A poop emoji is negative, a strike thru is positive. Total score below the chart.
The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (-22) overall which is an 11 point drop (!!) from July (the previous time we did this chart). The best song is Jelly Roll's "Son of a Sinner." (If I had a time machine and went back and told myself about this one in 2015, I'd think future me was on crack.) The worst is Russell Dickerson and Jake Scott's "She Likes It" followed closely by Dustin Lynch's "Party Mode." I thought we were supposedly in the midst of another great credibility scare...
Yeah, that Jelly Roll. The one we’ve made fun of before when running down stereotypes of hick-hop fans and artists. Mr. Roll, who’s mostly known for his country rapping, has been hiding (from those of us who haven’t actually listened to his music, his fans knew) a true talent: one hell of a soulful voice. He’s also a solid songwriter, co-writing this one with Ernest (of “Flower Shops”) and David Stevens. There isn’t a ton of new ground broken in these lyrics, but they’re moving enough, and real enough to be a definite standout on the country chart. But again, the thing is that Jelly Roll sings the hell out of this song, and it’s impressive.
Jimmie Allen - Down Home
There are several other songs on the charts I like more than this one that I could have included. It’s squarely in the pocket of the current pop-country sound-scape with its production and some of the cadence. However, it’s well sung, not overly bro-or-boyfriend-country, and I like the direction Jimmie is moving. This is just kind of an atta-boy I’m putting out into the world in hopes he’ll keep going toward a more organic sound. Allen has the talent and authenticity to move the needle. Neither a ‘change the channel’ song nor a guilty pleasure, it’s a song that shows promise and it’s catchy enough to tap your foot along to and not feel like you’re being overly pandered to.
Jackson Dean - Don't Come Lookin'
When this song first came out, I gave it a quick listen and liked it enough to put it on my “Mainstream Country That Doesn’t Suck” playlist. Then I forgot about it. I was sampling the country station a few weeks back and heard a swampy country rock song that sounded so different from what else they were playing I had to Google the lyrics and see who sang it. It was this song (duh, I’m old and forgetful). Anyway, this rocks, in a bluesy redneck kind of way. Sure, it’s a song about getting away from it all out in the country, but there are no bonfires, beers, hotties, or the typical fare of pop-country. Jackson leaves the specifics out for you to fill in yourself. You don’t have to be spoon-fed.
Russell Dickerson ft/Jake Scott - She Likes It
Russell has recently made comments about how he doesn’t like us. You know, us… the ones who want modern country to have some kind of ties to its roots. This song is just a big ole poke in the eye to let us know he was serious. He’s gonna take his music in whatever direction he pleases and call it country, and screw you boomers. Most of Russell’s music prior to this song has been potboiler boyfriend country with no particular personality, and he hasn’t sold many records. So this is what you do to sell records. It’s still boyfriend country; he’s just dialed up the pop influences to 10 to make it sound more hip. Because twang and traditional instruments don’t sell, right Tyler Childers and Cody Jinks? This is flat out terrible and I wouldn’t like it even if it was marketed as pop.
Dustin Lynch - Party Mode
The first time I heard this song, the first verse lulled me into thinking it might be a tolerable song. Then the chorus hit. It’s like the writers said “What if we made the verses kind of a throwback 90s/00s sound that pulls people in, and then throw a big pile of fresh dog shit in their face?” It’s so bad, the relatively decent verses can’t even pull the grade up. If you were driving with the windows down to the first 43 seconds of this song without ever having heard it, and stopped at a light when the chorus hit, you’d strain your shoulder reaching to turn it off or roll the window up before anyone nearby could hear you listening to that insipid, embarrassing dreck. Pretty sure Dustin is just aiming for Tik-Tok virality with this nonsense. You know, just like Hank would’ve done.
Chris Janson - Keys to the Country
This song is far more “country” than the other two selections above, but it’s a sub-genre you may remember with disgust: Bro-country. Yeah, it ain’t completely dead. I read the lyrics a few weeks ago before actually listening, and just rolled my eyes (as much as you can while reading something). Been there done that to infinity and beyond. Hearing it today for the first time was a slightly better experience, but affirmed the “bro country” label. Unlike a lot of the cookie cutter dude-bros, Chris has some real talent. Wish he’d show it off a bit more often, but when you’re trying to clamber up from C-list to B-list, I guess you have to make some concessions. Also “I ain’t got the key to the city, but I got the keys to the country” doesn’t hit as a hook the way they think it does… comes off flatter than Highway 61.(Note, there are several songs worse than this on the charts… looking at you Walker Hayes… but I wanted some variety on this post)
Brad Paisley fan Jerry Potenza just returned to the merchandise stand for a second Brad Paisley t-shirt. “It’s to hide the swamp ass,” laughed Potenza, happily shelling out another $38 for a 3 XL black shirt with our country guitar hero shredding on the front and tour dates on the back. His wife was in possession of his other identical but size large t-shirt as well as a yard tall margarita.
After purchasing the second overpriced shirt, Potenza slipped into the bathroom and changed into it from his too-short-to-hide-the-expanding-sweat-pool-on-the-ass-of-his-cargo-shorts Columbia fishing shirt. “Ah that’s better,” he exhaled. “Why they chose to have a concert outdoors in Mississippi in July is beyond me.”
With the thermometer still in the 80s and the humidity at 95% even at almost 9 PM, Potenza’s nether regions became a sauna and then a kiddie pool and then a reservoir of perspiration as he sat through openers Kameron Marlowe and Jimmie Allen. Now that he’s ready to stand up and shout along to songs like “I’m Gonna Miss Her” and “Online,” Jerry needs to be presentable to the people in the row behind him.
“I don’t know them from Adam… well, that lady may go to my church but anyway, I may never see those people again, but that’s no reason to display the grayish stain spreading across the back middle seam of my St. John’s Bay khaki cargos to them.” he explained.
Other concert goers reported similar issues as their pants, shorts, skirts, and jeans showed the clear signs of what happens when buttocks are in contact with seats in sweltering conditions. Many made the same trip to the merch booth as Jerry, but other less self conscious folks just let their moist freak flags fly. “It’s swamp ass for days,” laughed fellow show enjoyer Leslie Proctor. “Who cares? I’m druuuunnnnk.”
At press time, Potenza was experiencing another unfortunate heat-related issue as his man parts refused to unstick from his leg.
It’s hard to believe a song that starts out with a fiddle is actually a hit in this day and age. Pardi’s country, this song is country, what more do you need to know? It’s not exactly groundbreaking in the lyrical department, but it’s well written and at least copies all the good stuff. I’m really looking forward to his new album. Aside from “Heartache on the Dance Floor,” I’ve liked all Jon’s songs so far.
Runaway June - Buy My Own Drinks
What’s this? Women with a top 10 song? I’m sure some IHeartRadio analyst somewhere is counting this as 3 songs by women for their stats, since Runaway June has 3 members. The song: it’s propulsive, confident, and catchy. It’s also timely. I hope radio will give this group a fair shake on future singles as well; their underrated Blue Roses album has quite a few that deserve airplay.
Lady Antebellum - What If I Never Get Over You
Shut up. I know it’s not very country, and Lady Antebellum is usually reality-show scripted kiss background music at best, but this is pretty good …so leave me alone. It calls back to their early swoony ballads, and for me that’s not a bad thing. Lady A got off the rails a few years ago with unmemorable …uh, songs… I don’t even recall any of them enough to give a fair description, but this seems to be a pointed turn back to what they do best. And it’s a sad song! And there are real instruments! The bar is low these days, what can I say? The harmonies are beautiful though.
Chris Lane - I Don’t Know About You
It starts out bad and gets indescribably worse almost immediately. Heavy beats, R&B copycat vocal style, modern slang-y lyrics …but this is (air quotes) country y’all. While I listened to this to write a few words about it, I kept checking over my should to make sure nobody thought I was listening for my enjoyment. The chorus has lyrics nearly identical to several other pop-country songs, as I illustrated in a meme last month. Come to think of it, “country” songs are basically just memes now. Take a format and make slight changes to it and pass it around. As Public Enemy once poignantly asked “Who stole the soul?”
Jimmie Allen - Make Me Want To
Jimmie has some talent, and at least a smidgen of promise. However, this song fulfills no promise whatsoever. It employs snap-beats and paint-by-numbers lyrics for typical 2019 mainstream country radio fodder. It’s background music. The chorus has lyrics nearly identical to several other pop-country songs (including the one above), as I illustrated in a meme last month. Come to think of it, “country” songs are basically just memes now. Take a format and make slight changes to it and pass it around. As Public Enemy once poignantly asked “Who stole the soul?” This one’s catchier than Chris Lane’s nearly identical song and Jimmie has a better voice, so I’ll give it a
Luke Bryan - Knockin’ Boots
The good: Simple instrumentation, no clutter. The bad: Everything else. Who thought it was a good idea to bring back a bit of 90s slang that only stuck around for 3-4 years and a couple of hit songs from Candyman and H-Town, anyway? That’s wack yo. Circling back around to the simplicity of this song - the lyrics are also simple, but the definition of ‘simple’ that means stupid. I can’t stand repetitive nonsense… boots need knockin’, knockin’ boots… I feel stupid typing that, imagine singing it, imagine enjoying someone singing it.
A poop emoji is negative, a strike-thru is positive.
The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (-14) overall which is a 16 point rise from June (the last time we did this chart). After June's worst score of all time, this is heartening. The best song on the chart is Eric Church's "Desperate Man" The worst is Dylan Scott's pointless "Hooked." There are 2 solo women on the charts and one song by the female-led Sugarland.