The Worst “Country” Songs of 2020 So Far

WARNING: Language

Due to COVID-19, and then the protests and riots after the George Floyd killing, the Saving Country Music snark machine has been pretty much powered down and collecting dust for the better part of 2020. With so much negativity already out there in the world, why feed that beast? Also, as we’ve seen over the last few years after moving away from Bro-Country era, there’s just fewer really bad songs.

But there has been as few instances of country music malfeasance so egregious, it would be unconscionable to not address them. So as we hit the half way pole, let’s look back at a few of them.

And before you start crying, “Hey, wHy Don’T you FoCUs On the gOOd STufF !?!” Maybe actually get out there and read the record amount of album reviews Saving Country Music has posted so far this year. You can start with the Best Albums of 2020 So Far list.

Florida Georgia Line – “I Love My Country”

Ladies and gentlemen, the world has been besieged by an unfathomable scourge sweeping over the nations, infecting our most vulnerable, forcing people to shelter in place, shuttering businesses and freezing the free practice of commerce like we’ve never seen before, unleashing other untold disruptions and horrors to life on this fair planet on an unprecedented scale. This scourge, this infection, this terror beyond comparison and imagination that is ravaging our entire way of life has a name well known to many, that immediately incites shrieks of panic; that has become dubiously popularized through a diabolical history of spreading dread and dismay. This name that we speak of, this indefatigable scourge, this apex of frightening alarm is of course none other than the efforts of …the Coronavirus.

You thought I was about to compare the music of Florida Georgia Line to COVID-19, didn’t you. Didn’t you? Even that seems out-of-bounds in these dark days. But this terrible duo’s new song “I Love My Country” is so colossally disappointing, it’s work breaking the quarantine on snark and negative commentary to offer fair warning about.

“I Love My Country” tests positive for sucking ass. Instead of stoking national pride, “I Love My Country” induces vomiting in the way it tries to pass itself off as a country song, even having the audacity to mention fiddle and steel guitar in the lyrics, yet good luck finding hide or hair of these things in the mix. Instead what you get is the same Nickelback-inspired rock guitar that’s sullied this duo’s entire career, discretionary and distracting electronic drum beats, suburban rap, and the same token banjo every bullshit Southern pop song employs in a worthless attempt to claim affiliation or affinity for county music. (read more)

Sam Hunt – “Hard To Forget”

Haha. Okay… So this is how Sam Hunt is making his music, “… more traditional in terms of the genre … that’s definitely where the songs are leaning at this point,” like he promised us he was doing last summer? By filching a piece of a sacred Webb Pierce classic and misappropriating it for a shitty, derivative drum-looped pop song that sounds like everything else in popular music?

About the only solid Sam is doing for actual country music with his new track “Hard To Forget” is offering a outstanding side-by-side comparison of how eloquent and heartfelt country music used to be, and what a fetid, steaming shite roll it has become thanks to hacks like Sam Hunt. The bowel movement that is Sam Hunt’s “Hard To Forget” is far from solid. It’s one of those nasty deeds where no matter how much you wipe afterwards, you never get it all, like there’s a Sharpie stuck up your rear end.

Do I really even need to offer my angry little words toward this stupid song? Doesn’t all this go without saying? Birds will fly upside down over Sam Hunt’s “Hard To Forget” because it’s not even worth shitting on. The truly offensive thing here is the fact that Sam Hunt really does believe he’s doing a good turn toward traditional country by sampling Webb Pierce’s “There Stands The Glass.” Yet Hunt might as well have walked into a studio, had the engineers bring the feeders up, and told all traditional country fans calmly and politely to go fuck themselves. (read more)

Tim McGraw – “Way Down”

(Officially released in 2019, but came to prominence in 2020)

It’s never too late to revitalize your career, or to train wreck it. Tim McGraw saw all the hubbub being made over “Old Town Road” and decided he could mumble rap about pure nonsense and call it country too. Bad for him though, none of the Gen Z’ers with their Tik-Tok apps know or care who Tim McGraw is, and now he’s exposed himself as just another old white dude looking like an idiot with his 52-year-old hip-hop gesticulations in a shirt two sizes too small. Faith Hill should make McGraw’s gym rat ass sleep on the couch for six weeks for releasing this mess.

His last record Damn Country Music was a hell of a success with three Top 5 singles, including the #1 “Humble and Kind” written by Lori McKenna that ended up winning the CMA and Grammy for Song of the Year. Now Tim McGraw is tractor rapping, “I’m talkin’ way outside with the crickets and the dogs and the ye’haws, and the grandmas…”

Oh, and get a load of the innuendo embedded in these lines:

“Got the country music playin’ and the country girls that know how to take you, way down, way down, way down…”

“Put your mouth to the spout where the gospel comes out, way down, way down, way down…”

Is this just a blow job song disguised as a Southern anthem, Tim McGraw? These lines make Lil Nas X’s verses about booties and boobies feel Shakespearean. (read more)

Garth Brooks – “We Belong To Each Other”

Oh thank God. With the vacuum of leadership and trust the United States is experiencing as we pinball from one crisis to another in the throes of racial injustice and political strife while a pandemic continues to persist, we search our elected officials and popular icons for a voice of unity and purpose, pleading with the heavens, “Who will will rise out of the noise and madness to save and unite us all?” Meanwhile the answer has been right under our noses the whole time. How stupid have we been? Clearly, our savior, the man who can resuscitate the unity and hope in America is none other than a pudgy 58-year-old Garth Brooks.

Look, I’m a Garth Brooks apologist. And make no mistake, that’s an occupation that will keep one quite busy. But there’s no real apologizing for this. “We Belong To Each Other” is the slap dashing together of extremely cliche and tokenism frap passed off as verses. The only saving grace here is that this song will pass like a fart in the wind, and hopefully, never be spoken of again.

“We Belong To Each Other” is Garth making a pathetic attempt to interpret Doo-Wop for no other apparent reason than it gives him a good excuse to put a chorus of black backup singers behind him in the mix so he can claim claim diversity and inclusion, and then double damns the song by setting it in some weird island time vibe, perfect for sipping a fruity drink out of the husk of a pineapple to, while in the real world buildings burn and protests rage. The lyrics are like the scribbles on an inspirational version of a Mad Lib sheet, perfectly passionless and uninspired, and rendered inert aside from the incidental comedy they afford.

If only it was as easy as recording formulaic pablum to fundamentally address the systemic problems we haven’t been able to pacify in generations. But the only thing people will unify behind from “We Belong To Each Other” is how this song is just another bad and forgettable Kumbaya attempt by Mr. G. (read more)

Dustin Lynch – Tullahoma (The Whole Damn Album)

The career of Dustin Lynch is now such a catastrophic natural disaster, it is visible from space. Need a coaster to keep those unsightly water stains off your coffee table? Maybe something to shove under the leg of that tipsy table to keep it from wobbling? Shit, who are we kidding. Nobody even buys CDs anymore, so you can’t even use it for that. And it would be a waste to impress this new record from Dustin Lynch that besmirches the name of the great town of Tullahoma on anything tangible.

Oh sure, you see Dustin Lynch standing there in his cowboy hat, with a chin so chiseled it could cut granite, and song titles such as “Momma’s House,” “Old Country Song, “Country Star,” and “Little Town Livin,’” and you think maybe you stumbled upon some good old-fashioned boot scooter of a country record. But no dice. Dustin Lynch’s words say one thing, but his actions speak louder.

Granted, you’ll hear ample caterwauling of cliche country-isms in the moronic lyrical phrases of this record. There’s even talk of country legends, steel guitars, and old country songs on the radio. But the music is all pop, rap, and rock, nearly everything but country, almost like Dustin Lynch is playing keep-away from the genre. And each turn of phrase and song structure is so especially formulaic, you can predict where it’s going with even the most rudimentary understanding of popular music. The only thing “country music” about this record is that’s what gets curb stomped consecutively for eleven tracks while your ears start to bleed. (read more)

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