrontery to the institution and the brazenness of the act are unparalleled, and start country music down a brambled path towards a terrible demise where it can’t define its own borders or distinguish itself from the rest of American music. For the first time, we ask the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and cannot give ourselves a reassuring answer.
Out with the old and in with the new. You thought Bro-Country was bad? Well just wait until you hear what country music has in store for you now. White washing away anything and everything to do with country, here comes a completely new style that unlike Bro-Country, isn’t being segregated to a dedicated segment […]
We have entered a new era in country music where the ambitions and influences an artist shows up to Nashville with are patently irrelevant, and all that matters now is finding a seat at a shrinking table and making whatever concessions one must to secure your spot. It’s a cutthroat version of musical chairs, with the participants most willing to sell out the hardest having a distinct advantage.
On Saturday night (9-12), the CCMA’s also threw their annual awards gala where 20 CCMA were handed out, including one to Last Gang Records singer and songwriter Lindi Ortega who walked away with the distinction of Roots Artist of the Year. This is Lindi’s second win in the roots category in a row. Lindi released her latest record ‘Faded Gloryville’ on August 7th.
Beck’s 1999 “Midnite Vultures” is the Perfect Foil to Today’s R&B/EDM Country Craze (Vintage Review)
What on God’s wide creation would persuade the proprietor of a country music website to take the time and effort to compose a dissertation on some album by a pasty-skinned genre bender released over 15 years ago that has little to nothing to do with country music and doesn’t even comprise one of the more popular titles from his catalog?
WARNING : LANGUAGE — What is “Vacation?” It’s the taking of two separate compositions: War’s “Low Rider,” and Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” smashing them together like your 4-year-old would two pats of Play-Doh, having Thomas Rhett white-boy rap imbecilic lyrics over it through an Auto-Tuner for a few minutes, and then spitting out the result on some douchebag producer’s Mac.
We bitch, we moan, we criticize, we celebrate the symbolic little victories that give us hope that a sea change for country music is imminent, or at least slowly taking hold, even though in many respects things only seem to get worse every year. And we look for ways to implement meaningful solutions to the problems plaguing country music so it can once again become a medium of creativity.
I guess my first question is why stop there? If you already have 14 songwriters on board, why not go for the world record? Throw the barn doors wide and make a party out of it. You want to contribute a word or two? Then come on in! Order some pizza. String up a piÃ±ata. Put a homeless guy on there for shits and giggles. Throw that guy that used to pick on you in high school in the songwriting credits as an inside joke.