Let’s face it. For a host of reasons, it’s pretty rare to see African Americans making country and roots music. But when they do, more often that not, they’re doing it the right way, pushing the music forward creatively while fiercely helping to preserving the past, becoming part of the solution instead of prolonging the problem.
We were so swept up in praising ourselves for all the gains made in the independent realm of country music in 2017, it wasn’t until here in the dwindling moments of the year that we realized just what a dreadful era 2017 posed in the mainstream.
Friends and neighbors, I know you would rather spend your time reading about something a bit more positive in nature than the rabid attitudinal protestations of some twisted up music critic spouting off about this grotesque specimen of audio diarrhea, and during what is supposed to be a festive season no less….
This week the country music world was shocked when a pop star named Bebe Rexha and her song “Meant To Be” featuring Florida Georgia Line debuted at the very top spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. But looking deeper into the numbers, something didn’t seem to add up.
Sam Hunt’s historic, and likely insurmountable reign at the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with his terrible, non-country song “Body Like A Backroad” has finally ended, but only after forever besmirching country music’s history books, and relinquishing the spot to another decidedly non-country “country” performer and song.
Ultimately it’s not the voice, but the image that has earned Kane Brown whatever following he’s cobbled together. He’s got the whole bad boy thing going for him, where your 14-year-old thinks he looks just dangerous enough for you to disapprove of. And oh he sings too, so he’s the perfect male sexpot for bored suburban youth. Beyond that, it’s a mess of disparate influences.
Country music is not just a commodity or even a form artistic expression. It is an integral part of people’s lives and has been the foundation for their cultural identities for generations. It’s what binds them to their homes and ancestry, and is interwoven into the very fabric of who they are as people.
Usually such a list is only reserved for the worst songs at the halfway pole of a given year, but 2016 has been especially lush with heartbreakily bad efforts, including from some artists who tend to be on the right side of the good music/ bad music divide. So before we really take the gloves off, let’s reflect back on 2016 biggest disappointments in the album category.
For a “view” to register on a YouTube video, a user must watch at least 30 seconds. But on Facebook, the video only has to be viewed for 3 seconds. The user doesn’t even have to be paying attention to the video. The sound doesn’t even have to be enabled. And due to Facebook’s auto-play feature, it’s more likely three seconds will rattle off before the user even pays attention to it compared to a YouTube video.
…Back to the argument Blake Shelton had with Adam Levine on The Voice as America watched on, and they both battled to be picked as the judge for Adam Wakefield, Blake Shelton said some things about country that needed to be heard, and were quite surprising coming from Blake. Usually the banter between judges is quite lighthearted on the show. But in this case, it got fairly heated.
Purported country music “viral star” Kane Brown is now a major label artist. And if you thought your acid reflux got a workout when you watched Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt up on stage claiming to be country singers, Kane Brown is guaranteed to kick it up yet another notch. The lesson of Kane Brown is that you can cheat to get ahead, and you don’t have to pay any dues or prove yourself in the marketplace.
If you haven’t heard of Kane Brown, you’re about to, whether you like it or not. You can pride yourself in being one of those country music fans impervious to the buzz machine the industry uses to attempt to reel you in. But Kane Brown is coming, and he will be ubiquitous . . . unless his entire career implodes on itself.