Showing posts with label Bobby Peacock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Peacock. Show all posts

Dec 23, 2020

Worst Songs of 2020: Bobby's Take

By Bobby Peacock


15. "Lonely If You Are" by Chase Rice

While far from his worst set of lyrics (I doubt he'll ever make anything worse than "Ready Set Roll"), it's just another generic, uninteresting booty-call where the only other ingredient I really have to work with is the unlikable person singing it. And that alone causes me to read a lyric like "the show your girls all come over for" as more misogynistic than I probably should. So maybe if someone else were singing this, you might find "Big, Big Plans", "Cool Again", or "Beers and Sunshine" in this slot instead. But as long as Chase Rice continues to be Chase Rice, I will continue to make room for him on worst-of lists.


14. "I Love My Country" by Florida Georgia Line

Good news: the mixing isn't quite as bad and the Auto-Tune is a lot less prevalent. (It really says something when switching to Corey Crowder is an improvement.) Bad news: it's still an annoyingly pandering country-pride anthem that brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Sure, it's not the worst thing they've ever released lyrically. But FGL's been running on fumes for a while, and between this and "Long Live", I don't think that "'Round Here' but with less overproduction" is going to be anywhere close enough to reverse their downward slide or even endear them to the non-fans.


13. "I Wish Grandpas Never Died" by Riley Green

I wish that interesting ideas weren't wasted on lazy, pandering list songs. I could pick apart every entry on this list, but the anachronistic conservatism of the first verse (divorce doesn't exist, respect your elders, blah blah blah) probably rubbed me the wrongest way. I'd much rather hear a story about the grandpa in question and why the narrator wishes that he never died -- in other words, I'd much rather hear Randy Travis' "He Walked on Water". (Okay, that one's about a great-grandfather. Close enough.) The sincere vocals and country-sounding production are the only elements keeping me from moving this song any higher.


12. "Bluebird" by Miranda Lambert

One of my least favorite tropes is when songs string a bunch of metaphors or similes together without a narrative theme. And boy, does this one have it bad: pages turned, digging for treasure (and somehow switching to records halfway through), wildcards, lemonade... pick a topic and stay with it, already! And what do bluebirds have to do with the rest of the song? (It's apparently an homage to an obscure poem. Never would have guessed, especially since that just comes the fuck out of nowhere.) Finally, what the hell does "turn twenty cents into a ten...rhyme a dime 'til it all makes sense" even mean, other than "this song is a total mess"? (A well-sung mess, but a mess nonetheless.)


11. "Kinfolks" by Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt doesn't usually grate on me because, as flagrantly un-country as he is, most of his songs are at least competent. The first one that I actively disliked was "Body Like a Back Road", and the second one is this. He has literally just met this girl, and he already wants to drag her back to his family like a cat dragging a dead mouse to its owner. Yes, sometimes you really do find the right one on the first try. But come on, don't you think you're rushing? Maybe it's just a stylistic thing or the lingering stink of "Back Road", but he seems less like he's found an instant match and more like he's just rushing to get his dick wet as fast as possible.


10. "Momma's House" by Dustin Lynch

Dustin Lynch continues to baffle me. "Cowboys and Angels" promised twang, but ever since, he's just been the clean channel to Jason Aldean's overdrive. While not his worst lyrically, where this song fails for me is in the overbearingly mechanical overly auto-tuned talk-singing (at least he used real drums this time), combined with the vastly dissonant hook. Okay, what about your momma? How does she even factor into this? Nope, it doesn't matter, I'm already bringing up more about the breakup. Maybe if the song sounded better, or maybe if it came from another artist who at least has some semblance of effort in his work, I wouldn't be quite as hard on the clashing tone.


9. "God Whispered Your Name" by Keith Urban

Probably the best-produced song on this list. I love the sound of Hammond organ and Wurlitzer electric piano, and after the pop bombast of his past few albums, it's nice to hear Keith Urban with fewer layers. What I don't love is motivational and/or religious clichés, and boy does this song have them in spades. "Bear the cross". "Being saved". "See the sunshine". "Baptized". "Warmth of your smile". "Amazing grace". I honestly do want to like this song because of how pleasant it sounds, but the faults of the lyrics are just way too strong for me not to notice them.


8. "One Margarita" by Luke Bryan

As of this writing, Luke Bryan is a 44-year-old married man with two children. So his hyper-fixation on alcohol-infused spring break parties makes him feel immature and stunted. The weird vocal processing on the chorus is just about the only thing that gives this increasingly tired formula any semblance of life. Is it tone-deaf in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, though? On the one hand, it was written long before then and I can see the argument that it's just escapism. On the other hand, the kind of people who would use this song as escapism are likely the kind to hold giant parties with no concern for social distancing...


7. "Nobody but You" by Blake Shelton feat. Gwen Stefani

Blake didn't seem to mesh with Miranda, and he really doesn't seem to mesh with the Hollaback Girl. Maybe it's the overbearing wall-of-sound production (I'm not a Scott Hendricks fan, but this is seriously the worst I've ever heard out of him). Maybe it's the extremely unoriginal lines such as "I don't wanna live without you, I don't wanna even breathe". Maybe it's Blake's delivery, which sounds strained on the high notes and completely phoned in on the rest. Maybe it's the utter lack of chemistry between him and Gwen. Whatever the case, I do wanna go down any other road just to get away from this nonsense.


6. "We Back" by Jason Aldean

Aldean has been on autopilot for so long that his last four albums have barely even registered for me. This song is just the same formula for what feels like the hundredth time: big minor-key power chords, soaring chorus, references to good ol' boys and girls drinkin' beer and blaring AC/DC (sorry, Trailer, I just can't get into them at all). Hell, even the references to speakers and obligatory omission of verbs to sound "cool" were recycled from the equally forgettable "Lights Come On". He does still have decent songs in him ("Any Ol' Barstool", "Drowns the Whiskey"), so his continued formulaic pandering is just eyerolling.


5. "Good Time" by Niko Moon

This one doesn't piss me off quite as much as it did Trailer. I will admit it does have quite a lot against it: generic party-in-the-woods lyrics that can't even come up with a decent hook; paper-thin vocals that say "I got a record deal entirely because I wrote a few songs that happened to be hits for someone else"; trap snares for days; and me wondering what the hell kind of mind control this guy has over Zac Brown that he was so able to thoroughly ruin what used to be one of the brightest spots on mainstream radio. At least Niko knows what an acoustic guitar is...


4. "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" by Upchurch feat. Katie Noel

Trailer put this one on his list so I had to check it out. And it charted, so now I have to include it too. Yay. Where do I even begin? I mean, I know what to expect from Upchurch from all of my coworkers who think that blaring hick-hop while drinking White Claw gives them street cred. But who is Katie Noel? Oh yeah, she's some Z-list auto-tuned trap-snare nobody. Put the two together, add probably the first-ever name drop of Justin freakin' Moore, the eight billionth "hey girl" hook this decade, and token references to cars and nights, and you have an unlistenably bad mess that makes "Take Back Home Girl" sound like "Golden Ring".


3. "10,000 Hours" by Dan + Shay feat. Justin Bieber

Considering how thoroughly I thrashed this in the "Worst of the 2010s" list, I bet you're surprised this is only #3, huh? Well, spoilers: the #2 and #1 songs didn't exist yet when I made that list. I already eviscerated this excessively lovey-dovey, emasculating, calculated piece of garbage last year when I made that list, and my opinion has not changed. Dan + Shay are still nauseatingly uber-romantics who can't get through a single sentence without gushing about their wives, and Justin Bieber is... well, he's still Justin Bieber. Say what you will about "I Should Probably Go to Bed"; at least it's about something else besides being all doe-eyed over your woman.


2. "More Than My Hometown" by Morgan Wallen

I don't get Morgan Wallen. All of his other songs just go in one ear and out the other for me, so at least this one got a reaction. Being an old-fashioned homeboy is not in and of itself a bad thing. But this song's hook just reads as rude and dismissive. Maybe it wouldn't chafe as much if he gave at least some kind of well wishes to the girl he's leaving behind, or even some detail as to why his hometown is so vastly important to him. (And I'm not saying that just because my own hometown went to pot long before I left it...) But as it stands, he just seems like a cranky old man far too stubborn to get with the times. And he probably still isn't wearing a mask.


1. "Dicked Down in Dallas" by Trey Lewis

It's hard to do vulgar humor right, especially in musical form. However, this one fails to deliver on the "humor" part. There's hardly even a setup; just "She left me", and then it jumps into a list of sex acts that all happen to begin with the same letter as a random Southern city. I'm coarse and vulgar enough to ghost-write an entire Bob Saget standup routine, so I'm not pissed off because Trey said "butt-fucked"; I'm pissed off because saying "butt-fucked" with zero context is not a punchline. Combine that with the fact that the premise is nothing but slut-shaming -- just about the last thing a country song should be about post-Saladgate -- and this becomes the last-minute worst country song of 2020 in my book.

Oct 6, 2020

The Kentucky Headhunters: Top 10 Songs


By Bobby “Ten Pound Hammer” Peacock

The first album I ever owned was Pickin' on Nashville by the Kentucky Headhunters. After a long time having forgotten about them outside that album, a chance encounter with "Louisianna CoCo" on the radio in 2000 inspired me to go back and buy all of their other albums to that point. Through this, I found that they had made lots of mostly good music in that time frame. Then I kept finding new albums of theirs at Walmart, and was thrilled to find that they were still making good music. I keep up with their music to this day, and have even had some correspondence with them (they even helped me improve their Wikipedia article!). In short, if you want to know anything about a fine Southern rock band that most people only know for one song, then I'm your man. By far the hardest part was narrowing this list down to ten!

10. Lonely Nights
One of the true tests of a rock group is their ability to carry a ballad. And the Headhunters prove more than able on this one. Lyrics like "Lord have mercy on this broken heart / And forgive her for tearing me apart" may seem direct on paper, but Doug Phelps sings them with absolute conviction. And the instrumentation -- including not only the powerful rhythm section provided by Fred Young and Anthony Kenney, but also the horns and Hammond organ prominent on the corresponding album -- just enhance the mood even more.

9. My Daddy Was a Milkman
I think I'm partial to this song because it was the endcap to Pickin' on Nashville and always gave me that sense of finality. But it's also a damn fine song in its own right. A mostly straightforward guitar groove underlines a story you've probably heard before -- the husband is off to war, so the wife cheats on him with the milkman. But then two more details twist the story even further: the husband stayed in Vietnam with a woman he dated there, while the narrator, the sole heir to his dad's milk company, is now fabulously wealthy. It's a testament to their unconventional and humorous storytelling.

8. Chug-a-Lug
I've been a longtime fan of Roger Miller, and apparently so have they. Their take keeps all of the goofy charm of his tales of underage drinking -- even the scatting! -- and adds to it their distinct country-rock energy. They also have the advantage of actually being old enough to convey the story credibly, but still feisty enough to keep you interested and entertained. The Heads were no strangers to cover songs, and this song -- itself the centerpiece of a covers album -- is a testament to their ear for covers that are distinct and enjoyable.

7. Louisianna CoCo
As I mentioned in the intro, I heard this song once on the radio late at night and couldn't believe what I had just heard -- the Kentucky Headhunters? With a new song? I was immediately so taken by the novelty that I rushed to buy the album at Kmart, and I'm glad I did. Though unknown to me at the time, this was rhythm guitarist Richard Young's first turn on lead vocals, and he makes an exceptional first impression. His low growl and Doug's high howl combine with a maddeningly catchy guitar riff and a few unusual references (it's not often that you hear marijuana called "left-handed cigarettes") to make this far, far more than just your average "rock song about a hot girl."

6. Dry-Land Fish
As part of my "Louisianna CoCo"-driven reintroduction, I found this gem on the very same album. The only song to feature drummer Dale Gribble... I mean, Fred Young on lead vocals, it matches his goofy delivery perfectly to its laid-back, pseudo-psychedelic tales of incense, Led Zeppelin albums, and magic mushrooms. No, not those kind. The kind sung about in this song are morels, a perfectly edible strain and a childhood favorite. And this song is every bit as rootsy and tasty as the mushroom in question. 

5. Diane
Yet another off-kilter story. You'd think it'd end when he reveals that Diane's dumped him for another man, but instead, the story continues with the narrator being robbed (which fails because Diane took everything he had), and goes even further with him contemplating suicide in his living room. The dark, moody groove, especially the ringing end chords and even a gong, are just further proof of their ability to find something different and run with it. This is probably one of their furthest ventures away from country-rock, but they more than have the chops to pull it off.

4. Everyday People
The opening track on the aforementioned Soul finds the Headhunters with their only featured vocalist to date (outside two full-on collab albums with Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson); namely, Louisville-based R&B singer Robbie Bartlett. Open-ended but timely observations like "The workin' man just can't win / No one's on his side" are sung by Doug with unbridled passion and sincerity, and Bartlett matches her own soulful, gritty tone flawlessly to the content. Some fine drumming and a layer of Hammond organ certainly don't hurt in elevating this fine working-man anthem.

3. Dumas Walker
Even if you don't know who the eponymous Dumas Walker was (for the record, a marbles champion who owned a convenience store that the Headhunters frequented in their youth), it's that distinct detail that adds to the often-used country trope of just having a good time with your friends. And it's probably for that reason that this one is such a cornerstone of '90s country playlists in spite of its low chart peak -- it's just a damn good country party song with an infectious energy that still holds up 30+ years later. Also, I've actually had Ski (a local brand of citrus-flavored pop), and just like the Headhunters themselves, it's a local favorite that I want more to discover.

2. Crazy Jim
Another in the ever-increasing number of songs sung by Richard, this one tells of an eccentric man who was not loved by the community, but still "was from a land where they never learned to hate". One of his eccentricities was handing out rocks to people as a reminder of being rich in spirit, not in money. The portrayal of this unusual yet angelic character is touching enough on its own, but when you realize that "Crazy Jim" was Richard and Fred Young's own father, who died shortly before the album's release, that's when the absolute emotion in Richard's grainy voice really hits you.

1. Great Acoustics
I always cap these lists off with odd picks, don't I? But there's just something about this song that seems to hit all of the band's strengths at once. A gentle memorable melody with a soaring chorus. Martin's impeccably sharp, bluesy guitar tone. The warmer, yet no less gritty soft end of Doug's vocal range. Subtle flourishes of mandolin and Hammond organ that slot seamlessly into the punchy Southern rock surroundings. But best of all is the revelation that the narrator's woman is cheating on him with another woman, and it's treated no differently than if it were just another man. It's just that one little extra touch that turns this song from merely great to outstanding, and makes this the kind of song that I would love to see find a wider audience.

Honorable mentions: Dixie Lullaby, Jukebox Full of Blues, Big Mexican Dinner, Skip a Rope, Jessico, Take These Chains from My Heart, Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line... I could go on

Feb 13, 2020

Top 10 Eddy Raven Songs



By Bobby “Ten Pound Hammer” Peacock

A while back, I mentioned a few Eddy Raven songs on Twitter, and Trailer admitted unfamiliarity with most of his catalog. Having just done enough research on Eddy Raven to have gotten his Wikipedia article ranked as a "Good Article" (thanks to his wife, Sheila, for her help!), I put together this top ten list.

10. "I Got Mexico"

If you know an Eddy Raven song at all, it's probably this one. It seems to be the one I hear most on classic-country formats. And for good reason: its carefree, "get away from it all" theme about escaping your broken heart with a trip to Mexico is quite hard to resist. It's a perfect fit for Raven's Caribbean-Cajun sound and gently rolling delivery, and it's hard not to see why this was his first #1 hit.

9. "Operator, Operator"

A cover song twice over. Co-writer Larry Willoughby (Rodney Crowell's cousin) and the Oak Ridge Boys both cut in 1983: the former as the lead single for a little-known Atlantic album, and the latter as the B-side of "Love Song." While Larry's version has a similarly laid-back vibe, Raven escalates the song with a Caribbean-influenced production that somehow manages not to clash with the theme of trying to call her up and apologize. I especially like the end, where the chorus continues underneath him as he shouts at the operator.

8. "Right Hand Man"

Although Raven didn't write this one, it still shows his attraction to exceptional lyrics. The connection between being a woman's "right-hand man" and then getting dumped for someone who puts a ring on the left hand -- sure, it may have been done before, but it's just such a natural transition into the line "don't let your right hand know what your left hand's doing." The jangly, acoustic guitar-driven production really adds to the simple but effective story of getting dumped for another guy.

7. "Joe Knows How to Live"

All of Joe's coworkers are jealous of his trip to Mexico, which Joe himself sums up in a laid-back carpe diem observation: "Women are made to love / Money is made to spend / Life is something, buddy / You will never live again". Raven's spoken-word ad-libs at the end help further the tone ("Think Joe's wife knows about that yet?"), and his laid-back delivery fits the song far better than the original Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version. I wonder if this was intended to be a perspective-flip of sorts to "I Got Mexico?"

6. "I'm Gonna Get You"

The obligatory Dennis Linde pick. I'm a sucker for a good accordion song, and a song about playfully stalking your lover (a common theme for many Linde songs -- remember "What'll You Do About Me?"). Yet another song originally cut by another artist -- Billy Swan, whose version just sounds like "I Can Help" with an accordion -- this one feels like a natural fit for Raven, who brings more energy and flavor to the proceedings without stripping the lightheartedness away.

5. "Dealin' with the Devil"

Yes, a lot of country music songs have done this exact same trope: finding the right woman has finally saved a wayward man from his cheatin' ways. But this one shines with its alliterations ("dancin' with those demons," "dealin' with the devil") and its delightful Merle Haggard-esque vibe (to the point that Merle himself actually cut the song a few years later), it was clear even before his major-label days that Raven had a knack for songcraft.

4. "I Could Use Another You"

Maybe it's those jaunty "no no no’s,” but there's just something I really like about this song from a melodic and production standpoint. It really lends an upbeat, maybe even optimistic air to the song's central theme. He's broken up because she left, and wants to reclaim those same good feelings from the past. Simple on paper, but just like so many of his songs, the individual elements -- sharp lyrics like "now that we're through, I could use another you," the catchy melody, and Raven's voice -- really elevate the material.

3. "Island"

Raven's last top-40 hit before the "Class of '89" flattened him and his peers, and a great song to go out on. The underlying sailing metaphor is extremely well-done ("I might sail forever and never find that island again"), leading to some creative references such as the Southern Cross. The moody production and Raven's emotive voice are given plenty of room here, allowing for a very distinct song. It kind of reminds me of an even better take on the already exceptional "Second Wind" by Darryl Worley.

2. "Who Do You Know in California"

Even at this early point in his career, Raven showed an unusual way with lyrics. Uncommon phrases like "hiding behind the morning paper" and "trying to find a real good answer, one that wasn't too absurd" set the tone for a man who's been outed in an affair after the mistress calls. (Raven said that this song was inspired by a story he had heard from a fan.) Even more interestingly, the song never resolves the scenario, a move that certainly helps the replay value: does he ever answer her question? How does she react?

1. "Sooner or Later"

A bit of an oddball pick, I'm sure. But last year, I heard this song on Prime Country for the first time probably since I was 3, and I could immediately remember everything. Nostalgia aside, I just love everything about this song: that incredibly catchy synth riff, quite possibly the only country song to use an orchestra hit (outside the dance mix of "Boot Scootin' Boogie"), and more "playfully stalking" lyrics courtesy of the ever-underrated Bill LaBounty ("Either way, honey, you're gonna be mine / If it's got to be later, then how about later tonight?"). This song just has so many ingredients that make me feel happy every time I listen.

Honorable mentions: "Bayou Boys," "You're Never Too Old for Young Love," "Peace of Mind"

Jan 31, 2020

Worst Country Songs of the 90s


By Bobby Peacock a.k.a. TenPoundHammer


With its cheesy "dog" metaphors beaten into oblivion (including "throw me a bone" twice) and its off-key shouted vocals, this one is just painful to listen to. Orville Reddenbacher has made product less corny than this. (Fun fact: One of the writers of this song has no other entries on BMI.)

"Black Velvet" by Robin Lee
I actually liked this song until I heard the original by Alannah Myles. Then I realized that Robin Lee's version is just a cheap karaoke knockoff with none of Myles' smoldering passion. Why didn't Atlantic Records just release Myles' version to country radio instead of this version that's watered down to the point of losing all its flavor?

"Breathe" by Faith Hill
Overwrought, overplayed pop sludge without any flavor, country or pop. I was never the biggest Faith Hill fan, but this is the point where she pretty much lost me for good. Literally the only good thing to come of this was my favorite Cledus T. Judd parody, the absolutely hilarious "Breath."


"Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle
Another bombastic, strident CCM entry with an overly saccharine set of father-daughter lyrics. What makes this even worse is that, while Carlisle's version is utterly unlistenable, the Raybon brothers somehow managed to salvage it by the strength of Marty Raybon's voice alone. Can you believe this is the same guy who wrote "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That?"

"Daddy's Little Girl" by Kippi Brannon
Not bombastic, not strident, not CCM, but still overly saccharine father-daughter lyrics. This song has one of the most disjointed meter and rhyme schemes imaginable. Even its timeline is off -- it jumps from little girl to wedding, then back to teenager. At least Kippi had a good voice, but she just never really managed to match it with anything worthwhile.

"Dancin', Shaggin' on the Boulevard" by Alabama
Overly repetitive melody that goes nowhere. Verses that are too damn long. Excessive name-dropping at the expense of a story. The whole album proved that Alabama can't pull off any soulfulness whatsoever (okay, "Sad Lookin' Moon" was good). If you want this song done right, just listen to "Tar Top."

I took "American Boy" by Eddie Rabbitt off this list because I felt it was sincere enough. This, on the other hand, is just a clueless right-wing anthem shouting at Saddam without knowing what he's talking about ("take your poison gas, stick it in your sassafras"?!). I feel that this laid the ground work for all the MURICA songs that came out after 9/11. It's basically the "Iraq and Roll" of the 1990s, except easier to find.

"Don't Laugh at Me" by Mark Wills
One of the frontrunners in the late 90s-early noughties "Chicken Soup for the Soul" movement. Saccharine and manipulative as all get out, this song did nothing but infuriate me even then with how over-the-top it was. And I was "a little boy with glasses / the one they call the geek" at the time it was released.

"Easy as 1, 2, 3" by The Spurs
Never heard of this one, huh? Well, it got to Top 20 in Canada. Literally the only place you can listen to it is the lead singer's Soundcloud ( https://soundcloud.com/user-897794179  ). Cheap bar-band sound, clashy and off-key lead vocals, dopey lyrics, and a husband-and-wife duo that nobody remembers. I get why CanCon laws exist, but man did they turn up some stinkers now and then.

"Forever Love" by Reba McEntire
Reba tries to get her Celine Dion on and misses big time. That's really all I can say, because every time I listen to this song, I forget it again about 10 seconds later.

"Holes in the Floor of Heaven" by Steve Wariner
Another song with a saccharine metaphor that's easy to, forgive the pun, poke holes in. If there are holes in the floor of Heaven, does that mean the angels will be constantly falling through the holes and crash-landing back on Earth? Why do the writers of these kinds of songs never think their metaphors through?

"How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes or Trisha Yearwood
Just like any other Diane Warren song, this is just cliché after cliché. How do I live, how do I breathe, I can't go on without you, blah blah blah, I've heard this exact song 600 times before. Unlike "Butterfly Kisses" above, I feel that neither singer is able to rescue the material in any way and both versions just come across as flat and dull.

"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Mark Chesnutt
The one exception to the Diane Warren rule is "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith, because come on, it's freaking Aerosmith. But giving a hard-rock song to a honky-tonker like Mark Chesnutt is one of the most mismatched cover songs this side of the Oak Ridge Boys doing "Seven Nation Army." Chesnutt sounds uncomfortable and heavily Auto-Tuned, and just plain doesn't work. And to his credit, he admits this was a mistake.

My 2000s list has a lot of Martina-bashing, I know. This one I hate for the opposite reasons: her twee, childish lisp (supposedly based off how the demo singer sang it) is unbearably cutesy, and actually makes me wish this song had been a belt-fest for a change. Also, if your hook is just "baby, I love you", you might wanna try just a little harder.

"I Will Stand by You" by Corbin/Hanner
Corbin/Hanner's "Work Song" is one of my favorite lost treasures of the 90s. But this is just a syrupy and uninspired pop love ballad that sounds like a very, very poor-man's Bryan Adams. I guess I should have expected some cheese from one of the guys who wrote "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good", but man was this ever a letdown after something so enjoyable as "Work Song."

"It's Your Love" by Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
Yet another cheesy, boring, cliché love ballad the likes of which propagated in this era. As the song that celebrated their marriage, I never understood why it was just a backing vocal and not a full-fledged duet. That at least might have given it some dynamic, but instead it just feels dull, with no spark whatsoever in the lyrics or performance.

"Kiss the Girl" by Little Texas
I like The Little Mermaid. I like the songs from The Little Mermaid. I even like Little Texas. But doing such a lifeless and dull take on such a colorful and catchy song? No thanks. I suppose it could have been worse: they could have tried to mimic Sebastian the crab's accent...

"Love Can Build a Bridge" by The Judds
That cheesy, overwrought metaphor (walk all the way across the desert to give someone a crumb of bread) sets the bombastic and hyperbolic overtones for the rest of the song. (Also, how do you "whisper love so loudly"? After a certain volume level, it's not whispering anymore.) Didn't we leave this kind of overly cheery feelgood cheese back in the 70s?

"Mama's Little Baby Loves Me" by Sawyer Brown
Sawyer Brown at their most insipid. Take the obvious mama's little baby/daddy's little girl tropes and do nothing with them except establish that mama's little baby loves you. (Also, danger/saving is not a rhyme.) I gotta give credit where credit is due: I thank god that Mac McAnally discovered these guys and salvaged them.

Damn it, Bob Carlisle, I didn't want you to be on here twice. But yeah, he came up with this doofy joke of a song full of good ol' boy tropes. Daddy works the farm, Mama works the Dairy Queen, the narrator wears a Stetson and kissed Mary Lou Macadoo behind the barn. Oh, and let's not forget that pitiful hook, "I'm a redneck son of a redneck son." Just another one of the dregs of the "hat act" era.

"Romeo" by Dolly Parton and Friends
Not one, but four women slobbering hornily over Billy Ray Cyrus. How did Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis, and Mary Chapin Carpenter -- three women who rarely if ever went for the cheese factor -- get roped into this? It's actually quite hilarious in how God-awful it is.

"Somebody Slap Me" by John Anderson
A runner-up to Miss Oklahoma who likes chili and does her own plumbing, huh? Could you get any more cartoonishly corny? This was the last single written by the legendary Bob McDill, and the last top-40 hit for John Anderson to date. What a way for both to go out.

Ray Stevens is one of my childhood favorites. But this is just flat-out offensive: it uses the Oriental riff, women singing "ah so", and the "Japanese mix up L's and R's" pronunciation to drive home an over-the-top message about the influx of Japanese content in the US in the early 90s. It all seems too straightforward to be satirical, and judging from his political material in the 21st century, I fear there may actually be a racist old man under the comedic exterior.

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