Apr 17, 2012

3 Up, 3 Down

Here's the first of a new series to take the place of the "Promo Only Country Radio" reviews. Those had to go by the wayside due to me losing my, uh, "source" that provided me with those monthly compilations. Anyway, this'll be a monthly feature that picks out 3 songs I really like and 3 songs I really hate from the Top 40 chart.

3 UP
Alan Jackson - So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore
That this song still sits at #33 on the charts, weeks after its release, is another major indictment of country radio. This isn't the depressing real-life financial hardship tale of Ronnie Dunn's criminally overlooked "Cost of Livin'," this is a more accessible prototypical (though not assembly-line built or soulless) Alan Jackson ballad. Alan Jackson, the modern legend. Alan Jackson, one of the two remaining big-ticket country singers with any ties back to what country really is. It's a great tune that anyone can relate to, well-written and well-sung. What's the problem? I know he's pushing 55, but he's still relatively wrinkle-free and attractive (I know that's all you care about, despite you being a non-visual medium). Play it, country radio. Save whatever minuscule pieces of your soul you have left. A

Eric Church - Springsteen
Not very country. Way beyond name-dropping. A few clich├ęs here and there. I should hate this song, right? Maybe, but some songs just have "it." "Springsteen" has it-factor by the truckload. It's atmospheric, sincere and powerful. Eric has a career-defining single with this one. It's too far removed from steel-guitars and fiddles to be a country music classic, but without a doubt, it's a modern pop-country masterpiece. A

Eli Young Band - Even if it Breaks Your Heart
Not as good as the original by Will Hoge, but still far above most of what's charting these days. Anytime you can hear a well-performed song that doesn't mention trucks or bikini tops, you've got to call that a win. The Eli Young Band really knows its way around a catchy hook and they picked a great song to show off their chops. B+

Carrie Underwood - Good Girl
Loud, screechy, obnoxious, annoying. I can't think of any positive terms to use in describing this song, mostly because there aren't any positives. It's an overcooked Joan Jett meets pop-country song that's built - not created - strictly to grow awareness of Underwood's upcoming Blown Away release. This song meets the requirement of "earworm," but only because it beats you senseless over the head with the riffs and hook until it's lodged in your brain without your approval. D

Kip Moore - Somethin' Bout a Truck
This tries to come off as something other than a typical country listing song, but it's just a pig with different color lipstick. The nursery rhyme reminiscent chorus harkens back to The House that Jack Built in some ways, and that's as clever as the song gets. If all Nashville's songwriters are doing these days is finding new ways to say the same shit, it's time for a sea-change. They truly need a reality check. D

Kenny Chesney w/Tim McGraw - Feel Like a Rock Star
If you don't see/hear anything wrong here, you're part of the problem. This is the sound of two of the elder statesmen of pop-country having, if not a mid-life crisis, at least a mid-life bad day. This is the musical equivalent of a 43 year-old sagging his pants and donning a flat brim cap. Maybe, maybe, if this song had come out ten years ago, it wouldn't bother me much, but since it's part of a trend towards the push of country towards cock-rock, it's not cool with me. Not just that, but it's a lunk-headedly overt song. Even Brantley Gilbert wouldn't be this obvious. I know it's just meant to be a fun duet that builds up excitement for the Chesney/McGraw tour, but they could have done something fun that still had the tiniest filament of a thread tied to actual country music. D-


  1. Yah, I'm not the only one who has the whole mid-life whatever feeling from the Tim/Kenny duet. What a waste of something that could've truly been great.

    Also, that was the first honest review of Carrie's single I've seen. I agree with every single word.

  2. I definitely agree with everything here and, like Jonathan, am glad to see a negative review of "Good Girl", because while it's catchy, I can't get over the fact that she's done it all before while being (a little more) country. Some parts of the song sound cool, but others terrible and it's just too loud overall.

    As for the Tim/Kenny duet, I've always thought of both of them, particularly Kenny to be hugely overrated, as they both bring out a great song every few years and a decent song in between some real tripe. This duet is just lame.

    I'm looking forward to Jackson's new album though. Still many bright spots :)

  3. Could NOT agree more. Read this: http://thearroganttexan.blogspot.com/2012/03/kip-moores-super-country-country-song.html

  4. in the kenny clip, he is playing guitar at the beginning and there is clearly no guitar in the song at that point