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.
June 8, 2021 @ 8:50 am
OMG, I had to turn it off after 15 seconds! I just can’t stand this garbage 😛 And the fact that he actually has the audacity to mention Elvis in those first lines is a wonder to me. This stuff needs to be illegal to make.
Also, Trigger, thanks for the heads up on Aaron Vance! Much appreciated!
June 8, 2021 @ 9:09 am
The crazy thing is…Breland has the capability of making good music (albeit not Country music). I heard his song “Real Men Don’t Cry” on a Spotify playlist and was like “wait, this is the same dude??” It’s a decent pop song with substance that shows his gospel roots. But then you get this garbage so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
June 8, 2021 @ 9:18 am
Keith Urban back on the nose candy again?
June 8, 2021 @ 9:43 am
Man that picture is an embarrassing look for Keith Urban. If He released adult oriented pop songs I might be ok with him but when I was fan back in the 2000s it’s because at least he had good songs albeit not really country but nothing terrible. He really should go back to that sound or something because this style of pop that he’s been releasing since 2013 is just horrible.
June 8, 2021 @ 12:00 pm
He does release adult oriented pop songs. He just releases them to country radio because adult contemporary stations are playing Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber.
Bill from WI
June 8, 2021 @ 10:23 am
Great writing Trig! And to think people are quibbling about how country BBS is in another current article.
June 8, 2021 @ 10:38 am
Didn’t know Aaron Vance, or Chapel Hart. Thanks for the tip, they’re great!!
Does anybody know anything about Tony Jackson? His 2017 album was great, but I don’t think I’ve heard anything from him after that.
June 8, 2021 @ 10:39 am
I’m really regretting the fact that the USA didn’t stand back and let the Japanese invade Australia back during WWII.
June 8, 2021 @ 2:23 pm
Keith Urban is from New Zealand. It’s a whole other country, can’t get there by bus.
June 8, 2021 @ 2:36 pm
Picky, picky, picky.
Urban got his musical start in Australia.
Had the Japanese invaded Australia, Urban would presumably be performing now in Tokyo.
Japan’s loss would be America’s gain.
June 8, 2021 @ 7:11 pm
And if Mexico had beaten the Texans you’d be eating burritos … wait.
June 9, 2021 @ 10:58 am
I am regretting the fact that we ignored Patton’s warning and left the cowards breed more cowards.
June 10, 2021 @ 2:24 am
Thanks for your help Tex. But I think we were the first of any Allied forces to win a land battle against the Japanese at the battle of Milne Bay. That was after helping the British in North Africa for years before that.
June 10, 2021 @ 11:44 am
Aussie is leaving out a major fact about the Battle of Milne Bay.
Other military forces participated in that battle and made the Australian victory possible.
The troops who made the victory over the Japanese were from a nation whose initials are U. S. A.
Can you guess which nation that is?
June 12, 2021 @ 3:07 pm
Wow, a battle where Australia killed just over 600+ Japanese soldiers.
Big deal. The USA shouldered the load in the Pacific. But I guess when your country has a small and paltry military, you have to brag about little wins.
June 8, 2021 @ 10:47 am
Serious question. What really did happen to Keith’s music? Truthfully some of his earlier stuff really wasn’t awful, albeit pre 2010s.
June 8, 2021 @ 5:27 pm
My guess is the system convinced him he had to do what he does now to stay relevant. You’re right, his earlier stuff is not bad. But the Nashville machine convinced Keith his music had to change to stay relevant. Problem is, he has kept that format, likely to keep in his label happy. We’ve seen this with a lot of artists. They change their sound to appease the label, realize that’s not who they are, then go back making the music they want to. Saw that noticably with Dierks Bentley and Randy Houser.
June 8, 2021 @ 6:18 pm
Yeah, he was actually putting out some pretty good songs for the most part from his first two albums, especially. I still think “But For The Grace Of God” is the best songs he’s ever recorded. But for the past decade, he’s become one of the worst offenders when it comes to trend chasing, and now I just can’t stand him.
June 9, 2021 @ 4:10 am
It was always awful. You just like garbage music.
June 9, 2021 @ 6:28 am
Completely understand the stigma against his music now, but it’s pretty ignorant to look past his earlier efforts. And tbh, my tastes are pretty settled in the alt country scene, but I’ll analyze mainstream stuff all day long.
June 9, 2021 @ 7:43 am
I agree. About 15 years ago, someone lent me one of his albums to listen to. It had the song “You’ll Think of Me” on it, which I thought was actually a good song. For the rest, I remember a lot of rockish pop country with good lead guitar that wasn’t half bad. I didn’t rush off to buy it, but it was a listenable album.
June 8, 2021 @ 10:48 am
I swear Keith Urban looks like every “Let me see your manager!” soccer mom in the South. Looks like he would drive a 4runner or 4 door Wrangler with “mom life” on the back…
strait country 81
June 8, 2021 @ 8:07 pm
The type of men women country fans find attractive is beyond hysterical.
Song is almost as trash as their taste in men.
June 8, 2021 @ 10:58 am
Man, if you don’t think ‘talking about trucks and whiskey is enough’, you’re in the wrong business. Country is pop, and pop is country, money is money, it’s either a def Leppard ballad or a rocker with twang and maybe a dumb fiddle . But you know this, you’re just mad at it. Me too.
Your comparison of a racist stereotype with a stereotype fans of a specific musical genre face is a bit much, unnecessary, and ultimately lazy writing. I’m sure your readers understand the term ‘stereotype’. This is just music- it’s been ‘entertainment’ since the turn of the century.
But yeah, what a bunch of bullshit. The pop machine focus groups win again, and we all lose.
June 8, 2021 @ 12:06 pm
Emmons, you’ve obviously not followed the SCM blog for long. If you had, you’d know that
That old man upstairs, Trigger, wears a crooked smile, staring down at the chaos he created. He carefully crafted that simile I’m sure.
June 8, 2021 @ 12:26 pm
You might be conflating two things here. I think we all agree that the “trucks and whiskey” line of lyric making is derivative, and I think we all know why it is successful. My deeper point was that you have journalists and music critics that don’t cover country music traditionally coming in and espousing the brilliance and importance of Breland in helping country music to “evolve,” and calling his music country solely because it includes these super shallow cultural signifiers like beer and whiskey. These pop and hip-hop critics that are either assigned or compelled to cover country music at places like The New York Times and Vulture don’t have any real knowledge base of country and don’t like country, but find favor with an artist such as Breland because he’s decidedly not country, and write about how he’s just the kind of artist country music needs because that way it would be more appealing to them.
June 8, 2021 @ 3:15 pm
No, I understand your point, and I often share that point of view- just taking issue with the comparison you made to race.
Re: garbage music journalism, check out the pitchfork review of Bonnie Prince Billie’s ‘sings greatest palace music’- 2004 era- real curious what you’d think of that. One of my favorite albums with some of my favorite players, and an interesting flip- the personnel are a 2004 Nashville A-team, the singer isn’t a country singer, doesn’t write girl/truck songs, makes 0 moves in that direction, and it’s been written about as schmaltzy polished country, due to a full chord or two being in tune.
June 8, 2021 @ 5:43 pm
Pitchfork is the perfect example of a major publication that covers music, but is strangley unwilling to put someone on the staff that is familiar with country music, and instead delegates it to pop or hip-hop writers who naturally despise country music, but strangely love it when it sounds like pop or hop-hop.
That’s how you get writers like Natalie Wiener calling out an artist for his whiteness when he’s biracial.
June 9, 2021 @ 10:42 am
“These pop and hip-hop critics that are either assigned or compelled to cover country music at places like The New York Times and Vulture … don’t like country, but find favor with an artist such as Breland because he’s decidedly not country, and write about how he’s just the kind of artist country music needs because that way it would be more appealing to them.”
If mainstream media really cared about diversity in country music, they would be celebrating the Randy Rogers Band-La Maquinaria Nortena collaboration “Chupacabra,” which is a perfect blend of two distinct styles and a great, catchy song to boot.
But diversity only means one thing to those people, and it ain’t anything coming from south of the border.
June 10, 2021 @ 8:23 am
I believe that diversity in country music is an important thing to emphasize, and that everyone should be allowed to make and enjoy country music. But I have noticed that “diversity” to some almost solely means overemphasizing African American artists regardless of how country they are, or the merit of their music overall, while artists of Hispanic heritage, Asian heritage, artists from Europe, etc., seem to still be ignored. Lots of great artists out there of all colors, persuasions, and countries of origin. Lots of great black artists as well, and many of them are getting overshadowed by interlopers like Breland and Lil Nas X.
June 8, 2021 @ 11:37 am
Obviously the reason why you’re making this post is because you are threatened by the catchiness of this song you sound like a 12 year old kid at a barbecue looking through the dictionary for funny words your article sucks horse ass the song was never meant to be country so you might as well piss on your article
June 8, 2021 @ 12:01 pm
It’s called punctuation. Learn it if you want to be taken seriously.
June 8, 2021 @ 1:04 pm
Just reading through the comments and got curious…why would a 12-year old kid be looking through a dictionary for funny words at a BBQ?
June 8, 2021 @ 12:51 pm
carolina chocolate drop rhiannon giddens bopping these two on their heads with her banjo would sound more country than what either of these two dudes have put out in the last couple of yrs.
June 8, 2021 @ 12:59 pm
Not just with country music issues,…you have a way of putting to words and distilling the zeitgeist of current mainstream culture like nobody else.
I know there’s a serious downside to all of this, but it’s also so absurd it’s funny.
June 8, 2021 @ 1:48 pm
well damn ..it has a banjo , handclaps , a drum machine , nonsense lyrics and autotune . it MUST be country.
June 8, 2021 @ 2:21 pm
Keith’s radio days are fading away… it takes nearly 10 months for his P!nk pop collab to land the top 10 on airplay.
June 8, 2021 @ 5:21 pm
I just wish he would wear jeans befitting of a middle-aged man. I have long given up on him making music befitting of a middle-aged man.
June 8, 2021 @ 5:32 pm
Articles like this make me so angry. You are putting down an entertainer who brought joy to millions of people’s lives. He infiltrated the pop culture like few men did before him. He even had his own cereal. His name is Urkel, not Erkel. C’mon, Trig!
June 8, 2021 @ 5:36 pm
Terrible song, but on a side note, has anyone noticed the huge difference in “duets”? If it’s featuring a female artist, they seem to be nothing more than glorified background vocalists, just harmonizing but rarely getting a solo verse these days. Whereas a duet between two male artists have them exchanging verses. Definitely not fair.
June 8, 2021 @ 5:44 pm
I like turtles.
June 9, 2021 @ 6:27 am
Cannot agree enough. This thing ( not gonna dignify it and call it a song) is so bad its pathetic. A poor attenpt at satire. Keith and Breland might as well put on overalls and put a piece of straw in their mouths ( Hee Haw style) Unfortunately, it really insults actual Country music fans while at the same time exposing the ignorance and imbecility of anyone who thinks this is art or progress.
Any music critic who is recommending this claptrap or in any way implying there is greatness here, is drinking the Kool Aid and needs to be summarily banished from Microsoft Office Suite for eternity.
There is no redeeming value here.
Keith Urban, you have shed any last bit of credibility you may have ever had. (Keith was at one time the cute kid who idolized Glen Campbell on network tv) Glen Campbell himself, who understood the monetary potential in crossover music , would come back if he could, just to whip your pathetic , money grubbin’ desperate, aging and shrinking white man hind quarters, in front of God and everyone.
Breland, enough already with the cultural appropriation. You dont know a barn from a she -shed, and quit pretending you do.
June 8, 2021 @ 6:53 pm
I definitely don’t think Lil’ Nas X ever considered himself a country artist by definition. I don’t think I have ever heard Old Town Road, but anyone who can buy a beat created from a Trent Reznor banjo lick for $50 and go platinum without label backing is cool in my book! I also love his blood shoes and devil music as a concept. As for Urban, I never considered him country or good at writing songs. He can pick though.
June 8, 2021 @ 7:14 pm
Lil Nas X didn’t buy the Trent Reznor banjo lick. He stole it. Reznor deciding to be the bigger person is the only reason the situation didn’t turn ugly.
Also interesting to note: Trent Reznor and Lil Nas X have a CMA Awards.
Tom T. Hall, Dwight Yoakam, Rosanne Cash, Marty Robbins, Johnny Paycheck, David Allan Coe, and dozens of other deserving performers don’t.
June 9, 2021 @ 10:03 am
As far as I know he paid a producer for the track, if that amounts to stealing then sure he stole it. Clearly Trent Reznor does not care. The CMA award is a different matter entirely and something I don’t personally give a shit about. Though with the 50th anniversary of Clarence Whites killing coming in a couple years it would be cool to see him honored. I’m not holding my breath though. Sure would like some Satan shoes though. Would be cool to wear to church!
June 9, 2021 @ 10:55 am
Lil Nas X paid for the BEAT of the song through some sort of open sourced site operated by a producer. The banjo sample is separate. Trent Reznor owns it. That is why he is given a songwriting credit on the song. No producer would have the right to sell Trent Reznor’s sample. Lil Nas X, his manager Danny Kang, and Trent himself have all spoken on this matter. The banjo sample was taken without permission. As soon as Danny Kang found out it was unlicensed, he reached out to Trent Reznor, who’s notoriously stingy about what he allows to be used. But seeing that the song was already taking off, Reznor decided to not get in the way of it, take his songwriting credit (and a big payday), and move on.
Not trying to be a stickler about this, but I reported quite in-depth about the whole Lil Nas X thing and the media hype surrounding it, so I’m pretty intimate with the details.
June 8, 2021 @ 8:02 pm
Complete and utter garbage.
Naturally, it’ll be a No. 1 hit, while Charley Crockett will continue to be ignored.
June 9, 2021 @ 12:57 am
Keith Urban never ceases to amaze me.. And its not in a positive way…
June 9, 2021 @ 1:35 am
I don’t get it; why are so many people outside country music looking for country music street cred? It’s almost like the country fanbase is more lucrative for perfomers, financially speaking, than the hiphop, rock & edm crowds.
June 9, 2021 @ 7:52 am
As Lil Nas X said right after the controversy started with him, he purposely labeled “Old Town Road” as “country” because he knew it would have less competition and more likelihood of gaining traction in the country market. In hip-hop, it would have been ignored. No different than pop, hip-hop artists are now using country because it’s easier to make it in than in the hip-hop market, which edges out country artists.
June 9, 2021 @ 7:59 am
maybe this says more about the new ‘country music ‘ fan than about these fake ‘artists ‘ ? as the man once sang ‘ if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything ‘ .
The Ghost Of...
June 9, 2021 @ 3:55 am
It’s always nice to see a happy couple…
June 9, 2021 @ 4:08 am
Woke forced diversity look at me garbage.
Rickie Jon Connors
June 9, 2021 @ 8:27 am
This dreadful track reminds me, isn’t it about time for your Worst Songs of 2021 So Far list, Trig?
June 9, 2021 @ 9:37 am
Did anyone see that they’re honoring Linda Martell at the CMT Awards tonight? I know it’s the CMT awards but at least they’re celebrating a black artist who has actually sang country music and put the work in. It’s interesting that Charley Pride managed to overcome the racism of the time but she didn’t – makes me wonder what quality music we missed out on cause she was blacklisted from the industry because of racism and sexism.
June 9, 2021 @ 10:57 am
Sammy Kershaw said it best, “Country music hates itself.”
The genre is so willing to be part of the popular crowd that it is selling out what makes the genre unique.
Self-inflicted cultural genocide.
June 9, 2021 @ 12:29 pm
I just love the diversity of sound.
It’s so country progressive and inclusive.
It’s not really country and not really pop so it’s basically non-binary music.
Anyone who dislikes this song is just a bigot.
June 10, 2021 @ 3:11 am
Hopefully that post is sarcasm. If not let me call it what it really is. TRASH
June 10, 2021 @ 4:07 pm
“It’s not really country and not really pop so it’s basically non-binary music.”
That’s hilarious. Thanks, you made my evening.
June 9, 2021 @ 7:56 pm
Have you heard his song Cross Country w/ Mickey Guyton? Didn’t like either of My Truck nor Throw it Back but I thought that one was great.
June 9, 2021 @ 8:06 pm
Why are y’all so seriously mean-spirited? I love playful collaborations from artists who color outside the lines. Who cares what genre boxes a song checks if it makes your toes tap and your head nod? Breland and Keith both have an irresistible energy that infuses their music with joy. Peace and love.
December 2, 2021 @ 7:46 pm
Exactly! The guy got much more talent than Keith Urban. He is in this trap-country field because is a lot easier to being noted!! Sorry if I wrote something wrong, I am not a native english speaker and I’m not using the translator LOL
June 10, 2021 @ 1:56 pm
Mr kidman., plastic surgery disaster.
June 13, 2021 @ 5:37 am
The song is super gross but that lady’s voice on the chorus is pretty good.
July 16, 2021 @ 3:52 pm
Wasn’t going to comment on this cause why argue with a buttload of people who vehemently disagree with you but, I love Breland. I think he is a super talented guy who traverses all genres with ease, plus if you have ever heard an interview with him, is just the most enthusiastic smart creative guy who passionately loves music.
I take him over the vast majority of crap on country radio and I love his song with Keith Urban. As well as “don’t touch my truck.” Y’all see the future of country and don’t recognize it.
December 2, 2021 @ 7:44 pm
Exactly! The guy got much more talent than Keith Urban. He is in this trap-country field because is a lot easier to being noted!! Sorry if I wrote something wrong, I am not a native english speaker and I’m not using the translator LOL
September 12, 2021 @ 2:24 pm
This guy’s from New Jersey? What do you expect from a state that’s shaped like a wet condom
December 2, 2021 @ 7:40 pm
Actually Breland got much more talent than Keith Urban. He is doing these trap shits to get to the top, that is smart.
February 10, 2023 @ 5:05 am
Heard Breland on the radio this morning, he sucks so bad. He should just go make a hip hop album or join Boyz II Men. In all seriousness it’s not the worst stuff I’ve ever heard, he’s just singing a completely different genre of music and calling it country. It’s silly!