It was either feast or famine for country singles in 2016. As the rigged singles system that almost guarantees #1 songs for any releases from big-named artists metastasized at radio—creating an incredible volume of singles hitting #1 for a solitary week before immediately falling off a precipice—if a song happened to not fit into that rigged system…
Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Young, Calre Dunn, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Dallas Davidson, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Florida Georgia Line, Jana Kramer, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Steven Tyler, Thomas Rhett
Every year we wonder if it can get any worse, and while there are positive signs for country music’s future all over the place, the bad stuff somehow continues to only get worse. The only saving grace is that many of the songs highlighted below have become commercial flops, whereas in previous years it would be a virtual Top 10 on the country charts.
There’s pop, and then there’s taking one end of a piece of bubble gum and holding it betwixt your upper and lower bridge while you twirl the other end around your finger and daydream about unicorns and princess weddings. That’s about what you get with “Said No One Ever.”
“Faint of Heart” is a pleasurable listen that you can see gaining some traction with country fans, possibly by walking through the door opened by Kacey Musgraves and Maddie & Tae recently. Call it “Merry Go ‘Round” mixed with “Girl in a Country Song” if you must, but with a sweeter vocal track than either.
If there’s any silver lining to the dark, ominous clouds hanging like a low ceiling over country music’s female population, it’s that faced with the reality of their songs systematically failing at radio, they’re inadvertently bestowed the freedom to do whatever the hell they want without having to worry about the radio ramifications.
Boy how the entertainment media loves to ruminate on country music’s female dilemma, and how unfair it is that so many fine and talented female voices are going unheard. It’s the perfect topic for Northeast-based periodicals to piggy-back their political and sociological parallels onto, to prove the patriarchal oligarchy is still very much alive in America’s rural and Southern landscapes.