Sam Hunt Goes On Media Charm Offensive, & Succeeds
This isn’t hard people. Toby Keith’s song “Drunk Americans” isn’t “social commentary,” Kenny Chesney’s new album The Big Revival is not “progressive,” and Sam Hunt and his music have nothing to do with country aside from the channels it’s been chosen to be peddled under because the historically pliable country music fan won’t question as a turd sandwich is shoved down their throat and called tuna.
In country music’s big pivot from the shallowness of Bro-Country, apparently they believe you don’t have to materially improve your music, you just have to say that you are, and country music media will lap it up. Unlike the dunces in Florida Georgia Line or Brantley Gilbert who I’ve yet hear form a complete sentence, when you shove a microphone in the face of Sam Hunt, actual coherent language comes out, and apparently that feat is enough to woo country music’s literati into believing he has a legitimate place not just under the country music umbrella, but perched on the crown of it. Oh, and if you don’t see the country music merit Sam Hunt, it’s because you’re a closed-minded, shallow-listening purist who needs to remove the stick from your ass and understand that country music has evolved, yo.
In a barrage of recent press, Sam Hunt apologists pontificate how country music’s answer to the rise of EDM is not just legitimately qualified to be considered “country,” but that his music is of high quality, and is healthy for the genre. Excuse me, but can someone please ship the “quality” version of Hunt’s Montevallo to the Saving Country Music headquarters, because sweeping aside all of the arguments of what is country or not, “quality” is something that never ever crossed my mind when listening to that aggressively mind-numbing exploration of musical tropes and oft called-upon clichÃ©s machine gunned out in unmerciless succession.
It seems some of the theories of how excellent Sam Hunt’s album is are based off of the involvement of songwriter Shane McAnally—a critic’s superstar at the moment because of his work with Kacey Musgraves on many of her acclaimed songs. This was an important point made in a recent Entertainment Weekly interview with Sam Hunt, and in another piece by the great Barry Mazor (who has an excellent new book out about Ralph Peer) writing for Engine 145. “Hunt’s written the ten songs with the likes of Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally the latter pair wrote ‘Merry Go Round’ with Kacey Musgraves, and Crowell and McAnally produced the set, keeping these particular pop country sounds tightly and appropriately tied to the songs’ meanings and levels of emotionality. Sam Hunt brings to all that the assured vocal finesse that can give ‘polished’ a good name.”
But what these taste makers are overlooking is that McAnally’s list of song credits has always been a mixed bag of semi-quality, yet still formulaic offerings for the mainstream, along with unapologetic commercial tunes. As Saving Country Music pointed out in September of 2013 in an article called Dallas Davidson & Country Music’s Narrowing Songwriting Consortium, “On the surface he seems to be a writer who works with more substance compared to Luke Laird and Dallas Davidson, but he’s also given credit for co-writing Florida Georgia Line’s ‘Party People,’ and Lady Antebellum’s ultra-saccharine ‘Downtown.'”
No offense to Shane McAnally; it’s great that he’s been able to be a part of songs that at least attempt to instill some quality in the mainstream, but that shouldn’t allow him a lifelong hall pass from hearing about it when he helps to write rubbish, like Toby Keith’s “Drunk Americans” or Sam Hunt’s “Leave The Night On.” In my opinion McAnally has burned through his critical cred long ago, and at the least is on an even keel when looking critically at any future creative output, not grading him on a curve.
And besides, the songwriting is arguably where Sam Hunt and Montevallo suffer the most. While Hunt’s defenders focus on trying to explain why it is okay to call urban club music “country,” they also lean on the songwriting as the consensus builder of the album and what ultimately makes it “country.” Sam Hunt tells Entertainment Weekly, “I feel like they’re all country songs lyrically. They’re just stories about country life.” And Barry Mazor says Sam Hunt is “potent music that reflects the lives, responses and rhythms” of low-income country folks. But aside from the lyrics of “Break Up in a Small Town” which nestles down in what has to be the one of the most overused clichÃ© tropes of modern country, I fail to see what is so country about these songs, while some of them venture so far into urban themes they could illustrate the absolute antithesis of country from a lyrical standpoint, punctuated by urban annunciations, artifacts, behavior, and jargon.
I truly question if I’m listening to the same damn album as these other writers. I hear Sam Hunt quoting Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” and saying lines like “It’s still early out in Cali,” “Blame it on the bikinis, party girls, and martinis,” “Tanned legs in the nights, sliding out of the sea, stilettos at the crosswalk,” and “All dolled up at the bar, with debit cards, they don’t know how pretty they are
City girls, city girls.”
Doesn’t sound very country to me.
As Saving Country Music said in the review of Montevallo, it is “an excruciatingly-typical urban dance album that does Molly-laced grinds up against every single worn out trope of the velvet-roped, indirect-lighted, $15 cocktail club scene and the music thereof. Aside from the banjo in the song “House Party,” the steel guitar in “Single for the Summer,” and the sentiment in “Break Up In A Small Town,” this ten-song LP is a product of the pop/EDM world 100%.”
Barry Mazor also says that some critics “notice only that the subject territory seems similar to that of a lot of ‘Chart Country’ guyz lately, and the record’s tone on the more pop end of the spectrum…” He also goes on to call Sam Hunt and Montevallo, “fine country music.”
The Fader goes one step further, with writer Duncan Cooper penning a piece called Why Sam Hunt is Good for Country Music. In the article he contrasts the success of Sam Hunt with the rise of Sturgill Simpson. He also talks to Mr. Hunt, and even reads him a quote from the aforementioned SCM review of Montevallo that goes, “Nice guy and good songs or not, Sam Hunt isn’t stretching the ‘country’ term, he is a downright attacking it, and represents a fulfillment of the mono-genre that should be roundly rejected by country music or face potentially dire long-term consequences.”
Sam Hunt’s response is, “My intention was not to try to convince any skeptics that my music was country. It’s hard to understand everybody’s definition of what country music is, and mine may not fit the definition of my critics, so it’s kind of pointless for me to get involved in an argument where we just have different ideas about what country music is. In an argument like that, I think two people can be right.”
Sorry Sam, but you’re wrong, and you know it, and you know this entire project was hatched as a calculated marketing angle that has paid off in spades. Now you and others are trying to justify this pursuit because it clearly doesn’t fit within the country music panorama.
The Fader‘s Duncan Cooper does make a valiant attempt in a well-written piece to say that both traditional-sounding artists like Sturgill Simpson, and EDM artists like Sam Hunt, can be called country, and we can all join hands and sing “Kumbaya” under one big cohabited tent. However the truth is country music has become the veritable ground zero for the contentious culture war by taking musical elements and members of different segments in society and trying to scrunch them all together uncomfortably in one genre for the marketing expediency of major labels. There is absolutely nothing wrong with EDM music, or hip-hop, or rock, or pop, or even combining these styles when it is done with heart and taste. If Sam Hunt wants to make urban dance music, then hey, he should do that. But he should call it what it is and push it through the appropriate channels as opposed to being a catalyst for conflict by predicating his music on sonic misnomers that breed misunderstanding.
Music as a gateway drug only works if it accurately represents where you’re trying to lead listeners.
With all respect to The Fader and Duncan Cooper, he misidentifies the concerns of country traditionalists by saying, “Large corporations have seen reason to give supercountry a boost, and in doing so, have implicitly crowded out more traditional styles that might’ve been promoted instead, derailing hypothetical futures where roots-minded artists might, with equal exposure, attain equal audiences.”
This is where people who wish to defend the integrity of the term “country” and the genre it represents are commonly misunderstood. Sturgill Simpson doesn’t want to be signed to a major label or win big awards, and neither do his fans. They’re perfectly happy seeing him in packed clubs or small theaters, and fear the day they have to squint at him on a stadium stage. Sturgill doesn’t want to be associated with what is being played on the radio. There is no envy or jealousy whatsoever. Should Sturgill Simpson be recognized by the CMA Awards or be played on the radio? Of course he should, but if it is done by Sturgill Simpson compromising who he is instead of the industry truly recognizing what they’ve missed, there’s no value in it. They would rather stick to the independent world.
There is this diseased sentiment that is currently being carried by country that you should strive to be the biggest of everything, and that is how success is measured. That is why the country industry is pushing artists like Sam Hunt so strongly. But in striving to be the biggest, you detach yourself from your roots, you don’t grow sustainably, and holes begin to populate the integrity of what you’re doing, putting you on unsure footing and the path for an eventual fall from grace. See rock music.
Diversity is what makes music both beautiful and healthy, and a vibrant tapestry for consumers to explore and find fulfillment in ways that enrich their lives in a manner that speaks to them more personally based off their predisposed tendencies and cultural upbringing. And somehow when you come to the defense of this diversity, and challenge the idea that all music should sound different and be accurately classified to aid this exploratory endeavor, it is mischaracterized as closed-minded or being unwilling to evolve.
Before there was Sam Hunt and “We Can Leave The Night On,” there was Jerrod Niemann and “I Can Drink To That All Night.” Anyone heard from Jerrod Niemann lately? Anyone even keeping up on how his last two singles have been huge failures? He stretched the boundaries too far, and though he succeeded in garnering himself some short-term attention, in the end it wasn’t only unsustainable, it was ultimately detrimental to his career. And that is the same risk country music runs by betting its future on Sam Hunt, EDM, or anything else that resides out of country’s historical fold.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Sturgill Simpson has been hinting at the possibility of collaborating with electronic elements in his future projects.
Sam Hunt seems like a great guy and a smart cookie, and good for him. And if country critics or listeners find a guilty or an non-guilty pleasure in his music, who is it for me or anyone else to step in front of the enjoyment of that music? But the simple fact is he’s not country, and the CMA, radio station programmers, label executives, critics, and even fellow country stars should stand up for the integrity of the country genre, put forward and celebrate it’s virtues instead of the virtues of other genres, and be happy playing second fiddle to pop instead of trying to take over the popular music world by incorporating it.
Let’s celebrate the diversity of music, not attempt to resolve it.
December 2, 2014 @ 9:25 am
Sitting here reading this article with Waylon Jennings playing through my headphones. ‘Nuff said.
December 2, 2014 @ 9:32 am
Sam Hunt is to country music what Taco Bell is to Mexican food.
December 2, 2014 @ 11:41 am
I’d say more like Italian food. Or Chinese.
December 2, 2014 @ 6:44 pm
I love taco bell
December 5, 2014 @ 7:23 pm
MCRIBS FREAKING RULE!!!
December 2, 2014 @ 9:43 am
I’ve been saying this since Dierks Bentley dropped ‘Riser’ earlier this year – there’s a way to make more electronic elements work in country. Amp up the steel guitar to match some of the synthesizers, keep a solid guitar lick, give the percussion some grit, get a larger mix, and get a vocalist who can match it effectively. Brad Paisley and Dustin Lynch both took shots at that style this year, and if Jay Joyce knew what the hell he was doing behind the production board, Little Big Town could have had something similar with ‘Pain Killer’ instead of the ‘Tusk’/’The Outsiders’ cross that it turned out to be. If Sturgill Simpson chooses to work with Dave Cobb again, I’m sure the electronic elements will sound fantastic.
Sam Hunt, on the other hand, can’t balance his mix to save his life, uses blandly obvious drum machines that have no texture, obviously weak synths, and comes across as a real jackass on many of his tracks. He might be able to talk his way around some critics, but I listened to that fucking album, his songwriting doesn’t hold water. My review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8XT6HtYegc
December 5, 2014 @ 6:01 pm
Well said my friend.
December 2, 2014 @ 9:46 am
I applaud this rant, Trig. I’ve said similar things in the past, and you hit it right on the nose. For whatever reason, these pop-country fans are so damn stubborn and insistent on the fact that their favorite music be called country. Just like the 80s when everything from Bon Jovi to Metallica were called Rock. “Country” is so diluted with the same sounding BS.
And yet, we’re the close-minded haters when we don’t agree with the conformists and popular opinion that their music is good. I might be in the minority with this opinion, but I actually like and enjoy the bro-esc/party country songs when they’re apart of diversity from both radio and the artists. Take Brad Paisley’s “Ticks” for example. Sure that song has bro-like themes, but surrounded by “She’s Everything” and “Letter To Me” and songs like “So Small” and “Don’t Blink” from that year; it’s more enjoyable because there are other offerings of music besides it.
And if radio, songwriters, common fans, and artists can pull their heads out of their asses to realize that, then the world of country music would be a better place for all. As you said, acts like Sturgill along with other impressive country acts this year like First Aid Kit and Lucette can be recognized without compromising their personal artistry.
December 2, 2014 @ 9:47 am
If all the ‘real’ country artists stand up to the crap that gets released on radio, maybe this nonsense could stop. There are several artists in the top 40 country chart who could stand up to this, and even many of them are guilty of putting out ‘non-countryish’ songs on country radio, but have in the past and are still capable of releasing actual country-sounding music with intelligent lyrics. In looking at the current top 40 country chart, these artists should take a stand:
”¢ Tim McGraw
”¢ Brad Paisley
”¢ Blake Shelton (had decent, country-sounding music on his first album, think songs such as ‘Austin’, ‘All Over Me’ and ‘Ol Red’0
”¢ Scotty McCreery
”¢ Randy Houser
”¢ Toby Keith (his early albums were actually pretty good)
”¢ Dierks Bentley (his early releases were more country than they are now though)
”¢ Joe Nichols
”¢ Easton Corbin
”¢ Josh Turner
Even though several of the artists I listed above have been guilty of the assault of real country music, all of those artists (some more than others) have released songs on their albums as well as to radio that were unmistakably country, and I think all of them would have nothing against recording and releasing more traditional country music, especially the last three on my list.
December 2, 2014 @ 12:04 pm
What exactly do you expect those artists to do?
Houser, McCreery, Corbin, and Turner all appear to be experiencing diminishing chart success in recent years; none of them are guaranteed sellers at this point, so a stone-cold country single from any of them would probably go unnoticed in today’s environment.
McGraw and Shelton have formally ditched any traditional leanings they once had in an effort to maintain relevance. Bentley looks lie he’s moving in that direction, as well.
Paisley and Keith seem to me to be tired of putting any effort into their careers. It appears that they are mostly being supported by loyalists these days, I don’t think a return to their roots will do much for their careers or for the state of country music at this point.
Nichols is the only artist on the list that still leans toward a more traditional sound and is still having chart success. He’s made a pretty good career for himself by being country enough to not offend traditionalists but not so country as to turn off fans of the more contemporary sound. I don’t think he has enough marketing power to sway things by releasing a more country tune, and it would likely jeopardize his standing with the contemporary crowd and mark the beginning of the end of his relevance. Being a rare breath of fresh air in the dungpile of country radio, I hope he keeps on doing what he’s doing.
I believe that every performer should record and play the material that he or she believes in, whether it be country, rock, hip-hop, EDM, or polka, without regard to what’s going to sell. But I don’t believe that a hard country release by any current artist (short of a possibly guaranteed seller such as FGL or Luke Bryan) is going to have any impact on the direction of country radio. It’s just a matter of waiting until the current group of bandwagon-jumping listeners moves on to the next trend and hoping there are enough traditional artists left at that point to pick up the pieces and carry on.
December 4, 2014 @ 3:45 pm
I agree with most of what you said but I don’t think it’s fair to say that Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton have totally abandoned country music. Don’t get me started about Boys Round Here or (shudder) Lookin’ for That Girl, but McGraw’s latest two singles have actually been good for contemporary country, and same with Blake Shelton. If they release more stuff like Lonely Tonight and Shotgun Rider then they could become good influences on country music again.
December 8, 2014 @ 9:46 am
Point well taken, I wasn’t aware of those recent releases because, frankly, I can’t stand to listen to country radio long enough to know what’s going on.
That being said, while those tunes really shouldn’t be offensive to fans of more traditional country in today’s mainstream environment, I don’t think either is traditional enough to be considered “taking a stand” against the recent trend.
December 5, 2014 @ 6:06 pm
I agree 150%. Easton Corbin and Joe Nichols are both excellent examples of modern country artists that can throw you a pop country tune then a more-traditional sound next. Very clever. Sadly though, Corbin never gets airplay anymore, and Nichols’ really good traditional songs never get released to radio.
December 2, 2014 @ 9:49 am
Sturgill Simpson and Sam Hunt as equals? Hahaha! I needed a good laugh today.
Yeah I didn’t hear the “brilliant” songwriting from Hunt on Montevallo. What I heard were annoying ear worms like the song “Ex to See.” How clever! But hey kudos to Hunt for having the tact to pull the wool over some critics’ eyes.
December 2, 2014 @ 10:08 am
I know I’ve said this before, but seeing this guy ACTUALLY PLAY WAYLON
December 2, 2014 @ 10:09 am
Sorry Computer Auto-submitted before I finished.
Seeing this guy actually play Waylon’s Belle of the Ball at the Ryman, and prove that he actually can do a decent job with just his voice and an acoustic guitar has made me a little more forgiving. I’d never buy his album, but he doesn’t offend me the same way FGL or Luke Bryan do. Plus, he looks respectable and isn’t covered in obnoxious tattoos and chains.
December 2, 2014 @ 11:32 am
If you ask me, it makes what he’s doing now even more unforgivable. Florida Georgia Line can at least plead ignorance. Taylor Swift can say she was raised on Shania Twain. Sam Hunt has no excuse. He knows what country is, and even knows how to sing and write it. But he decides to go in this direction because that is where the money is.
December 3, 2014 @ 10:23 pm
Can I make you laugh for a second. I was reading the top worst songs of 2014 on TIME magazine’s website and Florida Georgia line was number 5. The funniest part was when they awarded them the throw up in your mouth award for the line stink my pink umbrella in your drink line. How embarrassing.
December 2, 2014 @ 12:15 pm
Respectable? I think he looks creepy as hell.
December 2, 2014 @ 11:25 am
Home run Trigger . I just pissed my pants laughing , thank you .
If it wasn’t for the fact that Mr. Sam just LOOKS so damned country ( he said pissing himself yet again ) , he’d never chart ..I’m sure of it . Is that a toupee ?
December 2, 2014 @ 11:41 am
Hunt seems earnest enough, and he is certainly more palatable to me than the wallet-chain mafia is.
But we’ve seen this all before: Duos put together for no other reason than to compete for country awards, desperate country crossovers by aging pop stars, desperate country crossovers by generic young pop singers who have failed to break through. Hunt and the Fader article fail to establish why he’s any different from those other record company shenanigans. I don’t think you’re being a close-minded jerk just for recognizing a Music Row trick for what it is.
December 2, 2014 @ 11:41 am
I was sent the apologist article by many of my friends who bemoan the current state of Country Music, while somehow managing to melt into a pool of hormones when this guy comes up. I loved the turd sandwich analogy, by the way. In one such…heated debate about Sam Hunt, I made the comment that he can make whatever music he wants. He just doesn’t need to try to pass it off as Country. These are the same people who lambasted Taylor Swift for making Pop music and calling it Country. How is that wrong, but because this dude dresses and styles his hair like some repugnant hipster douchebag, it’s perfectly acceptable? I just told them, “Listen to what you want. He can make whatever music he wants. You can like it. That’s fine. Just don’t try to convince me it’s Country. It’s like you’re handing me a kitten and trying to convince me it’s a puppy by using the excuse that it’s cute.” Last time there’s been an attempt to sway me to “just give him a chance…”
December 2, 2014 @ 11:54 am
I never understood how EDM is a new thing. I went to clubs in the nineties when EDM was new and fresh and you had people like Hex Hector, Love To Infinity, Thunderpuss, Almighty doing bang up remixes of pop and country and rock songs for the clubs. Then never called there remixes anything but club music or remixes. And I LOVED that stuff, personally it a great drive and build for a night of clubbing to that music.
It seems EDM folks have decided that the for some of them the EDM label is too narrow OR maybe to closely identified with gay culture that they want to escape it’s clutches. I personally can’t Avicci and Pitbull and all these news cats with HUGE egos. If I hear another girl talk about Timber being the best country song of the last ten years…
And in full disclosure I still go to clubs and dance all night and have a blast but I NEVER listen to that music anywhere by choice. I like the stuff I mentioned from the nineties OK because I grew up with that but even that stuff doesn’t get much rotation anymore.
What angers me most about this trend is that it basically is shitting on somebody else’s culture and heritage or in Sam Hunt’s case his OWN heritage. For people who grew up with country from Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, to Patsy Cline, to Merle, Willie, and Dolly, and even the 90s folks like Vince and Trisha and the DIxie Chicks this genre is part of their history and speaks to their childhood, their family life, and their sense of home and place in the world much in the same way the best hip-hop or soul will speak those folks in those communities. And the best of it did while being universal because as with poetry the more specific you get the more universal you become. And so to just take the country name and shove whatever cliches you want into it an insult to the culture. And it is NOT evolution when your music hold no traces of the roots of the tree is supposedly branches off of. We evolved from monkeys to become humans but we are still and always will be primates we didn’t evolve and become chickens.
And in Sam’s case this is particularly irksome since he actually comes from the south and one would hope he knows what country is and isn’t and has heard some real country, but maybe not. I know the US is getting more homogenized every year.
As an aside this is also why, as petty as it may be, I get annoyed when people where band or music artist shirts purely as a brand fad or a trend. Music is part of a place’s culture and certainly says a lot about that culture in that time. And between Spotify shelling out pennies to artists, hot topic selling Hank Williams and Siouxsie Sioux shirts to be trendy, farts apps that cost as much as one Vince Gill song, the hell spawn that is Niki Minaj and Anaconda, and the atrocity of immaturity that is J-lo (a grown woman) and Booty… music is being sorely disrespected and mainstream music pandering to the most immature and basest of society. Look at the Billboard top 40 says a lot of the values of the culture at large.
December 2, 2014 @ 12:56 pm
It’s just like rapping in country. They promote it as something “new” when in truth it is a 40-year-old art form. Just because it is new to them doesn’t make it new. And just because you mix it with country doesn’t make it “evolved.”
January 19, 2015 @ 8:20 am
Because back in the nineties, EDM was called Techno, and it was glorious.
December 2, 2014 @ 12:50 pm
The songwriting is the worst part of “Montevallo”, in my opinion (save “Cop Car”, which is an enjoyable song on its own).
Like I’ve said before, it is wrought with self-indulgence and arrogance. “Ex To See” is by far the worst offender with its immaturity at immaturely treating exes like trump cards as opposed to simply making peace or at least trying to get over it……….but it also makes “Single For The Summer” and “Breakup In A Small Town”, in particular, insufferable in that the former portrays a narrator who has casual sex with a string of subjects but just appears indifferent to all of them and, though you can tell he’s trying to show remorse, just flat out comes across as unconvincing……………and the latter revealing a narrator who says in the chorus you have to “move or move on”, yet spends the entire song sulking over a failed relationship anyway, whining about someone else’s tires being parked on the former flame’s lawn and even saying he is tempted to jump out of his car and physically assault her new boyfriend as he’s driving by her mailbox. -__-
Even his latest single, “Take Your Time”, isn’t spared of this. Granted it’s not nearly as bad as the aforementioned three songs, but the mood of the song seems to collide with the intention that’s expressed in the lyrics: where the narrator tells the subject that he knows she has had a string of previous heartaches and her heart has probably hardened from disappointment, so says it’s absolutely fine for her to take her time opening up their relationship because he’s not like the rest. The production works against the lyrics to where it sounds like Hunt is more guilt-tripping the subject than anything.
Beyond that, you have songs that aren’t quite as cringe-worthy, but still smack as immature and come across more, structurally, as pop songs with R&B spoken-word cadences as opposed to anything remotely country, and rely on laundry list or bromance cliches. “House Party” and “Raised On It” are two songs you can pretty much ad-lib the lyrics and they wouldn’t be far off from their actual lyric sheets.
All in all, the production doesn’t help matters and is among the most sterile production I’ve ever heard on a “country” album alongside Cole Swindell’s horrendous eponymous debut and Chase Rice’s “Ignite the Night”…………..but the songwriting and lyrics are where “Montevallo” hits its nadir, and it is beyond me why many critics have fallen for him (aside from Taste of Country and Roughstock for obvious reasons! 😉 )
December 2, 2014 @ 4:12 pm
That’s one hell of a comb-over that dude’s got!
December 2, 2014 @ 4:23 pm
Nice post, and here’s something that may or may not be relevant to the topic:
Montevallo has is the current #1 purchased album on iTunes. But…
It’s been marked down to $6.99.
Were sales flagging? Combined with the media blitz I’d guess so.
Also of potential interest:
Cole Swindell has been marked down to $5.99
Reminds me of Donkey being pushed for $.69 . Ha!
December 5, 2014 @ 7:26 pm
This post reminds me of the song “Your Band’s In The Cut-Out Bin” by Seth Putnam and A.C.
December 2, 2014 @ 4:49 pm
I simply do not understand the intense dislike for “Drunk Americans”. The song does not represent deep social commentary, but it is highly refreshing in its inclusiveness and its sincere attempt to heal cultural divides. On top of that, the music is truly country, and even hearkens back to a Celtic sound.
Country Universe, which is normally rather tough in its ratings, gave this song an A.
December 2, 2014 @ 4:56 pm
I wouldn’t mind the song if it wasn’t being marketed very specifically as “social commentary.” That is their words. I think this part of a bigger attempt to sell songs as “deep” in the face of the Bro-Country backlash.
December 2, 2014 @ 5:00 pm
That’s a valid point, but it is still unfair to outright label the song as “rubbish”.
December 2, 2014 @ 10:19 pm
It’s “rubbish” in that it’s insulting to the intelligence of many Americans who, as much as they’d like to believe our nation is as fellow-feeling and united as is, knows very well it’s quite the contrary…………..in that we’ve arguably never been this polarized since the Civil War and it seems so stationary now to see many who get their “news” from one side of the political aisle to refer to the other side as “nutjobs” while the other side refers to the other end of the continuum as “libtards”.
Aside from that, it’s just lazy songwriting and seems like a blatant attempt to rehash the formula that worked for one of Keith’s biggest hits to date: “I Love This Bar”…………in that it lists everyone but the kitchen sink for the purpose of complete populist appeal.
December 2, 2014 @ 11:39 pm
One could argue that it also paints the ideal for the American social fabric. In a sense, “Drunk Americans” is similar in purpose to Garth’s “People Loving People”, except with more light-hearted humor and more detail.
December 2, 2014 @ 4:59 pm
Also, I do not agree with the rock analogy. The rock genre has always been defined by its broadness, and the issue of detaching from roots simply does not apply there.
The real reason why rock declined in popularity was because the new generation got bored by it, given its domination of pop music for over 3 decades, and associated it with the older generation.
December 2, 2014 @ 6:40 pm
The thing that makes me angry is when they respond to questions with what is country music? it reminds me of Jason Aldean who on numerous occasions always gives that answer. Why sing a genre of music and then say no one can define it?
The funny part is those who give that answer are the ones singing rap and EDM. You don’t see Kacey saying what is country music?
December 3, 2014 @ 12:03 am
” The funny part is those who give that answer are the ones singing rap and EDM. You don”™t see Kacey saying what is country music ? ”
That says it all Sandra
December 3, 2014 @ 8:02 am
You can redefine music by adding value or you can redefine music by chasing the flavor of the month. These guys are just lowering the standard plain and simple. If they were true artists, they would be honest and they would say, this album is Pop and R&B because I wanted to try it out. What is annoying that these crappy songs end up on the country radio because the singer is “officially country” while the song is really anything but.
December 4, 2014 @ 11:41 am
I live in Rome GA about 20 minutes or so from Cedartown Ga (Sam Hunts home). first heard about this fellow back in early 2012 when everyone was talking about this guy from Cedartown who was writing for Chesney. Didn’t really look into him because I had not been a Chesney fan since his since maybe the late 90s.
There is a place in town called the Brewhouse. The Brewhouse has everything from local musicians to folks like Joe Diffie. They have also brought Chris Knight in a few times with the full band.
Sam Hunt is coming to the BrewHouse tonight and folks were making a big deal about this great country singer coming into town. Well I thought heck maybe I missed something if he is so great…maybe I need to hear a little of his music being that it looks like they are about to sell out the show.
So i went to YouTube and pulled up a few songs. What in the hell is this that I’m listening too….because its not country. It is 100% certified pop. I cant find even a sniff of country. It crazy that this guy sells out the place (and I know some of it is location) with extra tickets going for $200 but Chris Knight is lucky to have half of the place sold out.
On another note I want to plug Corey Smith’s New album; Maysville in the Meantime. I really like the relaxed acoustic feel of the album. He has really gotten better with his song writing over the years as this album show. Trig I would love to see you do a review for it.
December 4, 2014 @ 8:04 pm
Here’s what Taylof Swift said about calling non-country Country music
When It Comes to Her Music, She Won’t Compromise
When Swift told Big Machine Records founder Scott Borchetta that she hadn’t recorded a country album, “he went into a state of semi-panic.” Swift tells Billboard he pleaded that she countrify the album. “Can you give me three country songs?” and “Can we put a fiddle on ‘Shake it Off’?” are two questions Swift recalls him asking. “All my answers were a very firm ‘no,’ because it felt disingenuous to try to exploit two genres when your album falls in only one.”
December 4, 2014 @ 8:51 pm
I’ve shared this before, but seriously everyone needs to check this out. Long Way Home. Hilarious satire depicting this, almost, exact scenario starring Elizabeth Cook! Pure comedy!
December 4, 2014 @ 11:27 pm
December 6, 2014 @ 5:45 pm
Traditional Country music won’t sell flies so stop living in the past. There are a lot of great Country singers today that are as good as any past artist, especially vocally!
Female – Carrie Underwood – She has as good and strong a voice as any female iI have heard since the great Patsy Cline.
Male – Zac Brown – The guy can flat out sing. Maybe because he is part of a band it doesn’t get noticed as much as if he was a solo act.
As far as type of music everyone has their likes and dislikes. Tired of people trying to bring others down because it isn’t their particular style or they long for the music they heard as kids.
December 26, 2014 @ 6:39 pm
Have any of you complainers seen him perform live? or held his hand while he sings to you? or met him? I have. He’s a really nice guy, and I like his music. So what if his music sounds a little different, what genre station would you have it play on? And none of you seem to define what country music you actually like! Whatever. I’m on to better sites… can’t believe I stumbled across this rubbish…
December 26, 2014 @ 8:51 pm
No, I can quite honestly say that he’s never held my hand while he sings to me.
Which should be fairly obvious given that he appears to still have all his teeth.
December 26, 2014 @ 9:13 pm
July 12, 2015 @ 6:56 pm
Quit whining folks. All genres of music evolves over the years. Jazz, Rock, Blues, Country, Hip Hop, R&B………you name it. If you want to listen to country music from 30 years ago, do it. But stop whining about how Country music isn’t country music anymore – no one cares what you think
March 1, 2016 @ 11:10 am
To some guys above:
We are talking about the genre, and if you like him & his songs, just go ahead.
As a fan of him, you have a right to love him, I agree.
But non-country is non-country. Don’t ever call Pop as your ‘New Country’ ‘Evolution’…shit thoughts around here for a while.