On Breland and Keith Urban’s Collaboration, “Throw It Back”

When Breland’s indolent, derivative, and embarrassing semi-hit “My Truck” dropped and was being demonstrably sensationalized by the slavish media, it was determined then that it wasn’t even worth shitting on. Sort of the store brand version of Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road,” despite all the assurances from media—most decidedly outside of the country music mindset and expertise—that it would be the next big thing in country, all it could muster was a #26 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, which is a popcorn fart in the world of viral tracks, especially for all the fawning praise and extreme attention it received for reasons well beyond the merit of the work.

“My Truck” did eventually go Platinum … some 1 1/2 years after being released. But Breland and “My Truck” were one of numerous tracks and artists proclaimed to be “the next Lil Nas X” that would radically shift the paradigm in country music that very much failed to do so. In fact, Lil Nas X didn’t really change the paradigm in country either. It was all just a media spectacle predicated on lies that ultimately had a marginal effect on the mainstream, if any, while actual people who listen to actual country music barely noticed beyond their 6-year-old nephew annoyingly signing it at a family barbecue in the summer of 2019.

But now Breland is back, and collaborating closely with Keith Urban in the hopes of giving him some credibility in country’s mainstream. Jokes on him though, because Keith Urban has no credibility to lend. Don’t believe me, just recall when he accidentally won Entertainer of the Year in 2018, and everyone was apoplectic aside from the gaggle of his fan club members still current on their dues, and Nicole Kidman.

In truth, it’s likely Keith Urban who is hoping Breland can lend him some relevancy. Ever since receiving that Entertainer of the Year crown in 2018, Keith Urban’s failed to turn in a #1 single, despite working with Julia Michaels, P!ink, Nile Rogers, and now Breland. Two years from qualifying for AARP, Keith Urban can’t figure out why folks have soured on him singing material for 20-somethings. So he’ll keep working with collaborators until he cracks the code.

“Throw It Back” by Breland (feat. Keith Urban) is the same lyrical refuse “My Truck” was, set to music that is the certifiable scientific antithesis of what country is supposed to be. The justification of what makes this country comes from fuckwhitted pop and hip-hop journalists who have such an aggressively shallow and horrifically misinformed outside perspective of what country is, they simply think talking about trucks and whisky is qualification enough.

You might as well just tell country fans to go eat shit. This stereotype is tantamount to the caricaturist notion that all black people eat is fried chicken and watermelon. What a colossal insult to the artistry country music has fostered and espoused for going on a century. Think of the poetry of Kris Kristofferson, the wit of Roger Miller, the warming soul of Don Williams, or the wisdom of Willie Nelson. Then listen to 30 seconds of this diuretic refuse from Breland, and pick out the similarities, like trying to spy what you had for dinner in your own vomit pile. Breland makes Kane Brown sound like Hank Williams, or a cat walking across an electronic keyboard like Mozart.

When Breland looks at Florida Georgia Line on the country creativity food chain, he’s looking up. That’s how pathetic this effort is. But the same exact set of critics that were roasting Florida Georgia Line in 2014 and dog-piling country for its misogyny and stupid list-like lyrics are now praising and promoting Breland and his ilk to no end, or giving him a pass. We all know why.

Breland and “Throw It Back” are not the problem. The problem is the idea that the way country music needs to diversify is by welcoming music into country that sounds exactly like everything else in popular music, and the exact opposite of what country music is supposed to be. That’s not diversity, it is the death of diversity. And in quiet moments, these political apparatchiks pushing this agenda who’ve embedded themselves in country music know this, but promote Breland anyway, while actual country artists who happen to be black continue to be marginalized and pushed to the back of the line by pop/hip-hop carpetbaggers and interlopers like Breland.

Ever heard of Chapel Hart or Aaron Vance? Of course you haven’t, because they fall into what’s truly the most marginalized class of country performers, which is performers who actually play country music.

The media and industry are using Breland, no different than how corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, or Merrill Lynch send their mid level execs to racial sensitivity training to get the social justice larpers off their backs so they can perpetuate whatever actual real-life atrocities on marginalized populations in peace while being praised for their progressiveness. Oh look at that, Breland has barely made a scratch of impact on country music, and clearly has no actual association with genre sonically, but he has his own show on Apple Music Country. Gee, I guess we can’t call them racist then. We really can’t call it country either.

Breland is probably not a bad kid. The son of two ordained ministers who grew up listening to Gospel in New Jersey, he’s a dorky Urkel type just trying to get attention and launch a career, even if he knows better. And in an era when mediocrity is rewarded and artistry shunned, the results are tracks like “My Truck” and “Throw It Back.” Maybe this stuff is par for the course currently in pop and hip-hop, and if Breland or anyone else want to peddle his wares in those realms, I wish them all the best. But it ain’t country.

That’s what I think about Breland.

And Keith Urban, my God. Find some self-respect.

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