Warning: Some Language
Brilliantly crafted to be fiercely relevant during Bro-Country’s utmost height in 2013, a deceptively-described “unknown” and currently unsigned artist by the name of Chris Janson has country music pitching a tent in its pants after peaking on the iTunes charts due to country radio scourge Bobby Bones spinning this frapish timewaste on his syndicated radio show, and mindless consumers rushing out to buy it because it reminds them of the good ol’ days of Brantley Gilbert, and more importantly, because they were told to by the domineering voice emanating from their speakers.
As Bill Parcells once said, put the anointing oil away. This isn’t an independent country music savior, and this isn’t REAL COUNTRY (in all caps) as the troglodytes that come out of the woodwork like to preach when a subject like this surfaces. This is a Florida Georgia Line starter kit with a drum machine beat, Stratocaster-fueled wank-off guitars, ultra clichÃ© über laundry list lyrics, all compiled in a most unfortunate and shallow audio offering that profiteered off the fact that American radio ownership has been allowed to unfairly consolidate into these gargantuan juggernauts that can turn a play or two on a radio show into historic mountain moving events.
Chris Janson becomes the perfect pitchman for exuberant and unhealthy American consumerism in the wholly-unoriginal, culturally-deprecated, and easily-forgettable Bro-Country track “Buy Me A Boat.” Burying any of the wisdom found embedded in countless American music standards about how things such as love and hard work are the way to true fulfillment and happiness, Chris Janson says screw all that, if you want to be happy, then go out and buy shit. The lines, “I ain’t rich, but I damn sure wanna be” and “I keep hearing that money is the root of all evil, and you can’t stick a camel through the eye of a needle. I’m sure that’s all true, but it still sounds pretty cool” say it all. Sure, we’d all love to be rich, but throwing 55,000 years of human wisdom out the door because this dude wants a Sea Doo is pretty disturbing.
Audible, open-belly laughs emanated from me when I read how this song bucks current trends because it doesn’t mention Fireball or females, so said Bobby Bones to Rolling Stone Country. Bullshit I say. Especially for a song that can be gauged by a March 2015 perspective, the case can be made that on a 1 to 10 scare for the amount of clichÃ© and pandering, “Buy Me A Boat” would grade a 10.0. It may not mention Fireball, but it does mention “boat” (âˆš) “truck” (âˆš) “redneck” (âˆš) “blue collar” (âˆš) “beer” (âˆš) “Silver Bullet” specifically, so extra credit for corporate product endorsement, (âˆš) “cooler” specifically a Yet 110 so another product endorsement bonus (âˆš & âˆš). Yep, that’s pretty much the song. Original my country music ass.
And I know this song did well on the iTunes country charts for a few days, but let’s quit obsessing over a very proprietary system of music measurement that is purposely made to be susceptible to hyper-events that distort the overall picture on the impact of an album or a song. I’m not saying the iTunes charts don’t matter, but there’s a reason most music is measured on a weekly performance schedule instead of an hourly one—because these trends can distort the true impact and prospects of a song or artist. Bobby Bones purposely played the song multiple times, including two times in a 30-minute widow, and then goaded his listeners into buying it on iTunes to attempt to push it to #1. Meanwhile this is all a part of a Bobby Bones scheme to garner himself even more attention and appoint himself as the sole taste maker in “country” music after he was given and unearned and unhealthy perch by iHeartMedia that exacerbates his clinical narcissism.
Should we still be excited that an unsigned outsider can gain some traction without the aid of the evil empire encamped on Music Row? Gee I guess so, but what’s the fun of reaching the top of the mountain when you’ve sold your ass to do it? But let’s tap the brakes just a second on Chris Janson’s outsider status. This dude has played the Grand Ole Opry more than 60 times, 60 times, and was once signed to Sony, and published cuts with Justin Moore and Randy Houser. You don’t play the Opry 60 times as an outsider or an unknown, and you certainly don’t do it without the influential Opry GM Pete Fisher firmly in your corner.
So what’s the big takeaway from the Chris Janson “Buy Me A Boat” story? It’s that Bobby Bones has poor taste in music and can stir the gullible masses into buying something irrelevant and outdated by ordering them to do his bidding, and some dude with a shallow song can profiteer from it. This “Buy Me A Boat” phenomenon was the iTunes equivalent of a radio prank. It’s not inspiring or insightful about the trends in music, it’s embarrassing. And it’s also a shame, because Chris Janson actually has a few decent songs, but “Buy Me A Boat” isn’t one of them.
“Had I done this with a bad song, it wouldn’t have mattered, because people aren’t going to buy it if it’s bad,” said Bobby Bones.
Wrong again my little country music interloping friend. You mind-numbed listeners bought “Buy Me A Boat” because you told them to, and you, iHeartMedia, mainstream country music, and society at large have fettled them into nice little consumers who are used to following orders.
Two guns way down!