Viral Mashup Exposes Silent Majority of Disgruntled Country Fans
So even though Saving Country Music has seen similar illustrations and passed on featuring them previously, it seemed this one was worth shining a little bit bigger of a spotlight on in whatever capacity could be achieved. Subsequently a video that racked up only 400-something views in the two months after it had been initially posted has gone über viral, racking up nearly 2.2 million views at the time of this post, and counting.
READ: Mashup Illustrates How Many Country Hits Are The Same
The post went so viral so quickly Thursday morning, Saving Country Music’s server crashed momentarily. Within 36 hours, media outlets all over the internet, including legacy magazine Time had featured the mashup, and NPR’s All Things Considered had interviewed its creator, Nashville songwriter Greg Todd. The “Mind-Blowing Six Country Song Mashup” had gone mega-viral.
So the next question is, why does something like Greg Todd’s mashup, or Saving Country Music’s review of Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes from October, or Grady Smith’s video “Why Country Music Was Awful in 2013,” or Blake Shelton’s “Old Farts & Jackasses” comments find a way to resonate so widely when on the surface they seem to represent dissenting, minority viewpoints?
Beyond the technical reasons dealing with an interconnected social world, it’s because a distaste for what has happened to country music permeates American culture within a silent majority. It may be easy to see all of the attention acts like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan are getting and think this is what the masses want, but underneath the surface there’s another parallel universe that is sickened by these trends, and when they see a piece of media or read something that perfectly illustrates what they feel inside, then said media can reach the viral capacity.
What’s even more interesting is that many of the people who this new mashup video resonates with are people who don’t really consider themselves country fans, traditional or mainstream. But country music still inhabits a place in their cultural ethos, and they have a profound sense that something is wrong. Their grandfather listened to it, they hear it in passing, and they know what country music is supposed to sound like, and the place it exists in culture. And even now these people—people who come from the outside looking in, with only a surface understanding of what country music is—are concerned for what is happening to what they see as an American cultural institution.
On Friday, a local sports station out of Dallas, TX called The Ticket had their afternoon show The Hardline dedicate an entire segment to the mashup. The show semi-regularly lampoons Bro-Country and its offshoots, and had been smattered with emails all day, proving how broad and effusive the distaste for modern country is where it bleeds into other cultural segments.
Some laugh that there’s a contingent of folks out there that actually enjoy the mashed up song, while others will point out that songwriter Greg Todd says himself he’s not necessarily hating on the songs as much as trying to prove a point. Part of this has to do with some media outlets wanting to get in on the viral event, but not wanting to cheese off their buddies on Music Row and trying to paint a more rosy picture. Make no mistake, this mashup made its rounds to the power players at Nashville’s major labels, and they will soon be huddling up to make damage control assessments. But if people enjoy the song, it’s just more proof how effective the mashup is.
This isn’t a “if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it” type of scenario. These songs are everywhere, playing in commercials and sporting events, at the grocery store and in the car at the stop light beside you. And more and more Americans of all stripes and backgrounds are asking, “What has happened to country music? It all sounds the same.”
Greg Todd and his mashup video answerd that question.
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Six String Richie
January 10, 2015 @ 10:27 am
Hey I’m just curious to know, I am ignorant to how these mash ups are made, did they do any corrections with key, pitch or tempo to make this work? And when they played all of the songs at the same time but you only heard one singer, how did that work? I just want to understand the video little better.
Also, I want to say I’m glad this video is getting so much exposure. This is a great way to show what’s wrong with current mainstream country music.
January 10, 2015 @ 10:33 am
Yes, the creator has said from the beginning there were tempo and pitch changes made so the songs would sync up in time. Some have used this point to say the video proves nothing, but syncing up the tempo is what allows the other similarities to be exposed.
January 25, 2015 @ 10:47 am
Clearly they do not know how music works. Changing key or tempo does not change a song.
January 12, 2015 @ 12:22 am
when people point that because he changed the key of certain songs to fit it doesnt mean the songs are really different. although some of the songs in the mashup are in different keys they are all the same chord progression so intervalically, distance between the chords in the song, they are still the same even though they may be in different keys.
January 10, 2015 @ 10:42 am
With as much dissent as there is, not just among old people as BS said, you could optimistically hope that pop country will crash and burn and the powers that be will be forced to add more substance, traditionality, and variation to the music. But unfortunately, it’s possible that they will simply either attempt to “prove them wrong” and keep doing what they’ve been doing, or seemingly make improvements on the surface but still be just as bad or worse. But one can only hope this will be the spark that lights the bomb that will blow up EDM/rap/bro country and allow music to go more in the direction of traditional country.
January 10, 2015 @ 11:04 am
It’s been my theory that beginning in the second half of 2014, the tide changed and mainstream country slowly began to take a more substantive turn, and were seeing that in the top-charting singles on radio and such. Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze” did not rocket to #1 like all of their previous singles, and meanwhile deeper songs from Time McGraw and Carrie Underwood are holding on to top spots. It’s no Sturgill Simpson, but you’re starting to see material changes, possibly because of the exposure from things like this mashup, or at least the tiring of hearing the same song over and over. “Bro-Country” is on its last legs. There will still be some hits here and there. It’s not going to go away without a fight. But I have a definite sense things are slowly changing.
January 10, 2015 @ 10:58 am
Its been said before, but it is more than clear we are In the disco era of country music. One can only pray that like disco one day we all wake up and these dark days are only a dark gloomy memory.
January 10, 2015 @ 12:10 pm
There is a problem with Greg Todd’s video ; There is no TRUE point to it.
Why? Because country music has ALWAYS SOUNDED THE SAME. I grew up listening to Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Alabama, Clay Walker, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and other neo-traditional artists as well as some traditional artists like Conway here and there, and I can say that country music back then sounded just like it does today – ALL THE SAME. It is extremely difficult to tell apart, even though i grew up listening to 80’s and 90’s country you can play me a song from around that time period and it’s tough for me to tell it apart, it all sound the same. I’m a big fan of modern country for the most part (except for excuse-of-country acts like Sam Hunt) and I can easily tell songs apart unlike older country. While older country obviously had way more talented artists, i find it boring and hard to listen to for more than half an hour. Modern country i have listened to for 5+ hours before it started to piss me off.
Greg Todd’s video fails to make a point IMO, as most music genres DO SOUND THE SAME, look at pop music how much that has changed, you turn pop radio on and it’s all that garbage that has doo-wop influences in it like Meghan Trainor and Iggy Azela for i.e……all music has turned to shit in all honesty. I enjoyed Greg Todd’s video (he did an amazing job at it) but i just see no point in it, as music genres usually do stick to a formula for a period of time because it works and sells. 90’s country had the same forumla, all sounded the same and got boring and repeatitive. Ha, I remember when Kenny Chesney got onto the country music scene….he was considered the country music anti-christ, now not too many people are talking shit about him and he’s a well respected artist.
People 10+ years from now will be looking back on Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan as being real country artists, because folks, I guarantee you morons like Sam Hunt will be dominating country music, if you think it’s not country now you will be very surprised for what its going to sound like in a mere 5 years.
January 10, 2015 @ 12:41 pm
You have a point with the Neo-traditionalists (and especially the traditionalists) made music that sounds naggingly similar after awhile IN THE RHYTHMS. It’s why my band has to spread our trad-country covers throughout the show…too many George Jones songs in a row drive the drummer crazy, however listen to those songs MELODICALLY. Country music has never been focused squarely on the groove, but on strong, memorable melodies, when one dissects the musical aspect of what makes classic country songs so great. Problem is with the modern bumper crop, it’s all about that groove and has little to do with the melody, a lot like contemporary pop and hip-hop/rap stuff, ergo the homogenization of all popular music (what they call “country” included).
January 10, 2015 @ 3:11 pm
Exactly. I don’t care if the rhythm is repetitive or boring. I care about the melody and the harmony.
The key problem with modern music is the excessive focus on rhythm over melody.
January 10, 2015 @ 3:44 pm
Okay then, someone make a mashup of four #1 hits, and two other big hits from a two year period in the classic era, and I’ll post it.
January 10, 2015 @ 4:52 pm
Yeah, I agree that country can sound the same and a lot of my favorite acts have been guilty of mining similar territory but what has always pulled me in has been the individual qualities of the singers’ voices and the melodies. I grew up on Outlaw Country and although a lot of the songs are similar, I will never confuse Waylon Jennings from Willie Nelson from Merle Haggard and so on. It is their individual voices and imperfections and vulnerabilities that makes it sounds like it is being made by a human being and not auto-tuned and over-produced into a soulless generic song made for the masses. Bro-Country all sounds to me like it is being sung by the same person (or machine).
January 11, 2015 @ 2:10 am
I agree completely. I think what you are saying is that those artists had a voice and a point of view because DUH they didn’t all live the same life or grow up the same way!
It seems Luke Bryan’s only point of view is to get off your panties and drink. And all that auto-tune doesn’t help them stand out either.
You would NEVER confuse a song by Dolly for one by Loretta or Tammy or Emmylou, they all had distinct voices and points of view in what they wrote or which songs the chose to record not to mention phrasing and the ability to sing. And really if you can’t differentiate George Jones from Johnny Cash from Waylon Jennings, or Nanci Griffith from Kathy Mattea or Pam Tillis or Patty Loveless, or Alan Jackson from George Strait or Vince Gil well… I’m sorry for your hearing loss.
January 11, 2015 @ 11:20 am
Luke Bryan sounds like Kermit The Frog, so there is no confusing him with any other artist. He has a very…….unique..? voice.
January 12, 2015 @ 7:41 am
I’d say Luke has somewhat of a feminine voice.
January 11, 2015 @ 4:43 am
Yeah, You won’t find any Adam Ant or Joey Ramone or Bob Geldof’s in country Music!
January 10, 2015 @ 12:24 pm
FWIW…the songs Cruise and Wagon Wheel are the same structure and all that… Just in a different key about a half a step! Much like the these mash ups!
January 10, 2015 @ 2:03 pm
It’s telling that what is now called “Alt-Country” is, in fact, “traditional” sounding country music.
This mashup was fantastic. There’s a tear in my beer.
January 10, 2015 @ 2:10 pm
Apologies for being off topic, but what happened to the news ticker at the top of the site? Just wondering if it was a casualty of the technical glitch earlier in the week…
January 10, 2015 @ 3:42 pm
We”™re working to restore the news stream, take the Captchas down, and get the “like” feature back on the comments. Long story short, we had to do these things to keep the site from crashing. When the Florida Georgia Line “Worst Album Ever” article went mega viral, there was more traffic coming to the site and it handled it just fine. But for some reason the mashup video event caused all kinds of havoc.
January 10, 2015 @ 2:12 pm
I saw some mainstream country sites share this video on Facebook and the sad thing is how it went over the heads of most of the fans of the artists it’s meant to ridicule. I saw multiple comments wishing the artists featured would do a live version of the mashup. Others thought it was “cool,” as if it was some musical coincidence or some novelty, kind of like that guy who does songs in 20 different musical genre’s.
I saw other apologists try to write it off as though this is just how the genre sounds as though you could do this with the top songs from any genre and any time period, and this is sadly not true.
Now sure, if I go searching through the deep cuts on some of my Johnny Cash and George Jones records, I may come up with the occasional pair of songs that match up, no doubt. And sure, genres/artists have certain sounds and if I have my iPod on shuffle, I can usually pick out in the first 5 seconds what artist I’m hearing, even if I can’t hit the buzzer with the specific song right away.
The issue here is that these were all songs which received massive exposure while being totally interchangeable with one another. It speaks to the artistic bankruptcy of mainstream country radio of recent times, as well as how mindlessly accepting the fanbase is, considering they kept hearing this same melody and lyrical content and ate it up. It’s embarrassing.
Six String Richie
January 10, 2015 @ 2:23 pm
I think the biggest take away from this video for a lot people is gonna be how the lyrics in multiple hits are, at times, the same. Different songs, same lyrics. Not even just similar themes but actually the same lyrics. Notice how two of the songs start by compared the night to the 4th of July. The word choice of each of the songs is simply way too similar to each other.
If you look at songs from a specific genre and time period, there of course will be similarities, especially in the production. But the lyrics should be different from song to song and artist to artist. The lyrical voice of each of the songs is exactly the same. It’s as though the same person wrote all six of the songs. That is the greatest problem.
January 10, 2015 @ 2:33 pm
Speaking as a serious songwriter , I have found it more and more bewildering that the mantra of Music Row has ALWAYS been ” Submit something FRESH , something with no cliches and with a different angle/perspective than we’ve already heard ” and yet the modus operandi of the industry is exactly the opposite of that seemingly meaningless feedback . I recently wrote NSAI and several song evaluation services with a comment on that disconnect between what songwriters are strongly advised to work at and submit while the opposite is the order of the day in terms of securing cuts and likely will be until the $$$ dwindle .
January 10, 2015 @ 4:48 pm
Yep, you can listen to any era and there will be similarities in the music but the big difference now is that the lyrics are so generic and interchangeable and that is what makes this mashup stand out. As was mentioned in the other post on this topic so many of these songs are written by a relatively small group of writers, and not particularly imaginative ones at that, that we are seeing the same phrases over and over (‘girl’ etc.) and themes (name checking alcoholic brands).
It’s all so calculating and shallow.
January 10, 2015 @ 2:23 pm
‘What”™s even more interesting is that many of the people who this new mash-up video resonates with are people who don”™t really consider themselves country fans, traditional or mainstream. But country music still inhabits a place in their cultural ethos, and they have a profound sense that something is wrong. Their grandfather listened to it, they hear it in passing, and they know what country music is supposed to sound like, and the place it exists in culture. And even now these people””people who come from the outside looking in, with only a surface understanding of what country music is””are concerned for what is happening to what they see as an American cultural institution.’
Trigger …..THIS observation is , in my opinion and professional experience as a performer , teacher and writer, DEAD ACCURATE !! I and many of my friends , contemporaries and business contacts were not brought up , as it were , on country music but were affected and influenced, often profoundly , by its traditional trademark characteristics any time our respective paths would cross with the genre. Point being , you don’t need to be a long-time country music listener or fan or proponent to understand the narrow musical /lyrical focus contemporary ‘country’ music radio has subscribed to in an all-out-no-holds-barred-attempt to seduce the lowest common denominator in a listener base in the name of $$$ . In a recent program on VOICES in various musical genres , Rene Flemming asked rhetorically ” Are you in this to make art through self expression or are you in this to become famous ? The paths are different once you’ve answered that question ”
I have often wondered and written about how people would react if trad JAZZ music was to embrace drum machines , loops , 3-chord-max arrangements and took piano and saxophone out of every new jazz recording . The heart and soul , the emotion and inventiveness , the unique expressive connecting characteristics of the human creating and performing the music would be removed from the art completely . Jazz music is considered the only TRUELY American art form . What would the backlash be like if it were ‘altered’ ( destroyed ) in a fashion similar to that used to destroy the most important elements of Country Music ” ?
January 10, 2015 @ 3:18 pm
The nice thing about jazz is that it has not been a popular art form for about 50 years, and so it is adjusted to cater to a small fan base that loves the sound and it therefore does not need to pander to any large audience.
An interesting idea to ponder is about what would have happened if jazz had adopted some electric instruments 50-60 years ago when it was being swept aside by rock n roll. Maybe jazz would have survived a bit longer as the dominant genre and the rise of rock would have been forestalled?
January 10, 2015 @ 4:11 pm
I sent this to a friend who’s a fan of most of today’s country and he replied “sweet! All my favorites in one song”.
I replied “told you they all sounded alike”.
Got back “you’re a jackass” so ended the conversation.
January 10, 2015 @ 4:35 pm
Anyone that likes a music genre that you don’t is going to defend it when you talk shit about it, or even use constructive criticism. Can’t tell you how many times I have asked my boss how he listens to that trash thats on pop radio, and he replies with “you are retarded” or “yeah cuz you a redneck, so stick to your redneck shit”. And he talk shit on country music all the time, and many of my friends talk shit on country music in general. Most people who listen to pop and rap always have something nasty to say bout country, but you rarely if ever see country fans bashing other genres. I said a long time ago and will say it again, country music appeals to the “better people” in this world.
Six String Richie
January 11, 2015 @ 10:29 am
I would have to disagree somewhat with that comment. While I agree that many people who don’t listen to country music enjoy talking trash about it, I’ve heard tons of country fans talk trash about other genres.
Most often they talk trash about rap. To me this is strange since country is taking on more and more rap influences every year and artists like Luke Bryan and FGL state that they are influenced by rappers. I’ve also heard tons of country fans talk about how pop is stupid and mindless and how alternative or indie rock is boring and for hipsters. Rap hands down takes the most crap from country fans.
I would agree country takes a ton of trash talk but country fans trash talk plenty as well.
January 11, 2015 @ 11:13 am
I understand what you are saying. But what I was trying to say is that while country music fans do indeed bash other music genres, it’s a “rare” occurrence in comparison to fans of other music genres who you will see bashing country music anywhere you turn.
I have seen alot of country fans say rap is the worst, however, I’m not one of them. I have no problem going from listening to country to rap (as long as it’s from quite a few years ago, i hate rap from about 2009+, it’s garbage). While i enjoy SOME pop songs (but very few!), I’d say that I talk trash on pop music the most. I do not mind the rap influences in country music, and thoroughly enjoy FGL as well as Luke Bryan. I’m an open minded guy, and I believe that it’s awesome to hear something different in country music that will appeal to the younger generation. It’s a refreshing sound IMO, but I know it’s been pissing off traditional and neo-traditional fans. But with me, I frequently go from listening to Conway, to Chase Rice, to George Strait, to FGL, to Alan Jackson, to Luke Bryan, and so forth…..love country music period as long as it’s not that fake crap like Sam Hunt or Keith Urban…
January 12, 2015 @ 12:09 pm
Lol, pretty sure you’re I the wrong website if you like FGL and Luke Bryan. FGL are garbage and stealing the name country music. I didn’t say they’re ruining country because they don’t make country music, they’re just trying to steal the name and call what they make country. They’re just bad, no if, ands, or buts.
Luke Bryan is talented, but makes terrible music. If he cares anything about the genre he makes a living off of he wouldn’t put out the songs he does. He made decent music at one point, before 2009.
About your earlier comments, I could listen to traditional country all day, actually I do, real country is the only music I listen to. Sounds a billion times better than the crap out now. That’s not to say there isn’t any redeeming songs that have recently come out. And I do agree with trigger, and believe that pop country is trending in a more positive direction now.
BTW they’re both terrible but Keith Urban’s music is more country than FGL’s.
January 12, 2015 @ 1:56 pm
@ Josh R., that is nothing more than your opinion. I’m open minded, but can tell you are not.
January 12, 2015 @ 2:30 pm
I’m actually extremely open minded. You don’t know enough about me to make those assumptions. I was joking with you when I said you shouldn’t be on this website. It’s Triggers site and he’s the only one who can tell anyone to get off of it. But liking bad music does not equate to open minded. You can’t use open mindedness as an excuse for bad taste. And you’re right, much of what I said is just my opinion. But I’ll tell you this, I do know what country is and ain’t, and that stuff ain’t country. For a song to be country, it should not only have country themes lyrically, but also sound country. Most stuff on radio today does not.
For the record, I have no problem at all that that kind of music is being made today. It’s not for me, I don’t like it, but of course they have a right to make it. My issue is that they’re calling it country when it clearly isn’t. Please by all means countinue to make and listen to what you like, just don’t call it country if it ain’t.
January 12, 2015 @ 3:40 pm
That’s pretty arrogant, don’t you think? If it’s not country, then what is it?
You tell me I “don’t know you well enough to make assumptions”, yet you just said i have “bad taste” in music when you don’t even know what i listen to. I listen to a wide variety of genres. I do not have a bad taste in anything, you don’t know me so you cannot judge my tastes in anything. I’m one of the few out there that does not take life extremely seriously all the time and know how to jam out to fun music, like Florida Georgia Line for i.e. You are quick to call FGL and Luke Bryan ‘not country’ but in 20 years your opinion will be vastly different. Everyone hated Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and most of the other artists we call “traditionalists” back when they were new in country music, but now look, everyone considers them the REAL country artists while all the modern artists are the anti-christs. Give me a break.
January 11, 2015 @ 1:54 am
I think why it resonates with people outside the country has nothing to do with country, it resonates because all mainstream popular music sounds the same and while this video takes on country, people have been screaming the same accusations at hip-hop, what’s left of rock, and bloody mainstream “jazz” or “smooth jazz”, and blues isn’t even on ANY mainstream radar anymore.
I do think the there is a silent majority for sure. And the out number the mainstream masses, but that silent majority is not constantly on their devices clicking like or share… or when they do express disgust they are pretty much ignored. Or give the comment, “If you don’t like it don’t listen to it or comment.”
Ah but then that is what sites like SCM are for they get the word out and speak for the silent majority that for whatever reason stays quiet. And every so often something hits with public and BAM!
January 11, 2015 @ 6:34 am
Thus it ever was – as noted by this Australian rock/comedy act Axis of Awesome, almost every pop hit uses the same four chords:
January 11, 2015 @ 8:09 am
This what capitalism DOES — it packages and commoditizes originality and sells it in great volume to the masses.
Someone mischaracterized the evolution of disco above. It’s a great example. Disco was a cultural anomaly growing out of NYC underground/gay/club culture that was commoditized and popularized for a bring period to hit the pop (as in popular) charts. There hasn’t been a decent mainstream rock band since Guns and Roses. But there are still rock songs on the charts, and still bands that exist outside the charts playing music influenced by the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, the Clash and the Replacements. They just aren’t on the pop charts. The Pitchfork top 50 albums and the Rolling Stone top 50 albums have little to no crossover. One is left of the dial, and one *is* the dial.
The “popularization” of country music doesn’t mean the traditional form becomes popular but that it’s bastardized into a popular format. It works. It may collapse at some point (as popular disco music did) because sometimes the masses can be fickle. Or it can go on forever, as street hip hop morphed into mainstream/popular hip hop and became dominant in the culture.
When it comes to country pop, there are powerful capitalistic forces working to keep it going (racial ones too, don’t underestimate that). Above all, the number 1 artist in the world right now (and really the only one selling like the old days) comes from that Nashville popularization engine.
There’s plenty of incentive, and seemingly plenty of demand, to keep pop country alive. Because smart people can see behind the curtain isn’t enough to stop it. Capitalism isn’t subtle. But it works. And it isn’t even scared of the countervailing argument, in fact over the long run it commoditizes that too, and makes THAT mainstream in some way, pushing the “non-mainstream” to an even further, more isolated extreme.
January 11, 2015 @ 7:22 pm
None of this is surprising. Of course artists want to make the most money that they can. The real issue here with regard to capitalism is whether the labels are necessary anymore as middlemen. With the rise of easy home recording instruments and digital sales of music, it seems that the labels have outlived their purpose and we are heading toward a future in which artists will record their music at home and sell directly to consumers via the Internet.
January 25, 2015 @ 2:50 pm
As much as we want major music labels to go away and for a new era of creativity to flourish, that is not going to happen soon, sadly. The reason for this is because the largest demographic of people who actually still buy CD’s and/or pay money to download it are suburban females aged 9 to 45. And the buying power and the tastes of this demographic is never going to change. As long as Miss Teenager wants a celebrity crush and Mrs. Soccer Mom wants to fulfill her fantasies of an ideal man, we will forever see record companies churning our utter shit like this.
January 16, 2015 @ 6:20 am
To paraphrase Dr. Malcom in Jurassic Park:
I will tell you the problem with modern pop country and the success it’s having. It didn’t require any discipline to attain it. They read and saw what others had done, and they took the next step. They didn’t attain the knowledge and skill for themselves, so they take no responsibility for it. They stood on the shoulders of geniuses to make some something as fast as they could. And before they even knew what they had, they packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox and now they’re selling it. The producers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t bother to think if they SHOULD!!!
Six String Richie
January 11, 2015 @ 10:34 am
Two other songs that sound exactly the same are “Runnin’ Out of Moonlight” by Randy Houser and “Yeah” by Joe Nichols. The melodies are super similar, the story of each song is super similar and the tempo is super similar. Somebody should do a mash up of those two hits.
January 11, 2015 @ 11:18 am
I disagree completely.
Joe Nichols is a respected neo-traditional artist. I have never heard a song from him that sounds anything close to another. He has dived into the pop country territory with the new singles off his latest album but the man will never sound anything like the “formula” you typically hear on country radio.
January 11, 2015 @ 4:37 pm
Sorry, but Yeah does sound like these songs. Being a neo-traditional artist doesn’t excuse the fact that this song is crap.
January 11, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
Being an elder fart, I had the great blessing to grow up in what was a golden era for
Country Music. Within an hour on AM radio, one could hear the honky-tonk music
of Hank Williams and Kitty Wells (among others), Texas Swing music with Bob Wills, great comedy by Homer and Jethroe (fine musicians, too), Cajun influenced tunes, Gospel Music, western ballads by Marty Robbins, and bluegrass by Bill Monroe or
Flatt and Scruggs. And in the 50’s, Country AM was where rockabilly cats like Elvis,
Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash started out. It was an eclectic mix that, if anything,
did NOT sound alike.
The good ol’ days, y’all…..
January 22, 2015 @ 3:57 pm
Well said Ben Jones, I could not agree more!
Truth No. 2
January 11, 2015 @ 6:55 pm
Trigger, did you notice that the uploaded of that video gave you a shoutout in the YouTube comment section?
January 11, 2015 @ 7:03 pm
I did. Great content can make me look like some kind of genius or something when in reality all the credit goes to the creators. I just point people in the right direction, and do what a lots of folks in media are unwilling to do: listen.
January 12, 2015 @ 8:30 am
Talk Radio at 102.3 in Chattanooga just namechecked your site and this article on air. They’re playing the mashup and offering commentary now.
January 12, 2015 @ 9:41 am
My biggest problem with what this video does for us as true country fans and where it takes us from here is the outcome we’re likely to get, which is nothing differnt. Yes, we indeed may get more substance from mainstream “country” artists. We may get more of the “Dirt” and less of the “This is How We Roll” jargon in the year to come. We may get more of the Carrie Underwood style “Blown Away” substance too from the mainstream. However, what we will never get back I fear is the sound. That is why, I fear this video will in the end, accomplish nothing.
I want more substance and better songwriting as much as the next guy. The lyrical value of a country song over the last decade has become appalling and embarrassing. We’ve heard the same songs over and over and over as this video illustrates. I want that to change badly, I do. However, if all we’re going to get is better lyrical content set to EMD or overly loud butt-rock style instrumentation, then count me out, at least the country music fan in me. Sure I liked “Dirt” from Florida-Georgia Line a little and yeah, Carrie Underwood’s latest album was pretty decent. But in either case, neither the song nor the album were country. That is I believe, the direction we’re headed in, deeper, better lyrical content with the same crummy, over-produced, obnoxiously loud arrangements, that we have today.
The instrumentation and arrangements that make a song truly country won’t come back. That’s what I fear most. Steel Guitar, gone! Dobro, dumped! Fiddle, forget about it! Any hope of mainstream traditionalists starting a 1980’s style revival ended when Ashley Monroe’s “Like a Rose” album was largely ignored. When Mercury Nashville held a gun to Easton Corbin’s head and made him record his latest album, with little traditional influence and weak songwriting; unlike his prior two albums. When Josh Turner was taken to an underground bunker, never to be heard from again. When the team’s captain Jamey Johnson was benched for insubordination. When George Strait and Alan Jackson aged out. And finally, when Joe “She Only Smokes When She Drinks” Nichols family was threatened and he himself was taken out back by the Muzak Mafia and beaten so severely that he promised never to have a fiddle, mandolin, dobro or steel guitar in one of his songs again.
I really thought from about 2009-2013 that there would be a chance that once bro-country and dance-beat country faded that there would be an opening for a 1980’s style traditional country return. I spent those years hoping and waiting for the next Randy Travis or George Strait to come riding in on there horses. I thought that Easton Corbin, Jamey Johnson, Josh Turner, Randy Houser, Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves and the few others like them could follow the leads of popular veteran artists like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn and lead rebirth in traditional sounding country music. I now know that I was haplessly jaded and wrong. I’m only 27, can you please forgive my ignorant, youthful transgressions?
One last point, for anyone hoping that Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Jason Eady, Lydia “Don’t Call Me Pattie’s Daughter” Loveless, Karen Jonas or any artists from the indie-crowd of country singers can yet ride in and lead a revival back to the country sounds of yesterday, you’re wrong. Not only wrong, you’re as foolish and as jaded as I was to sit around and hope something comes of it and the country music we love, magically starts sounding country again thanks to a new crop of neo-traditionalist warriors.
January 12, 2015 @ 12:28 pm
Literally couldn’t have said it better myself. These are my sentiments EXACTLY.
To prove your point look no further than Chris Young’s last two singles, “Who I am with You” and “Lonely Eyes”. Both are good lyrically substantive songs, but they sound Luke some post grunge rock song. Man his early stuff was great and imo underrated. It’s a shame to see he lost his sound. Oh yeah, and same case with Dierks last album.
That’s disappointing to hear about Easton Corbin. I loved his first two albums. I haven’t listened to his new one yet. “Someday When I’m Old” was an amazing song.
Here’s to hopin that Aaron Watson doesn’t sell out and lose his sound on his newest album.
January 12, 2015 @ 12:31 pm
*like not Luke
January 12, 2015 @ 3:52 pm
Extremely well written Mike. I enjoyed reading that. I mostly agree strongly with everything you wrote. However, to say that country in general has an over-produced, crummy, and obnoxious sound, isn’t true. I would say that artists like Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Josh Thompson, Jon Pardi, Easton Corbin, Josh Turner, Jake Owen, Tyler Farr, etc….fit quite far from the cookie cutter sound that you describe. Of course, the best artists like both Joshs, Jon, and Easton, very rarely get any airplay because they COULD be the future of REAL country music, but apparently no one wants to hear that refreshing MODERN real country sound. If artists like Josh Thompson and Jon Pardi would have continual top 10 or even top 20 singles, country music would be headed back in the right direction as I’m sure it would inspire other labels, because they will do anything that sells well. But, I do not see it happening, i see morons like Sam Hunt take over our genre. And while Cole Swindell had a “decent” first album (if you like pop country), i see him being the next Sam Hunt with his next album. It’s getting tough for me to turn on my car radio to country stations, some of this new crap coming out is worse than alot of the bro country songs.
January 12, 2015 @ 8:10 pm
I have a deep dislike for pop country. This has done more than prove this new stuff sounds the same, but provides proof there is a lack of feeling, truth, and common ground. As a musician, I play and write what I feel. And these pop artists in boots are doing a great disservice to country music by abandoning the very reason of it’s existence; to make others feel as you do the very moment you did when the song was written.
January 13, 2015 @ 3:08 am
How much money, favors, free shows, gifts, trips, vacations, drinks, inscencere butt kissing, visits on bus to kiss “artist’s” ass then for each to hate each other any other time, or do any of these costs reflect the fact that any of these are “everything that is soulless and wrong with country music” songs take to make #1??
January 13, 2015 @ 9:12 am
So many smart people on here. This is better than a college course on music/history/capitalism.
January 14, 2015 @ 10:21 am
Just wanted to point out that the YouTube video of the mashup has, as of last night, over 3.6 MILLION views! Wow.
January 14, 2015 @ 11:52 pm
Excellent article… your thoughts are right on! I keep having this conversation with my 15 year old daughter who pretty much sided with Blake Shelton when I flipped my lid over his GAC comments a year or so ago, but I had to send her a link to this article as my latest proof something is wrong wrong wrong with what kids today call country music… I told her call it whatever she wants, just don’t call it country.
January 15, 2015 @ 4:16 pm
I originally found this video through some more general “culture” site like Gawker or something, with a headline like, “All County Music Songs are Literally the Same!!!” Not being a country fan but having important procrastinating to do, I clicked the link and watched the video. And you know what? I REALLY LIKED it. To the point that I listened to all the original songs, and didn’t quite like them as much as the composite, but I did like them too. To the point that I googled some of the titles and artists, and found that a lot of results led here, usually in a very negative way. Take this with a grain of salt, because like I said, I’m not a country fan, but whether or not you like the direction these artists are taking country, they or their producers or somebody sure has earworm “catchiness” down to a science. I haven’t had this “song” out of my head since I heard it. AND I’M NOT A COUNTRY FAN!! Hate it or love it, that has to count for something, right?
January 15, 2015 @ 5:14 pm
I was just on Sir Mashalot’s site. He pulled the wool over our eyes! This is his Youtube post:
“I just want to be clear that this Mashup is all in good fun. I am not attempting to bash these songs, the artists, or country music in general. I understand and even appreciate why the “formula” continues to dominate the airwaves- not only in country music, but in pop and other genres as well. I simply enjoy mixing and producing on Pro Tools, and when I heard the striking similarities of these particular hits, I thought it would be fun to throw them all in a mix and see what I could come up with. And it looks like people are having fun with it too, so I couldn’t be happier!”
He played us for fools, and we all fell for it, thinking he was doing it to prove our point. He was doing the opposite!!
January 15, 2015 @ 5:25 pm
That message has been in the video’s description since shortly after I posted it, and I made reference to it in the above piece. There’s no wool pulling here, he’s a Nashville songwriter who doesn’t want to completely blackball himself from the industry. If you listen to the NPR interview, he explains it even more. He says he can’t deny the catchiness of the songs, but sees the similarities still as an issue.
January 31, 2015 @ 9:20 am
Can it be these songs have all been cloned from “Mendocino County Line”, which was a bit of a hit for Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack in 2002? Surely not my favourite Willie Nelson tune, but still worlds apart from all of the above. The mash is hell of a job. I’d love to play this on my next DJ-set, too funny!
March 2, 2015 @ 9:18 pm
good ear; very bad songs