Showing posts with label Gwyneth Paltrow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gwyneth Paltrow. Show all posts

Dec 27, 2011

Worst Country Singles of 2011

Click the songs titles to listen, if you dare.

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.

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. 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.

Apr 26, 2011

Snap Judgments: Promo Only Country Radio May 2011

May means nearly summer, and you know what that means. Country music puts on its flip-flops and cutoffs and gets into recycling (themes and sounds). And let me level with you: I'm finding it harder and harder to trifle with this bullsh*t month after month. I hope you appreciate the depths of despair, tedium and annoyance I go through to bring this review to you semi-monthly. The more I do it, the further I feel my mind slipping into some black pit of insanity. No "A's" and no "F's" this go round, just a lot of mediocrity. Here we go! (click the song titles to listen)

Steve Azar - Hard Road
Steve continues on his laid back bluesy path, banking on the success of the similar sounding "Sunshine" for this to be his new groove. I love the fact that he's gone with a more organic sound that compliments his true upbringing. It's not your everyday Clearchannel material and for that, Steve deserves kudos. All that said, this is not overly engaging, and the nonsensical "ahhooof" sounds he makes repeatedly on this track border on water torture.

Walker Hayes - Why Wait for Summer?
I know, right? Why wait for Summer to start pissing me off with summer songs? Listen: Being a gainfully employed 36 year old living in the deep south, I hate summer. It's hot as Rosie O'Donnell's armpit so I sweat a lot and my car wants to overheat every day and I don't get off work, I have to mow weekly and gas prices rise, and …well, you get the point. I'll stop ranting. This song is about having fun, despite it not actually being summer. They plan to fool the general country-music-buying-public into singing along from May through July because it has the word "summer" in it. Who knows if it will work? I'm not the target demographic. All I know is I don't want to hear this anymore.

Martina McBride - Teenage Daughters
…in which she admits drinking and being old. Not old, necessarily, but older than either Reba or her boobs would ever confess being. This is a catchy pop-country tune that tackles the difficulties of parenthood and sentimentalism towards the teen years in one heartfelt swoop. Pretty good tune.

Frankie Ballard - A Buncha Girls
Take last year's summer misfires, throw in a few different key words, please the female demographic and here's your result. Blah.

Ashley Gearing - Five More Minutes
Carrie Underwood redux. In fact, I thought it was her at first. Good voice, but she needs to find her own personality. The vocals, the theme, the pop-country arrangement…down to the letter, this is Carrie 2.

Sunny, easy-rolling country-pop. There's an obvious concerted attempt to sound more country for the guy-girl group this time out… fiddle, acoustics, even some steel, but the song itself is lacking. There's very little substance, nor is there much of a lyrical hook. Their harmonies are supposed to pull up the slack, but it's not happening.

Greg Templeton - I Could Be the One
I could be the one to fall asleep listening to this. His voice is reminiscent of Dierks Bentley's, but this tune is reminiscent of every other potboiler I've ever heard on one of these comps. Dull as a butter knife.

Bradley Gaskin - Mr. Bartender
Travis Tritt reincarnated. What? Oh. I just haven't seen him around. Well, uh… he sounds a lot like Travis. Decent neo-traditional song. It's probably too drink-centric to be a big hit though.

The Janedear Girls - Shotgun Girls
Another summer song. Surprised? I guess it's catchy. Lovely harmonies... or whatever. Willie and Merle just got mentioned. Somebody put a steel toe boot into my backside. There are two songs that mention "dashboard drumming" on this compilation. Just FYI. Make it stop.

Heidi Newfield - Stay Up Late
Here's the latest track from former Trick Pony lead singer, Heidi Newfield. She doesn't want to go out on the town, she just wants to stay home and listen to Darius Rucker's "Alright" and drink wine and eat spaghetti and do it all night. You know? This is honestly better than most of the rest of stuff on this promo. It's got a Bonnie Raitt feel to it. The hook is nice (go to bed early and stay up late). What the heck…

River Road - Good Things
Surprise, surprise… another decent song. It's a story song about a couple who marries early, births early and yada yada. Another decent hook (sometimes good things come to those who can't wait). It's got a laid back 90s feel to it. Nothing new, but it stands above most of this drivel.

Little Big Town - The Reason Why
I'd like to know the reason why I keep downloading these things. I actually don't hate Little Big Town, but this sounds like Gloriana, who I do hate. High school vocal choir schlock. Of course the vocals and harmonies are spot on, but that's eye shadow on a goat (lipstick on a pig was too easy).

Kenny Chesney - Live a Little
Kenny's got enough goodwill built up among fans and radio to throw out a true clunker now and then. Here it is, in its "perfect for mom to roll down the windows and sing along to while taking kids to baseball and ballet" glory (?). (s)Hit-bound for sure. (Update - It's already hit #1... so why's it on the May comp???)

Tim McGraw & Gwyneth Paltrow - Me and Tennessee
I use up way too many derogatory terms and put-downs in these Promo Only reviews. They're bound and determined to run me out of snark, one month at a time. Gwyn's voice isn't that bad really. This song's pretty freakin' annoying though. The refrain of "together we're singing, forever we're singing" is nails on a chalkboard bad. I'll just go back to an old favorite retort: This sucks.

Billy Ray Cyrus reincar…. never mind. He sounds a lot like the king of mullets for sure though. I think some of my blogging compadres dig this. Not sure I do. MOR country rock. Background music.

Eden's Edge - Amen
Snap judgment before it starts, based on their name: girl/guy vocal choral group. Ooh, nice vocals. A little twang even. Not much soul once the chorus hits. Note to singers: if you ask for an "amen," you gotta have a little grit in your voice like you just ate collard greens. A lot of potential in this group and the song… but sadly unrealized. I was wrong with my pre-judgment, it's a girl group… and lead vocalist girl needs to hit a few blues dives before singing her next song with gospel overtones. Too honky for this honky.

Solemn opening. Wow, there's actually some melody in the chorus. It's pretty moving to the part of my soul that hasn't grown dark yet. They remind me of Emerson Drive a little. Strings now. This is the part where tears are supposed to well up in the corners of my hazel blue eyes. Nope, didn't happen. Not a bad song overall. Pop country with a little more heart than I'm used to from that sub-genre.

Johnny Patton - Phone in Heaven
Bringing up the rear…good morning Jesus, can I talk to mama? This guy sounds a little like The Possum. The arrangement even sounds like 80's Jones with a little more slickness. Stone country for the Taylor Swift generation. He doesn't have the chops of George (who does?), but if he did, and he cut loose a little more on the chorus, this might garner a higher grade than…

Mar 30, 2011

Top 10 Things Going Through Atlantic Records Execs Minds When They Signed Gwyneth Paltrow to a Country Record Deal

10. Cha-ching!

09. She won't require as much Autotune as Rebecca Black, anyway.

08. Homina homina homina

07. Maybe she can get me her husband's autograph!

06. Where did I leave my damn keys?

05. Well, we'll save on the photo touchups for the album art.

04. Geez, it's not like she sings as bad as Bob Dylan.

03. When it doesn't sell, we'll claim anti-Liberal actress bias.

02. Crack cocaine

01. Crystal methamphetamine


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