When you hear certain albums from some of country music’s mainstream performers, it’s patently clear to large portions of the audience that these albums aren’t pop country, they’re just pop, period. But in the pop world when artist dabble in country influences, they tend to be more honest about how the end result is still pop.
It’s no April Fools Joke. Country music legend Loretta Lynn is gearing up to celebrate her 87th birthday this April 14th, and on April 1st, many of country music’s finest will be coming together to show tribute to the Coal Miners Daughter in a massive concert and birthday party at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
Alan Jackson, Brandy Clark, Darius Rucker, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jack White, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Loretta Lynn, Margo Price, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Trisha Yearwood
We took the time to celebrate some of the Best Songs Released in 2018, as well as some of the Best Albums, so now it’s time to place a clothespin firmly on our noses, slip on some elbow-length rubber gloves, and go digging through the cesspool that is radio country to dredge up the absolute worst offenses.
Kacey Musgraves didn’t fail because country radio ignored her. She succeeded because she ignored country radio. This is the lesson of Kacey Musgraves, ‘Golden Hour,’ and the 2018 CMA Awards. Of course country radio sucks, and is inequitable when it comes to women. But what are you going to do about it?
Country music still needs saving ladies and gentlemen, and is still searching for the absolute statistical rock bottom when it comes to quality and substance in songs. Defining the “worst” has officially reached new parameters. So let’s cover our ears, pinch our noses, and set these stinking piles of refuse up to ceremoniously knock them down.
If you’re 17-years-old, can’t wait to get out from under the repressive regime of your parents house, and generally hate country music, Keith Urban’s new album ‘Graffiti U’ is right for you. It’s almost as if in a maniacal obsession, Keith and his legion of SIXTEEN producers set out on a purposeful mission to make the worst country album they could.
WARNING: LANGUAGE – Somehow, inexplicably, Keith Urban has figured out how to take the most iconic guitar riff in the entire 70+ year history of country music, and make it sound like the last dying gasps of a faulty smoke detector smacked repeatedly with a sledge hammer, and slowly drowning it in a bucket of 7-year-old used motor oil.
So here we are once again staring at a list of the nominees for the ACM Awards, with few surprises, lots of predictable stuff, and finding ourselves full of self-reflection on if we should even care about the annual country music gala that is most susceptible to bloc voting and horse trading.
Most importantly, Chis Janson has proven that he cares, because you don’t play the Opry for the money. Ans as soon as the Opry membership is refreshed with names of artists who show passion for the Opry, then perhaps a renewed passion for the Opry itself will also appear in fans and other artists
“Parallel Line” could have been cut by Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, or whomever. It doesn’t really matter who sung it; it would have sounded almost exactly the same. That’s why so many immediately identified this as an Ed Sheeran song. Popular music is just numerous pop franchises with many different faces.
Keith Urban decided in the aftermath of the revelations about Hollywood producer and financier Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual assault to release a single called “Female,” which he recently debuted live at the 2017 CMA Awards. Though the message, and maybe the intent behind it is honorable, “Female” is just flat wrong.
You may not know them personally, or maybe you do. Or maybe you even count yourself as one of them. But somewhere out there are swaths of country fans who swear off all that effeminate country crap from from folks like Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan, and swear they only like the real stuff. You know … like The Cadillac Three.
Music can teach us that we all love, we all face fears, and we all can overcome whatever inward or outward oppression that may be dogging us to flourish and prosper. If a music artist chooses to broach political subjects or to speak out against injustices in their music, them more power to them. But don’t hold silence accountable as complicity.
Oh man are these some stinkers. Not only does an elite and highly-trained group of mainstream country artists seem to be like devoted experts at defining new lows for the genre, in 2017 the amount of non-country-ness of some of these “country” songs is so off the charts, it’s like they’re purposely challenging each other.
Body Like a Backroad, Canaan Smith, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Craving You, David Allan Coe, Dustin Lynch, Fix A Drink, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Like You That Way, Sam Hunt, The Chainsmokers, The Fighter, The Moonshine Bandits, Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton’s sophomore album ‘From A Room: Vol. 1’ is the #1 selling record this week in pure album sales across all genres, beating out rapper Logic’s new album ‘Everybody.’ However due to new chart rules that consider streaming data, Stapleton will come in #2 in the major charts.
This dog just won’t die. Last time I remember reading about American Idol, the franchise was an incredible $398 MILLION in debt. The show lost all of its original judges like rats fleeing the ship. It hasn’t launched a bona fide superstar since George W. Bush was President. Is one measly year off enough to recharge the appetite for this show?
‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’ rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts, landing at #1 in country, and #7 overall. And that wasn’t the only album that saw a sales spike. What’s also a bit surprising is how the country music industry seems to be ignoring the surge, while talking about the surge for other artists.
Even taking into consideration the monstrosities from pop stars calling themselves country because they’d get their asses handed to them in pop like Sam Hunt and Chris Lane, “The Fighter” very well may be the most non-country “country” song released as a single in the history of the genre.
Even though large orchestrations or highly-choreographed choir sections are undoubtedly elements of overproduction, they are still by definition organic. There is still a human element to them, in both the performance and the arrangement. But comparing them to the electronic accoutrements of the day is poppycock.
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.
Sturgill Simpson sat down with Marc Maron of the WTF podcast recently, and the hour or so interview was released on Thursday (5-12). If you’re a diehard Sturgill Simpson fan, it would be strongly encouraged that you listen. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from the conversation.
Ripcord is a synthy, shallow, rhythmic-centric gaggle of immediately forgettable efforts that is obsessed with the doings of early adulthood in an unhealthy manner for a 49-year-old perfomrer, and offers absolutely no type of statement or expression either sonically, lyrically, creatively, or otherwise.
During the 48th Annual Grammy Awards pre-telecast Monday afternoon, the rising country star and Kentucky born songwriter walked away with the Grammy for “Best Country Solo Performance” for his fine work on the title track to his debut solo album, Traveller. Stapleton beat out Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Cam, and Lee Ann Womack for the distinction.
So what in the hell are well-versed country and Americana fans who finds themselves in stiff opposition to folks like Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt supposed to feel about ol’ Isbell sharing the stage with these turkeys? I’ll tell you what they should feel, they should shut up and be happy because it’s yet another sign that the good stuff is breaking through, and is getting its deserved due on Nashville’s biggest stages.