Man did Music Row in Nashville turn in a whole slew of stinkers this year, setting new lows for the substance, and non-country-ness of “country” songs in 2017. This year was a great example of how you should never think it can’t get any worse, because it can, and did, and by a long stretch.
Granted, overall it feels like country music is improving, including in the mainstream, at least marginally. But you won’t find any evidence of that here. And please, no bellyaching about how we should focus on the positive. Feel free to peruse Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year nominees and Song of the Year nominees if you’re looking for something good. But this is a moment to call the dogs out and hold there feet to the fire.
Sam Hunt – “Body Like a Backroad”
To release a song called “Body Like a Backroad” in the year of our Lord 2017, after we suffered through five years of embarrassment as a genre at the hands of the Bro-Country scourge, it goes so far beyond aggressively cliché, it’s just downright grotesque. The level of objectification and misogyny in this song would make the quarter-century dead corpse of Conway Twitty writhe as if it was in an epileptic fit. Even Florida Georgia Line isn’t stupid enough to release a song like this, and they still have to recite the story of the rabbit going down the hole to get their fucking shoes tied every morning.
“Body Like a Backroad,” despite the Herculean efforts of Sam Hunt’s back catalog of audio abominations, somehow, inexplicably, sets a new low for this country music interloping pop star who would fuck off the entire 90 year history of country music if it meant getting a hit in a format where he not only doesn’t belong, but defines the absolute antithesis of—the perfect antonym to—and only continues to hang around because he knows he would get his ass handed to him if he tried his hand in the pop format with this vomitous dreck.
I want to see all you Sam Hunt apologists—you know who you are; the ones that work at entertainment outlets that only know country music from the outside looking in and say about Sam Hunt, “Gee I didn’t know I liked country music until I heard him,”—come and defend this abortion. It’s been flabbergasting heretofore to see critics give Sam Hunt a pass simply because he’s a guilty pleasure for them, and turn songs about getting a hand job in the back of a downtown taxi into some important, forthright expression of our time that deftly blends modern themes with small town sensibilities. Sam Hunt is Mad Lib lyrics overlaying shitty electronic beats thrown together in 30 minutes. And his haircuts suck. (read more)
Dylan Scott – “My Girl”
Dylan Scott is a genuine, authentic, corn-fed, down home, Southern-raised, good-ol’ classic American dickhead my friends, and he’s looking to abscond with more than his fair share of the American dream by dropping the zipper on his $1,200 fashion-ripped jeans and rubbing his nutsack all over everything true country music fans celebrate and hold dear just so he can afford a really bad ass truck and screw hot Vandy chicks he Svengali’s in the douchiest bars in Nashville into thinking he deserves to be a star.
Heretofore, Dylan Scott’s biggest claim to fame was the dubious, ill-begotten decision to invite Chewbacca Mom into the hallowed circle at center stage of the Grand Ole Opry to “perform.” This is a formulaic, Mad Lib-style, paint-by-the-numbers, women as a possession truck rap with fake piano imposed on a generic pop song, propped up solely by the perfectitude of Dylan Scott’s pectoral muscles and the come hither sturdiness of his jaw. The only reason anyone is paying attention to “My Girl” is because dumb chicks want to screw him. I’m embarrassed for streaming this thing on Spotify and allowing 1/10th of $0.00002 cents to go to this son-of-a-biscuit. I pray all of the original members of The Temptations are dead so they don’t have to endure witnessing such an iconic song title be sullied by this tool. Otis Williams is still alive you say? Well hopefully his hearing sucks.
And ladies, no matter how cute they are, no matter how charming they may be, no matter how ravishing they may look in a lycra-blended super thin cotton tee spray-painted on by some Hollywood image designer and have every hair on their head expertly coiffed, if a guy ever tells you how how good you look in his truck, and calls you “baby girl,” then for the love of all things holy and the imperative preservation of the gene pool, don’t, and I mean never, no matter how large temptation looms, ever ever under any circumstances fuck them. (read more)
Chris Janson – “Fix A Drink”
You want to talk about musical “evolution”? This song is like some sort of reverse engineered audio trigger formulated by a comic book archenemy to cause mankind to swing a U-turn in the evolutionary process where all people want to do is purchase full size trucks, hang out near bodies of water, and drink themselves into a stupor so that an evil regime can waltz right into the places of power and seize ultimate control due to the widespread lethargy and indifference throughout society. With songs like this being blasted out to the teeming masses, soon the social order in society will be determined by who picks ticks off each other’s backs, and we’ll be slinging our own poo at each other to settle differences.
“Fix A Drink” isn’t a delicately-crafted beverage made with only the finest ingredients by a season mixologist using feel and instinct to make signature and customized liquid magic, it’s jiggered-by-the-book watered-down swill served up by an Applebee’s fry cook covering the bar’s swing shift because the real bartender had the shits. Funny thing is, Chris Janson’s been out there for the last year or so trying to sell records by pulling at people’s heartstrings about his hard fought sobriety. He was an inspiration to people for overcoming obscurity as a struggling songwriter and putting his family first. Now all of a sudden he’s the drunk-in-chief personally pushing the sauce because that’s what the record label wants. What a piece of shit move. Forget authenticity arguments, this guy is a downright sleaze. (read more)
The Chainsmokers w/ Florida Georgia Line – “Last Day Alive”
The only thing perfect about this song is the title, “Last Day Alive.” Because pairing these two titular duos of our time together falls only inches short of looking up in the beautiful American sky one bright morning only to see an unholy, vicious crag form for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to come trundling through to usher in the absolute annihilation of every piece of living matter on the planet via the waves of pestilence which are the voices of Florida Georgia Line so mercilessly Auto-tuned to a crisp, and the fuckstick wastes of oxygen that are the Chainsmokers standing behind a podium pushing buttons on computers under the artifice of making “music” like Lucifer’s angels architecting of the final eradication of all mankind.
Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line recently called this collaboration “a God thing.” I think a Satan thing is perhaps more appropriate. This Apocalyptic pairing for “Last Day Alive” inspires such an apoplectic response, you go from fearing your own death while in its audience, to praying for death to alleviate the suffering it bestows. (read more)
Canaan Smith – “Like You That Way”
Canaan Smith, Cole Swindell, Chase Bryant, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, who are these clowns? It’s like one douchebag with many faces. Their songs, their styles, their personalities are indistinguishable and interchangeable. They might as well be the same person. Nashville’s overcrowded enough these days. Just pick one of these guys and release all the music through them. Nobody would recognize the difference and it would free up a few more parking spaces downtown. Seriously.
Whatever a guy like “Canaan Smith” releases, you know it’s going to be a hit because he’s a young male signed to a major label. It doesn’t even matter what the song is. It’s preordained by the well-ordered Music Row system to make sure every major label remains flush with cabbage and in equal and ample portions. Canaan Smith made his name with a song called “Love You Like That” that name drops Tom Petty. Now he’s looking to take the next step with a song called “Like You That Way” that name drops Miranda Lambert. “Love You Like That” to “Like You That Way.” They’re not even trying to hide anymore how bereft of ideas and formulaic they’ve become.
It’s just the same song, from the same basic person, about the same stuff. Canaan Smith just happens to be the vessel they’ve chosen on this particular round. It’s his turn down the conveyor belt. Rearrange the words a little bit, up the tempo maybe because it’s the summer and people like up tempo stuff in the summer, right? And boom, here’s a summer hit. Take it or leave it, but you’ll probably have to take it because radio will ram it down your throat for the next four months. (read more)
Walker Hayes – “You Broke Up with Me”
Imagine your formative, adolescent self, all bright eyed and full of wonder, with rosy cheeks and peach fuzz, waking up to the sound of your parents having wild, loud, sweaty, uninhibited old people unprotected sex right beside you, and all the guttural utterances, moans, and other indiscernible and acrid noises thereof scarring your precious little ears in a post traumatic manner that will stick with you for eternity, and pursue you in every waking moment for the rest of your life.
This is how the new song from Sam Hunt knockoff and virtually nobody Walker Hayes called “You Broke Up with Me” starts off. And somehow, inexplicably, it discovers a path forward that despite the insurmountable odds, gets even worse from there. What we have with “You Broke Up with Me” is a song that doesn’t just draw and quarter any and all ideas of what quality or country music content is supposed to be, it expressly looks to achieve the exact scientifically certified diametrically opposed opposite sounds and themes to what actual country music is. This song is so bad, and Walker Hayes so devoid of talent, he can’t even fucking whistle right.
“You Broke Up with Me” is not just another shitty song. It is an extremely important moment in country music, where either a line in the sand is drawn, preserving the natural order and boundaries of what country music is, preserving the jobs of hundreds of world-class musicians who rely on the industry to pay their bills and raise their families. Or do we allow Shane McAnally, and some washed-up fuckstick with a laptop to take over the entire industry and remake it in a way that whitewashes country music’s vibrant and vital culture that gives identity to millions of people? (read more)
David Allan Coe w/ The Moonshine Bandits – “Take This Job & Shove It (remix)”
Look, I am an unapologetic David Allan Coe fan. I don’t care that his list of personal flaws is as long and flowing as the fake blonde locks adorning his otherwise prune shriveled head. Yes, David Allan Coe’s got problems. He doesn’t have a closet of skeletons, he’s got a living room full of them riding circles around him on those little Shriner motorcycles while he does rows of Jack shots off a residue and paraphernalia-cluttered coffee table. David Allan Coe is bat shit crazy and a certified country music wing nut if there every was one. But you can put his legacy of creative output up against 90% of the rest of country artists and it’ll kick their asses.
Nonetheless, I got no use for David Allan Coe with the country rap fucknards of the Moonshine Bandits prancing around him like a pink stuffed elephant they just won at the meth carnival for beating off a donkey, acting like Coe’s mere presence in any way legitimizes their imbecilic racket.
The only thing on God’s creation that is worse than country rap is 3rd tier country rap like the version The Moonshine Bandits peddle. When Kid Rock was sticking his tongue up Coe’s ass back in the 90’s, at least he was popular enough where it resulted in some otherwise culture-deprived hellions getting wise to real country music. The Moonshine Bandits ain’t no RUN DMC, and David Allan Coe ain’t no Aerosmith. If Coe had all his faculties about him circa 1974, he’d know The Moonshine Bandits got a big bag of nothing and would drive his Harley Davidson Panhead right up their asses and hard cuss anyone who tried to stop him. (read more)
Thomas Rhett – “Craving You”
If for nothing else, give Thomas Rhett credit for this: He’s taken an incredibly average set of marginal skills and talent, and made himself into a bona fide arena-level superstar. That in itself takes a level of cunning that your ordinary citizen doesn’t posses. Music Row in Nashville has an implausible knack for making mediocrity seem exceptional. Thomas Rhett couldn’t make his way out of even the most early stages of auditions for something like The Voice, and would have been laughed out of every song publishing house on Music Row in the 80’s. He can’t dance, and he has the stage presence of a cinder block.
Just like the effect of even the strongest of drugs, soon a tolerance becomes embedded in the population, leaving them with little to no pleasure, but still “Craving” the same crap they know is unhealthy for them and causing other adverse side effects in their personal lives. It’s too late though, they’re just another sucker on the vine, not listening to the latest Thomas Rhett single because they want to, but because they have to, extracting little to no true personal enjoyment, while the industry turns a blind eye to how they’re poisoning the population because of the obscene profits they’re pulling from it. (read more)
Pretty Music Every Song from the Walker Hayes album Boom
And don’t you worry, most, if not all of these dogs will be taken behind the the barn and shot in due course.
David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney – “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”
You might get excited to see David Lee Murphy’s name again, but this song will erase all your fond memories within the first five seconds. At first this looked like a a silly collaboration that would be quickly forgotten, but it’s climbing the charts. Rant pending.
Morgan Wallen feat. Florida Georgia Line – “Up Down”
The only thing that is more derivative and indolent than Florida Georgia Line is a bona fide Florida Georgia Line knock off. Here’s looking at you, Morgan Wallen. Rant pending.
Blake Shelton – “Money”
This son will go on to help define one of the worst atrocities of Shelton’s entire career with its stupid monotone talk singing and misogynistic lyrics. Rest assured, if “Money” is ever released as a single (or maybe even if it isn’t), it will get it’s proper rebuke.
Keith Urban – “The Fighter” (read review)
Sam Hunt – “Drinkin Too Much” (read review)
Dustin Lynch – “Small Town Boy” (read review)
Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good” (read review)
Luke Bryan – “Light It Up” (read review)
Neal McCoy – “Take A Knee My Ass” (read review)