Well damn, all great things must come to an end, and the precious moments we’ve spent in country music gloriously absent of Sam Hunt and his shitty and derivative EDM music poorly disguised as country might finally be sunsetting. It seems like just yesterday when he showed up with his stupid haircut and started pseudo white boy rapping over hip-hop beats about who knows what kind of indolent urban bullshit, making purists clutch their pearls about the future of country music, and anyone with any decent taste looking like they just bit a lemon, and even the folks who found him catchy wondering aloud, “This is country?”
But believe it or not, Sam Hunt released his debut record now nearly five years ago. Sam hasn’t just been slow on delivering a sophomore record, he’s been outright missing in action. It seems like ol’ Sam Hunt lost his give a shits after releasing a whole record of vapid garbage, saying in 2017, “I don’t want to come off as … I’m not excited about making music or I’m not very hopeful to have new music for the fans who are anxiously awaiting new music, but, you know, I’m in a place in my career and in my life where I’m not willing to give music 100 percent of me anymore.”
There were rumors about Sam Hunt outright retiring, and it seemed like even he was getting wise to the weak nature of his songs, and losing passion for performing them. “Going forward, I’m not necessarily going to try to keep pushing, pushing, pushing to see how big I can get or make it or go with it,” he said. “It wasn’t my dream to be a writer, an artist, for life.”
Well unfortunately the news coming out of an interview with SiriusXM’s The Highway at Stagecoach last weekend is that Sam Hunt’s long drought of not recording new music is about to be over. “I’ll start recording the best of the last 10, 11, 12 months … in July and August, and I should have a record there,” Hunt said. “The songs are showing up. I would like to have two or three more between now and July, but for the most part, the record’s there. It’s just a matter of recording it … I made a point this year to get this record done come hell or high water.”
The early career success of Sam Hunt is unquestionable. He launched four #1 singles, and two #2 singles off his debut album Montevallo, which led up to the 2017 standalone single “Body Like a Backroad” becoming the longest-charting single on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in history (later bested by Bebe Rexha’s “Meant To Be”). But since then Sam has been on a bit of a losing streak. Hunt’s big plans for a genre-blurring festival in Nashville last year called “Nashional” got cancelled due to poor reception, and his last single “Downtown’s Dead” became the worst-performing song of his career, and by a long shot, stalling out at #15 on the charts.
If Sam Hunt gets into the studio this late summer, it still may be early 2020 before any new record sees the light of day. At that point it will have been six-and-a-half years since he showed up on the scene, and we’ll have to see if he Clint Black’d himself with his disappearing act. And even then, Sam Hunt still may not have the stomach to release the type of songs that once made him super popular.
Hunt also said in 2017, “My inspiration and the type of songs that I want to write don’t necessarily all aim in that [commercial] direction. So, now that I’ve established myself and am in the position that I’m in now, going forward, I’d like to explore writing songs that probably won’t be as commercially viable as some of the songs that I’ve written in the past.”
So who knows, Sam Hunt 2.0 may either not be as bad as we’re worried about, or even if it is, nobody may care anymore because they’re off into Kane Brown and Thomas Rhett now, and Sam Hunt is old hat. But at this point, the damage of Sam Hunt’s music is done. He pushed the boundaries of “country” so far, now you’re called racist if you question if Lil Nas X should be on the country charts, because hey, Sam Hunt was. This was the reason we were screaming from the rafters about what a danger Sam Hun t posed, and now all of those concerns are coming to fruition.
We’ll just have to see how new music from Sam Hunt transpires. But with his track record and all the hurt he’s caused the genre, it’s hard to take news of him heading back into the studio as a good thing.