May 16, 2012
Dec 27, 2011
Click the songs titles to listen, if you dare.
10. Tyler Farr - That's What They're Bitin' On
This is what happens when ball cap sporting posers like Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert rule the roost in Nashville. Copycats. Sure, Tyler may have been around just as long as those two, but he didn't get a push till now, so it's all about record execs seeing dollar signs. When the first line mentions a "turned around camouflage trucker ball cap," you know what to expect from there. Tricked out tractors, Stetson cologne, fishing metaphors, city-girls-gone-country… it's all there. Oh, loud guitars too, but that's a given… it is a country song after all.
9. Justin Moore - Bait a Hook
I thought Justin had turned a corner when he introduced his new album with the solid "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away," but the rest of the album proved to be an entire collection of laundry list "how damn country I am" songs. And this one… I can't believe it hasn't come under critical fire for it's unspoken implication that a girly-drink-swilling, sushi-eating, Prius-driving boyfriend is more likely a closeted homosexual than a man deserving of the gal's love. If every man who can't skin a buck was unworthy of a female's partnership, I'd be out of a marriage y'all. And who the hell doesn't know who Jack Daniels is? The sissy boy this song is aimed at, that's who.
8. Trace Adkins - Brown Chicken Brown Cow
This porn joke turned country song turned puppet porn video served to cement Trace Adkins as the most scattershot artist working the top 40 these days. Trace has put out several songs in the past decade I'd name as my favorite commercial country tunes of the era. He's also put out at least 6 that are so indescribably bad, it's hard to see how they didn't top the country charts. It's not the hay loft love-making that makes this so bad - it's the terrible pun hook and the perverted farm animals who fight each other to get the closest view of the corn shucking. Even Trace knew this song was terrible, he pulled it from release to be spared the shame of the song not even cracking (huh huh, I said cracking) the top 30.
7. Big & Rich - Fake I.D.
Admittedly, I didn't hate Big & Rich's first album. It's over-the-top dumb fun and attempts to be nothing more. Since then, B&R have obviously struggled to recapture that juvenile attitude and hormone-filled energy to no avail. "Fake ID" proves their most awkward attempt at reconnecting with their youth. Think Travis Tritt flaming out with that awful "Girls Gone Wild" song a few years ago, or Clint Black uncomfortably parading around on the beach in a sleeveless T-shirt and jorts on the "Summer's Comin'" video. Kenny Chesney is the only older artist who can get away with that crap. This song has no weight whatsoever, no good hook, no interesting story, no soul. It's just a foolhardy attempt to get back on the radio with a lowest common denominator-aimed song that's more contrived than it is fun. Who wants to hear a thirty-something and a forty-something singing about trying to score fake ID's? It just doesn't make sense.
6. Tim McGraw & Gwyneth Paltrow - Me and Tennessee
The most annoying track on this countdown - "together we're singing/forever we're singing" goes the cringe-inducing chorus. Gwyneth isn't terrible, but her voice would be more suited to Colbie Calliat style singer-songwriter pop, rather than country. Ack, there's that chorus again - followed by some "yeah yeah yeah's" like they didn't know what else to fill the awkward space with. Awful. Damn near unlistenable. Yeah yeah yeah yeah.
5. Sawyer Brown - Smokin' Hot Wife
Sawyer Brown has now channeled the cheesy energy they once used to select their wardrobes into their music. The Bellamy Brothers-meets-Jimmy Buffett breezy island tune only tries to mine the popularity of similar Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown songs from recent years, but it adds nothing to the dopey lyrics. I suppose it might be okay for a 20-40 something artist to have a song by this title, but when it's from the 53 year old Mark Miller, it's just kinda creepy.
4. Colt Ford - Country Thang
From my review earlier this year:
"Country Thang" is YET ANOTHER listing song about, well, country thangs. And among thangs that Ford would like you to know are fixtures for the rural set are misspelelingllings (see song title) and uncorrect grammar, because "that's how we does it" down here! We also does it barefoot and crazy while the tin roof sings. We live in the pines in a shotgun shack with a high-priced huntin' dog baying around back. I bet you'll never guess what our women-folk wear. Yep, cutoff jeans. Apparently, in some necks of the south, women's clothing stores sell ONLY cutoffs, tight jeans, bikinis and short skirts. I wish.
Hey Colt, you sure you weren't better at golf?
3. Robin Meade - Dirty Laundry
The hottie-news anchor releases her first country single (because the world needed another star gone country) and it knowingly references her day job. Unfortunately that's the only thing remotely interesting about this cover of Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry." The soulless Muzik Mafia-lite background music sounds like something she bought from a show choir karaoke website. Her vocals are tolerable, but nothing that should have made her think she could make it in a world of Carrie Underwoods and Miranda Lamberts. The chorus is grating as hell. I'm not surprised this didn't even make a ripple, even in the age of lowered-standards Nashville. Putrid.
2. Luke Bryan - Country Girl (Shake it For Me)
I was starting to come around to Luke Bryan. He's clearly got some vocal talent. Some of his songs are pretty darn country-sounding. His cheesy-charm even got me to tolerate the dopey "Rain is a Good Thing."
Whatever good will Luke had built up with me was completely spent (and he went into debt) with "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)." This despicably dunderheaded dance-country crapfest exhorted his girl to shake her posterior for the catfish, squirrels, rednecks, flowers, trees, CMT execs… whoever. It rehashes every Nashville cliché we hated the first fifteen times. CowboyLyrics.com claims this to be one of the song's lyrics: "with a gattle in her Bud to get a little wild." I'm pretty sure that's not right, but even a nonsense lyrics like that couldn't pull the IQ of this song any lower.
1. Kristen Chenoweth - I Want Somebody (Bitch About)
From my review earlier this year:
From the first word out of her mouth, you know the next three minutes won't better your life experience. By midway through the first verse (if you're still around), you're convinced you can write a better song with the local Montgomery Gentry cover band. By the chorus, you're feeling a growing sense that your organs are banding together to overthrow your mind for letting things go this far. By the end of the chorus, you're ready to jump into a Slayer mosh pit and leave the whole adrenaline and whiskey charged bunch lying in a pool of their own blood and broken limbs. If you make it to the end, you hate your ears. Or you're a blogger.
This one takes the cake as the worst country single of 2011. And it's not even close.
Notably left off the list: Toby Keith - Red Solo Cup; Brantley Gilbert - Country Must Be Country Wide; Jason Aldean - Dirt Road Anthem.
These songs, to varying degrees, at least had something worthy about them… don't get me wrong, I hate all three for different reasons, but "Dirt Road Anthem" is damn catchy, regardless of its lasting damage to the genre. "Country Must Be Country Wide" at least 'sounds' better than anything in my bottom 10. "Red Solo Cup" teeters on the edge between big-stupid-fun and just-plain-stupid for me, and some of the lyrics are lovably idiotic. I have a soft spot for intentionally moronic lyrics.
Aug 14, 2011
In this edition of Promo Only Country Radio, it has finally happened. There's almost nothing here that actually qualifies as country, in my book. There's pop, there's hair metal-esque power balladry, there's rap. We've already reached the mono-genre that Triggerman at Saving Country Music talks about all the time. Sad, but true.
Click song titles to listen.
Hard to listen to any of her songs without bias now. Sure, she's no Chris Brown, but her name still carries some baggage. This is an inspirational pop tune, a la what she used to put out a lot (huh huh huh - you said "put out a lot") after "Blue." She's in fine voice here. It's not a bad song, probably good enough to return Leann to the upper realms of the charts. Not something I plan to listen to again, but it won't make me change radio stations.
I like his voice. First time I've actually heard it. This is a power ballad. Poison with a twang. I like it in a guilty pleasure sort of way but I can't, in good conscience, give a really high rating to a non-country song released as a country song.
Steve's settled into this groove of earnest songs that don't have much spark, but do carry plenty of honesty. This is a non-flag-waving tune about a soldier returning from, presumably, the Middle East, and hoping to ease back into real life. It's very strong lyrically. There's an unspoken fear underlying the narrative that maybe his family doesn't need him as much as he needs them right now and that's heartbreaking. Good stuff, maybe a little too down-tempo to be a big hit but who knows?
More pop country. Not grabbing me at all. Yawn. Bouncy and uplifting I guess, but I wasn't paying much attention. That's what country radio is counting on!
I've heard this song many times, so this isn't a snap judgment. Cost of Livin' is an awesome song, far and away the best commercial country single of 2011, possibly the best in recent years. If you don't like it, I don't like you. If it doesn't reach the top 5, I'm done with country radio, other than making fun of it. This is a signature song of our times.
A double-entendre stretched into a 3 minute country song. It is country, so there's that going for it. Going down, rod in her hand, pretty pink bobbers... yeah this is about fishing. Quite honestly, this is as dirty as anything 2 Live Crew ever put out... and your kids will be singing along to it. Disconcerting in my book. Kinda catchy but I can't get behind this at all.
Yep, still the worst thing I've heard in recent memory. Insert humorous comparison to feces here: _____ See this review.
This has a different feel to it, more organic than most of what's on the radio. It reminds me a little of "Lover, Lover" a little, but more uptempo. If country must stray from its roots, I suppose this is an acceptable road to take.
You want to know why there are hardly any females on the country charts? Because EVERYTHING new that comes out sounds just like this. Girls, quit following... we need some leaders.
Idol's runner-up delivers a "mama" song much better than Idol alum superstar Carrie Underwood's recent one. Surprisingly, this is one of the few country-sounding songs on this collection. I think I hear fiddles somewhere in there. Good voice. Solid debut.
Speaking of Carrie... here's her latest, a soap opera-ready power ballad with former-neo-traditionalist Brad Paisley that ain't bad but ain't much. Huge hit that'll be all but forgotten a year from now.
It's sad when I was actually looking forward to this song to break up the monotony. Ugh. Not good. Colt still can't rap. The vocals are so strangely processed that it barely sounds like Craig Morgan singing the hook. Colt still can't rap. Did I already say that? This is the hick hop version of one of Eminem's songs about his daughter. Positives: nice message, country instrumentals. Negatives: everything else.
Taking a cue from Chris Young, Jerrod re-releases a single he already put out. In fact, I already reviewed it on one of these Promo Only write-ups. Happily, it has grown on me since the last time I reviewed it. Sadly, it's still not anything special.
I like Scotty's voice and the fact that he says he plans to "stay country," blending Conway and Merle into his modern sound gives me hope for him and the genre as a whole. However, his first one out of the gate is too cheesy for me to even listen to, much less enjoy. The fact that the hook is an unintended double-entendre for wang size is just embarrassing. 10 years ago, you'd have been labeled a perv for interpretting it that way but these days... with even news websites using dirty double-meaning headlines.. you have to be cognizant of every possible meaning, intended or not.
Already tanked, and for good reason. While I have a guilty desire for B&R to come back with something as shamefully catchy as "Ride a Horse," it's not looking likely. This is a lunk-headed piece of crap. Not clever, not catchy, not anything. I thought John Rich was a big time songwriter. You're only as good as your last hit. He's gonna be auctioning off Mt. Richmore bottle by bottle in no time at this rate. This is garbage.
Today is not your day, Shania. Boring. Nearly unlistenable inspirational dreck. I didn't expect anything remotely sounding like Tanya Tucker out of Ms. Twain, but this is ridiculous. Apparently Mutt Lange was the mad puppet-master behind Shania's success, because if this is any indication of what we might hear from her from this point on, she's done.
What more is there to say? I've run this song into the ground and still no one gave a shit. It hit number one like I knew it would. I'm done here.