And so continued on the unrelenting march of terrible songs in 2015. This year included some especially diabolical turns that puts the last 12 months in contention for the worst run for songs in country music history. Of course the usual suspects appear on the rap sheet like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Sam Hunt. But 2015 ushered in the worst year for watching previously heralded artists (or at least artists that were not that bad), turning their coats from blue to red, and bearing responsibility for the very worst of what 2015 had to offer. Zac Brown Band, Randy Houser, Gary Allan, and even Country Hall of Famers Alabama found the low spots of their entire careers with 2015 single releases.
It was a heartbreaking year to be a country fan as the whole “Metro-Bro” craze spared few, with the only consolation prize being so many of these terrible singles flopped. Here’s the worst songs from 2015, in no particular order.
Thomas Rhett – “Crash & Burn”
Like Mephistopheles himself gorged on a diet of the most grotesquely valueless souls, and then 36 hours of insidious churning in the innermost bowels of hell amidst unholy gastric juices eventually putrefied a malevolent impaction to be shot out of the Satanic anus like a worm-riddled disease baby, Thomas Rhett has unleashed a new single on the planet called “Crash and Burn.”
May the ghost of the great Sam Cooke kick Thomas Rhett’s ass eternally for ripping off the iconic rhythm and cadence from the classic American standard “Chain Gang” in such an open and arrogant manner that even a villainous bystander like Vanilla Ice would give this the hairy eyeball. “Evolution” in today’s country music is simply a code word for filching something from another genre as the result of the relative vacuum of new ideas in the country medium, and Thomas Rhett and producers read full review)left so much of their DNA over the crime scene of this caper it would make a rape kit envious of the swabable masses lingering behind this messy and haphazard ruse. Someone rustle up the bulldog legal team for Marvin Gaye and get them under retainer for the Sam Cooke estate post haste. (
The Band Perry – “Live Forever”
Goodness, can we just kill off mainstream country music with one final shotgun blast to the noggin instead of watching this long, suffering, painful smothering at the hands of the proprietors of pop who have positively no idea what country music is supposed to be, and are willing to slowly strew its disemboweled innards all across the public sidewalks in victory? Don’t these bastards have any compassion?
“Live Forever” is perfect for a mindless pop crowd who wants to be told when to throw their hands up, when and what to shout during the chorus, and how to act to fit in with everybody else and be cool. “You and I, we’re staying young! We’re gonna live forever!” says the song. Well shit, who doesn’t like that message? The Band Perry have discovered the goddamn Fountain of Youth by golly. Ponce de LeÃ³n, eat your ever-loving conquistador heart out. (read full review)
Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug”
“Beautiful Drug” is not the Zac Brown Band spreading their creative wings. “Beautiful Drug” is not Zac Brown asserting his freedom as an artist. “Beautiful Drug” is not the boys from Georgia “defying genre,” though these excuses and many more will be levied in their defense, and you, YOU the sainted country music and Zac Brown fan will be charged with a treasonous level of closed-mindedness, misunderstanding, and attempts to stifle the evolution of music if you so dare to raise a peep in opposition to Zac Brown finally breaking loose of his corporate bonds to make the music he’s always wanted which in the case of “Beautiful Drug” is apparently hyper-EDM club pop dance music replete with bass drops and the most horrifically prototypical rhythm and structure employed in American pop music in its history. Sam Hunt, eat your ever-loving, Puma-wearing, flat-brimmed country interloping heart out.
There is one thing to take away from “Beautiful Drug” and one thing only: Zac Brown wants your fucking money America. I would label this a sellout moment, but even that seems to slight just what depravity of character the Zac Brown Band evidences by releasing this song, especially as the first track on an album. He might as well have just cued up a mic and screamed “Fuck You!” to start this thing off. Dig deep in those pockets, put your dollars on the table, and nobody gets hurt except the souls of country music fans. It’s time for the Zac Brown Band to get paid mother truckers, so quit your bellyaching and pony the hell up. (read full review)
Bret Michaels – “Girls On Bars”
Well look what the cat dragged in, it’s Bret Michaels from Poison with his Maybelline eyes giving a new definition to the term “coyote ugly” with his caustic and aggressively-unoriginal song “Girls On Bars.” Congratulations country music, your hair metal phase has just graduated from figurative to literal.
He pretty much just released the worst country song ever. It’s not as much sick as it is sad, like it’s a musical illustration of the onset of America’s torpid devolution. Even the video looks like it was made by a bunch of grabasstic high school stoners using 20-year-old deprecated public school media lab equipment rented from the public library as a stop gap solution to a local ISD’s budgetary shortfall. When the camera goes all POV and starts twirling round on the top of a bar, I thought I was suffering from motion sickness. Then I figured out that no, it’s just that this song really really blows to the point of causing debilitating gastrointestinal direst. (read full review)
Uncle Ezra Ray – “B.Y.H.B”
Like a cabal of menacing dark princes rendezvousing in a desert hideout, devoid of any and all compassion and decency as they mastermind a plot to inflict the widest possible psychological toll upon the masses with their incendiary terroristic horror, three semi-successful pop rock washouts refugeed from the implosion of the rock format have conjoined to cobble together whatever is left of their twilighting relevancy and disappearing talent reserves to attempt to prop up their spendthrift lifestyles by releasing the most calamitous and formulaic audio pap to ever be exposed to the human species. Lock your doors and clench your loved ones a little closer: this is the dawning of the unholy triumvirate known as Uncle Ezra Ray.
You can combine all three men’s musical histories together, and most Millennials still wouldn’t know who the fuck these 40-something posers are. But with Mark McGrath’s frosted tips, Kevin Griffin’s co-write of Sugarland’s embarrassing song “Stuck Like Glue,” and Uncle Cracker’s guilty plea for assaulting a woman, these shallow misogynist carpetbaggers should slip right into the dubious ranks of Bro-Country slime balls just dandy. (read full review)
Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time”
Can’t Sam Hunt just move on to being one of those people who is famous for being famous and get bounced out of the third round of Dancing with the Stars or box Tonya Harding on Pay Per View or something? Why does Sam Hunt even exist in anything resembling the country music world? He’s the country music equivalent of a malapropism. “Take Your Time” is the worst song that could have been chosen for Sam Hunt’s second single from and album chock full of bad ideas and boiling over with non-country influences and arrangements.
Some will tell you Sam Hunt and “Take Your Time” is simply country music “evolving,” yet once again the theory of evolution in the minds of country music’s powers that be has to do with dredging up a 30-year-old antiquated and outmoded form of expression in a misguided attempt to pander to the trends of today. Gee I can’t wait until country music’s “evolution” gets to the mid 80’s and country stars are dancing around on stage in spandex onesies with televisions on their heads. (read full review)
Randy Houser – “We Went”
Some bad songs make you angry that such a monstrosity would ever be released under the country banner. Some make you sad for what country music has become. This one? Randy Houser’s entry into this new R&B sexy time Bee Gees-inspired country music disco craze? This thing had me laughing out loud so hard from being so embarrassing and absurd, I had milk shooting out of my nose. And I wasn’t even drinking milk at the time.
To hear the festively plump, bordering on 40-something Randy Houser pseudo-rapping about running from the cops through cornfields with his hot lover had me in stitches to say the least. If you need any more validation that modern country music is nothing more than escapism of the mind for bored suburbanites with shallow understandings of rural life, look no further. Randy Houser could never put enough hair gel and highlights in his 40-year-old’s faux hawk to make this thing seem either respectable or relevant. This songs’s got more pander in it than the Beijing zoo. (read full review)
Jennifer Nettles – “Sugar”
Jennifer Nettles is the Kathy Bates of country music, and I’m not talking the Fried Green Tomatoes Kathy Bates. Where some female performers like to exhibit personas such as the sweet girl next door or the strong Southern Belle, the Sugarland co-singer apparently thinks a psychopathic yandere cross bred with a hyper-spastic oversinger is what will curry the favor of the mindless drones of mainstream country, and get the singer’s solo career the attention it so desperately needs to cling to the dying echoes of a relevant pulse.
What a cacophonous shitbag of embarrassing tastelessness the glucose-fueled “Sugar” aspires to be. Screw the “If you don’t like it, just don’t listen to it” mentality. For the sake of any and all self-dignity, I feel it is an imperative to publicly distance from such an effort as a country music fan, and fervently admonish it to hopefully shelter the innocent from such slipshod efforts and acute mayhem evidenced in this audio and visual abortion. (read full review)
Alabama – “Southern Drawl”
From the “We Will Rock You” intro, to the obnoxious overdriven arena rock guitar, to the awkwardly and uncharacteristically non-synchronous performances by Alabama founding members Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook, “Southern Drawl” isn’t just bad, it’s something that makes you wish you could go back and completely erase it from your country music consciousness lest it run rampant through your memory and sully any rosy regards you had for Alabama’s past accomplishments. Yes, it’s that terrible.
If Maddie & Tae were standing to the side of the stage with their checklist, every square would be marked by the end of “Southern Drawl.” Beer, trucks, backroads, the interjected praising of the troops thrown in it’s all here. Alabama even piped in a crowd cheering for them throughout the track. I mean the hubris of this thing. And listening to these guys trying to emulate the melody-vacant rhythmic pentameter of a modern Bro-Country song is like the country music equivalent of some 60-year-old original-era rappers coming out with clocks around their necks trying to perform modern hip-hop. Word to your mother. Alabama is just completely out of their element, and can barely keep up with the instrument track.
If you needed any more evidence that 2015 is the year of selling out in country music, this is it. Alabama waited 15 years to premier this? (read full review)
Sam Hunt – “House Party”
From an artist who’s consistently offered the most blindingly non-country songs in the entire 70 year history of the genre, “House Party” is Sam Hunt’s most non-country song overall, if you even can believe that’s possible. What about the banjo you ask? That’s the biggest giveaway that this song is nothing more than a calculated ruse. In an absolute vacuum of country influences, Sam Hunt was forced to add the banjo track or risk exposing the song and the entire calculated project for the sham that it is.
The record scratches, the overt use of Auto-tune as an audio filter, the references to “blowing up phones” and “rattling roofs,” and the Ebonic annunciations are enough to not just alarm country fans, but fans of the integrity of culture in all of its forms, especially black artists who are getting sold out by country carpetbaggers that would appropriate and water down everything cool in their culture until there’s nothing left to pilfer in the bankrupting of American culture at large. I would call this the worst country song ever, but even that would endow it with a modicum of potential country music affiliation that it is not qualified to carry. (read full review)
” Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” (read review)
” Danielle Bradbery – “Friend Zone” (read review)
” Scotty McCreery – “Southern Belle” (read review)
” Eric Paslay – “High Class” (read review)
” Thomas Rhett – “Vacation” (read review)
” Luke Bryan “Kick The Dust Up (read “Why ‘Kick The Dust Up’ Is More Than Just A Bad Song“)
” Cole Swindell “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” (read review)
” Brett Eldredge “Lose My Mind” (read review)
” Granger Smith “Backroad Song” (read review)
” Kelsea Ballerini “Love Me Like You Mean It” (read review)
” Eli Young Band “Turn It On” (read review)
” Gary Allan “Hangover Tonight” (read review)