Sam Hunt just needs to get out of music and start selling a signature line of flat-brimmed baseball caps, bedazzled ironic fanny packs, and fur murses. Even if he did a complete 180 in his career right here, right now, it would be impossible for him to reverse all the irreparable damage he’s done to country over the last few Godforsaken years.
The CMT Awards transpired Wednesday night, June 6th at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. Did you notice? Most likely not. Did you tune in and follow along? Even more unlikely. But this isn’t just about ratings. This is about the overall impact of the awards, or the lack thereof.
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.
It’s 24 weeks atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for Bebe Rexha’s collaboration with Florida Georgia Line, “Meant To Be.” This means the song first recorded and released solely as a pop single has now tied Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” for the 2nd longest-running #1 single in the Billboard Hot Country Songs history.
It’s not just that Sam Hunt isn’t country. It’s that Sam Hunt is the exact opposite of country. Quite literally. If you want to hear a song that is the direct antithesis of what a country song is, listen to a song by Sam Hunt. Country equals rural. Urban equals city. It’s very simple to understand.
For many true country music performers, the bug to write, sing, and play country music bit them at an early age, and never left. For others, country music is simply a vehicle for fame and riches. Specifically, many of them first tried to make it in professional sports before flunking out or getting sidelined with injury.
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.
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….
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.
That’s right. Think about the scores of female country music performers who have dedicated their entire lives to the craft, including many mainstream country pop performers, who have never enjoyed a debut at #1, or a #1 at all. And then a pop star you’ve probably have never heard of shows up and is cresting country music’s top metric for songs.
The nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards were announced Tuesday morning (11-28), and among the most nominated names are multiple traditional country and roots music favorites, including Chris Stapleton who comes in with three nominations, tied with award show favorites Little Big Town for the most nominations in country.
I don’t care if Walker Hayes is the most upstanding citizen from his affluent suburb, donates to charity, is sweet as pie to his fans, and gives mouth to nose resuscitation to orphaned puppies. This is not the type of incendiarily vapid stuff we need infecting anything being sold as “country.”
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.
The fact that “Vice” has now gone platinum is not entirely surprising as a lead single from a mainstream country star, but what is surprising is the song never cracked the Top 10 on country radio during its ascent. “Vice” stalled out at #11 before being moved to recurrent.
Well, it’s happened. As predicted by Saving Country Music and certain others, Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad” is now officially the longest-charting #1 single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the chart’s nearly 60-year-old history, logging a total of 25 straight weeks at #1.
Artists with the true love of country music in their hearts, they don’t make country music for money or fame. They make it for life. They make it because they have no other choice. They make it whether they succeed, or it costs incredible sacrifice to keep doing it. It isn’t an option, it’s an obligation to themselves, and the music.
Some might think this will sound like a broken record or a tired topic, that all the Chris Stapleton praise and plaudits for his remarkable sales numbers have run their course. But the argument can be made that we’re still not making a big enough about what Chris Stapleton is accomplishing in country music right now.
At the moment there are exactly zero women in country radio’s Top 20, and a whopping total of 4 in the entire Top 50 for an abysmal 8% representation. In fact this 4 out of 50 ratio has been pretty consistent now for the entirety of the “Body Like A Backroad” reign at #1.