Showing posts with label Maddie & Tae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maddie & Tae. Show all posts

Apr 5, 2022

Still More Worst Country Songs of the Last 4 Decades

By Bobby Peacock

I really didn't want to do this, because I feel that I've let negativity get the best of me lately. But I just found too many songs not to do a part three. This is the last one, I swear.


"Arab, Alabama" by Pinkard & Bowden

The only thing keeping me from also including "Libyan on a Jet Plane" is that I can only find a live version. This one's dated "jokes" about the PLO, Cubans hijacking planes, South Americans smuggling drugs, and Fidel Castro marrying "one of Loretta's sisters" read like a couple of racist hillbillies thumbing through the newspaper and riffing on everything they see. And that's before we get to them referring to Middle Easterners as "sheet heads"; a list of offensive stereotypes is just that. But what do you expect  from a couple buffoons who think that shoving the word "cock-sucking" into a song called "Censor Us" is a punchline? (And more importantly, how did one of these guys also write "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma?”)

"Everybody's Sweetheart" by Vince Gill

I hate to do this to Vince Gill. But that one line, "shoulda kept her barefoot / Barefoot and pregnant all the time"... yeah, that's some really ugly sexism. There is no way to deliver that line correctly, and I'm surprised it wasn't more controversial even in 1988. And it's a shame that I'm letting it come down to that, because the central idea on its own -- the conflict one feels in a relationship where both people are touring musicians (in this case, Janis Oliver of Sweethearts of the Rodeo) is a great idea for a song. But to actively wish disdain on your own spouse's career, and in such a crass, misogynstic fashion to boot? Thankfully he treated the same topic more tactfully with "The Radio". And I really can't see him saying anything like this about Amy Grant.

"I Loved 'em Every One" by T. G. Sheppard

After the "worst of the '80s" list dropped, I had a DJ e-mail me and thank me for including "War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)". He stated that he also dislikes how most T. G. Sheppard songs are "about getting laid" and I realized just how true this is. (His '70s songs, like "Devil in the Bottle", sound like a completely different artist.) Plowing through women like an allergy sufferer through Kleenex is bad enough when you're not even trying to assign any personality or emotion to them; outright admitting that not one, but several of them were prostitutes is just the added layer of squick. He may be hoping they had some fun, but I'm just hoping that everyone got tested for STIs.

"Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night" by Conway Twitty

Among an otherwise decent run of singles in the 80s, hampered only by some dubious cover songs ("The Rose"), we get him setting the stage for the chest-thumping boogie-country of Hank Jr. and the sleazy "drink beer with a hot girl in a truck" of bro-country. The only difference is since this is 1981, the music's on an 8-track instead. Conway's attempts at asides and breaking from meter only make the song sound more forced and drawn out than it needs to be -- not that the horribly-scanning lyrics ("I got a six-pack of longnecks in the trunk on ice / Ooh, but you sure look nice") do him any favors on this front. What a waste of the usually reliable Max D. Barnes and Troy Seals. Even "Tight Fittin' Jeans" manages to be a million times less sleazy.


"Better Than a Biscuit" by John Berry

For a long time, the three tracks off John Berry's two unreleased Capitol albums seemed to exist nowhere on the Internet. "The Stone" and "Over My Shoulder" are both good songs, but this one... oof. I'm not opposed to food songs -- hell, "Weird Al" Yankovic built a career on them -- but there has to be some thought put into them. While the production is looser than usual for him, it's wasted on some of the worst lyrics I've ever heard. "Somebody call the Colonel, she's finger-lickin' good" (dude, I don't want to know what she was doing to your fingers), "She'd make any turkey breast look like a can of Spam,” and let's not forget the hook: "she tasted better than a biscuit double-dunked in red eye gravy.” It reminds me of "Fancy Like" in just how blatantly un-dignified it is -- even if, unlike that song, it actually bothers to sound country.

"Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw

As my disdain for "Humble and Kind" showed, I'm not afraid to go after some of Tim's more beloved songs. Even when I was 7, I thought this was hackneyed. From the forced name-drops in the first verse (Jimmy Johnson and Tommy Thompson? Really?) to the robber at the movie theater to the now-grown woman dying in childbirth, the melodrama just gets thicker and more contrived as it strains to match the hook. "Same chorus, three meanings" is such a common country music trope that can be done well or badly like anything else, but the lengths to which this one stretches are far beyond my suspension of disbelief. His whiny vocal does nothing but prove how much more nuanced he'd get in the coming years. It's not hard to see why I can only find one other charted single for either writer...

"Genuine Rednecks" by David Lee Murphy

How is this is the same David Lee Murphy behind such thoughtful songs as "The Road You Leave Behind" and "Dust on the Bottle"? Even worse is how blatantly he's ripping off his own "Party Crowd"; while that one had the setup of a likable everyman just wanting to ease his broken heart, this one lacks any semblance of setup other than "I want to party". There's an annoyingly judgmental tone to lines like "if you don't like them, you won't like me" and "where I do belong, it don't come with a crystal chandelier", combining with an overdone fake twang. It's not hard to see why this brought his singing career to a screeching halt, and it's only worse in hindsight when you follow the trail from this to his worst co-write by far, Josh Thompson's "Way Out Here.”

"The Man Song" by Sean Morey

My dad used to listen to The Bob & Tom Show when I was young. This was my first exposure to awkward foul-mouthed male comedian-singers whose work has mostly aged poorly, such as Tim Wilson (who, incidentally, co-wrote the aforementioned "Arab, Alabama"). From that same mold comes Sean Morey, who doesn't even really bother with the whole "singing" part. Instead, he recites rote non-jokes about a henpecked husband ("I wear the pants around here... when I'm finished with your laundry") that, even by 1998, seem extremely outdated, sexist, and not funny. But what do you expect from a man whose idea of a Christmas song is racist stereotypes, and whose apparent comedic pinnacle is called "The Hairy Ass Song?”


"Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey's Song)" by Buddy Jewell

While the curiosity of a child is only natural, this song goes off the rails fast. No kid that isn't in the comic strip The Family Circus is going to think that the Milky Way Galaxy is literally a candy bar, or that angels "pour out the rain". (What you believe about Heaven is ultimately up to you, but I think most people -- even kids -- know that it's not just a visit.) And of course, this doe-eyed naïveté moves the narrator to pull over, cry, and pray about meeting Jesus, all while recounting the situation in a schmaltzy "la da dee" croon. Again, you can believe whatever you want as long as it's not harmful, because it's turtles all the way down the line. But this is the kind of over-the-top contrived schmaltz that doesn't even belong in a PureFlix movie.

"I Don't Know What She Said" by Blaine Larsen

I admit that I never cared for Blaine Larsen. Most of his songs (I'll give him "How Do You Get That Lonely") felt as if others were forcing this suave Southern gentleman style onto him against his will. But the only one that actively annoyed me was this one. Thankfully it isn't overtly racist like "Illegals" or "This Ain't Mexico,” and it at least bothers to get the Spanish mostly correct (outside a couple jokey lines like "señor blah blah blah blah"). But it still has a smug, condescending, and borderline creepy tone toward the attractive Mexican woman. It's hard not to read this as a horny 20-year-old trying to get laid. And cringeworthy "no one actually says that" lines like "J.Lo had nothing on her" don't help, either.

"I Got My Game On" by Trace Adkins

Most of Trace Adkins' novelties didn't bother me much. I'm not gonna say that "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” "Swing,” or "Ladies Love Country Boys" are good, but they at least seem like plausible everyman scenarios. This is just a rich cocky asshole bragging about his Cadillac, platinum credit card, Armani suit, and alligator boots, not to mention all the tail he's getting. Exactly what part of this is supposed to be entertaining or even relatable to anyone not among the elite? Maybe it catered to the people who would later watch him on The Apprentice. But for those of us who want no part of testosterone-fueled power fantasies, I'm just left wondering why he was so anxious to withdraw "I Wanna Feel Something" for new music if this is what he had to offer.

"I'll Walk" by Bucky Covington

This one almost feels like a parody of the old "use the chorus in three scenarios" trick. How do they go from having a fight on prom night, to her getting hit by a drunk driver, to him suddenly turning around any marrying her? The setup is so contrived, not to mention downright manipulative by dismissively framing the woman in the song as the vehicle for a horribly predictable outcome. There's no other emotion -- no guilt on his part, no anger on either of theirs. "The Walk" by Sawyer Brown was a million times better at recontextualizing different "walks" between two people, and "The Impossible" by Joe Nichols a million times better at handling someone overcoming a handicap.

"Lost" by Faith Hill

Faith's bombastic country pop diva shtick was never my cup of tea outside "Cry,” and it was pretty passé by 2003. While Fireflies relegated the bombast to the deep cuts and went with an okay-to-great batch of singles, I guess she just had to get one last awful power ballad out of her. (I would expect no less out of a "hit factory" style songwriter such as Kara DioGuardi.) There's no semblance of originality to be found in this already outdated and sterile approach: "if it's a dream, don't wake me up,” "with me everywhere I am,” "can't believe we've come this far" are all belted to the rafters as if they're the most important truisms in the world when they're barely good enough to even put in a Hallmark card. At least "Red Umbrella", love it or hate it, had flavor.

"Maybe She'll Get Lonely" by Jack Ingram

This one came out at the same time as Lee Brice's "Happy Endings,” another song in which the narrator hopes that his ex will have a change of heart. A lot of songs have done it, and maybe if there weren't a much better take on the same premise out at almost exactly the same time... nah, this one would still be just about the least amount of imagination given to this premise. Screen door, kicking up dust, praying, turn that wheel around, love her/need her/can't live without her, too far gone -- there isn't a single original or interesting line that has even the tiniest bit of personality. There's barely even setup, and the hook is just weak-willed at best. This was around the same time that Pat Green was getting all of his edges sanded off in a failed attempt at going more "mainstream,” and for both him and Ingram, the results were just pitiful pandering that pleased nobody.

"Nothing Catches Jesus by Surprise" by John Michael Montgomery

What... is this song? One of the last credits for Waylon Jennings before his death, the first major misfire for Tom Douglas, and the first song that inspired me to write a part three to this list. Each couplet is just baffling in how random it is:"Catching Babe Ruth, catching Roger Maris / The way you caught my eye in Paris, Tennessee.” Every line afterward seems to be at least trying to aim at a parallel between worldly contradictions and an unlikely marriage working out, but misses its mark by a country mile. And what does Jesus have to do with any of it? How is any of this mishmash suggesting that anyone is trying to catch Jesus by surprise?

"The Obscenity Prayer (Give It to Me)" by Rodney Crowell

What a step down from his best song "Earthbound.” The "satire,” if you can call it that, is of a rich right-wing douchebag who wants a hot wife, a good body, booze, etc. -- but doesn't want to work for it. And it's delivered with no sense of subtlety, irony, or humor. Line after line is on-the-nose to the point of cringe: "I despise all bleeding hearts / I don't patronize the arts.” "You're tryin' to get me to show some compassion / Man, that's so outta fashion.” "The Dixie Chicks can kiss my ass / But I still need that backstage pass.” The song just drones on and on, long after it's made its thuddingly obvious point. I really hated to do this to the usually very talented and smart Rodney, but thankfully this and the equally navel-gazing "Sex and Gasoline" were the only missteps of his entire career.

"Redneck Anthem" by Ty England

Highways & Dance Halls seemed to finally mature Ty England after two mediocre hat-act albums, so how did he end up backsliding this hard? Sounding far weaker than ever, he plows through some of the worst redneck clichés on the planet in a manner that makes his previous groaner "Redneck Son" sound like Merle Haggard in comparison. He crams the phrase "jacked up" twice in the first verse alone, then lists off such things as sleeveless shirts, aggressive jingoism, "mow our lawn with a billy goat," guns, daddy, Skoal, NASCAR, and even a name-drop of Larry the Cable Guy's "git-r-done" catch phrase. The album leans into this caricature all the more with "The NRA Song,” "Stick to Your Guns,” and "Texans Hold 'Em.” I think even Jeff Foxworthy would tell this guy he's making rednecks look bad.

"Tail on the Tailgate" by Neal McCoy

You can hate "The Shake,” but ultimately I find that one too goofy to be bothersome. This, on the other hand, does not get a free pass. This guy gets a beat up old truck from his brother, who points out the one thing I don't want to know: "hey, I fucked a lot of women in this truck.” At that point, the only reaction should be "eww!" But instead, this sleazy little pervert takes the truck and does exactly the same thing with an already cliché party in the woods. While he tries to dismiss it with a "that ain't what you're thinkin'", how else am I even supposed to interpret that hook? It's fitting that this was an early Rodney Clawson co-write, because it fits right in with all the bro-country songs he'd later write.

"Whistlin' Dixie" by Randy Houser

Having "Dixie" in the title isn't even a concern when at least half the lyrics are a billion times worse. Let's start with "learn how to talk straight, not back / Or my little white butt get a whippin'" for some parenting as horrible as the grammar. Add to the pile shotguns, naked Southern women, drugs, and food, and then scream it over an overly-loud mishmash of guitars, and the result is headache-inducing on so many levels. At least "I'm All About It" seemed more lighthearted, but it's not hard to see why his second album got delayed. Thankfully, the downward slide from the very good "Anything Goes" would later be reversed in favor of the much better "Like a Cowboy" and "What Whiskey Does.”


"Fly" by Maddie & Tae

Hey, look, another motivational cliché song with a nonsensical hook. I thought we stopped doing those in 2002. "You can learn to fly on the way down" is not an inspiring image. If you're falling, it's too fast for you to suddenly learn how to fly; instead, you're just gonna face-plant into the ground. And now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's count off the clichés: "heart's a mess,” "find a way to make it,” "keep on climbing" (wait, weren't we just flying? Why are we now climbing?), "we've come this far,” "more to this than just the breath you're breathing.” While the song does sound less processed than others like it, that's not saying much when the lyrics are this bad. And why does it randomly shift from third to second person halfway through?

"High Class" by Eric Paslay

This song sounds like if "Uptown Funk" shat itself. As he tries to come off as the country boy who's still "street" enough to crash even the ritziest of parties, Eric Paslay does nothing but embarrass himself. What the hell does "Cadi up that Lac" even mean? Is he listening to the Lacs in his Cadillac? (The closed captioning on the official YouTube upload says it's "cattle up this 'Lac", which makes even less sense.) Not to mention the zero copula (that's the technical term for omitting verbs, as in "tonight we high class") that tiptoes dangerously close to "white person using AAVE". Add in the most forced name-drop of Justin Timberlake since "I'm a Saint,” and the result proves that you can't spell "high class" without "ass.”

"Hope You Get Lonely Tonight" by Cole Swindell

If I were to rank songs for "worst production choices,” this would be neck and neck with "Bob That Head.” The loud-ass drum machine that sounds like driving over rumble strips, the overdriven muddy guitars, and Cold and Rainy's wallpaper-paste voice all combine into sound (but no fury), signifying nothing. Maybe better production and a different vocalist might make this at least tolerable -- actually, no, it'd still be about drinking and kissing on a tailgate, drunk late-night sexting, and two white-trash doofuses screwing. So yeah, Michael Carter, I think you're off the hook with this one. Cole, however, can just go back to being the Save-a-Lot brand mayo that he is.


HARDY really started off on the wrong foot. I ended up hating this song so much that I also hated "ONE BEER" entirely by proxy until I finally analyzed it on its own merits. I get that he's at least trying to deconstruct the "list off redneck clichés" trope by one-upping them, but just like "The Worst Country Song of All Time" (which he also had a hand in), just doing the thing you're riffing on louder isn't the same as subverting it. And there is literally no reason for any song to include a lyric as gross as "I piss where I want.” Just like most Joey Moi productions, this one is all processed guitar and Auto-Tune. HARDY has had a few flashes of brilliance on there, but he started off so thoroughly on the wrong foot that I almost dismissed his entire career by proxy.

"The Rest of Our Life" by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

I'm gonna be honest: I've never liked most Tim and Faith collabs because I find their vocal styles too dissimilar. And it's especially bad here, because Tim is way out of his range, straining and shaking to catch up to Faith's bellowing (especially on the chorus). And I can tell that Ed Sheeran wrote this, because it has his whimper-y sweet little nothings all over it. Other than jarringly out-of-place names for their kids (which has zero buildup, by the way) and somehow working in the word "waistline" (seriously, not even "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Fat" did that), it's just a bunch of mushy platitudes with no narrative connection. This just sounds like an even more embarrassing "Shape of You" clone.

"Honey Jack" by 17 Memphis

The intro to this, which sounds like a vaporwave remix of Kiiara's "Gold,” is probably the worst way to start out a song since "Bob That Head.” Then come the trap snares, played on quite possibly the same broken-as-fuck drum machine used on "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight.” Underneath this extremely ugly interior are laughably juvenile lyrics that take on backroads, whiskey, trucks, phones, etc. Both members of the duo actually have decent voices and there is some chemistry on the recording, but it's hard to tell with the farting synths, jackhammer drum machines, and Auto-Tune doing everything to drown them out. It's easy to see why these two didn't go anywhere.

"21" by Hunter Hayes

When your song's hook is "gonna party like we just turned 21" and you still sound like you're in kindergarten, what other reaction should I even have? I legitimately laughed out loud the first time I heard this. I want to like Hunter Hayes because of his child prodigy nature, but for the most part, his discography has leaned way too far into Disney Channel-esque teeny-bopper fluff for me to care. "Wanted" pissed me off by being extremely stale and one-dimensional, but this one annoys me for the opposite reason. It calls for an edge that Hunter just does not have. His musical image was already too squeaky-clean, and the song is just too lethargic for lyrics about "going crazy". This just sounds like a slower version of Rascal Flatts' "Summer Nights,” which itself is just an only slightly-less-bad rewrite of Hot Chelle Rae's "Tonight, Tonight.” And you know what they say about copies of copies.

"You Look Good" by Lady Antebellum

No, this isn't about the naming controversy. However, that whole scenario did make me reassess this duly lamentable group who does almost nothing but blandly emulate the worst of cheesy soft rock. Charles is as stuffy as ever, Hillary is as pitchy as ever; put them together, and you're just mixing two different bottles of warm water. Even with the horn section behind them, these two are just way too bland to even begin to convey the flash of spending New Year's in a penthouse or head-turning dudes in black jeans and shades. This is less outwardly offensive than Eric Paslay's attempts to crash upscale big-city parties, but it's almost more embarrassing in just how out of place they seem. (Fun fact: both "duly lamentable" and "blandly emulate" are anagrams of "Lady Antebellum.”) 

Aug 26, 2021

College Football Country Reaction Gifs

When somebody says Oklahoma makes just as good country music as Texas does

The end zone is Walker Hayes songs

Life with you makes perfect sense

Hey, you wanna listen to the new Dan + Shay album?

When they play Luke Bryan over the public address system

♫ It's been a good year for the roses 

When a 90s country song comes on and you realize it’s the dance remix

Back when BJ Barham was a bit heavier but just as wild a Wolfpack fan

Aug 20, 2020

The Current Poop of Mainstream Country Radio: August 2020

A poop emoji is negative. A strike-thru is positive.

The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (-9) overall which is a 15 point drop from May (the previous time we did this chart). Not too surprising, since summer on country radio is for mindless beer truck boyfriend songs. The worst song is Florida-Georgia Line’s “I Love My Country” being slightly worse than Kane Brown’s “Cool Again.” The best song is Maddie & Tae’s “Die From a Broken Heart,” which finally hit number 1 after forever on the chart.

Chart info from Mediabase/Country Aircheck.

May 8, 2020

The Current Poop of Mainstream Country Radio: May 2020

A poop emoji is negative. A strike-thru is positive.

The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (6) overall which is a 25(!!) point improvement from December (the previous time we did this chart). I wouldn’t say the country chart is more country these days, but the quality has improved by leaps and bounds. There’s more depth. There are more women. The worst song is Florida-Georgia Line’s “I Love My Country.” The best song is Maddie & Tae’s “Die From a Broken Heart,” which has been on the charts for …ever, it seems.

Chart info from Mediabase/Country Aircheck.

Sep 2, 2016

Country Fantasy Football Team Names 2016

This is the last weekend for fantasy football drafts before the NFL season starts next week. 
Here are some ridiculous and punny, if not funny, country music related names you could 
use for fantasy teams. Or add your own in the comments!

Are You Sure Peyton Done It This Way?

Band of Broncos

Odell Where Art Thou

Gurley in a Country Song

Rollerskating Buffalo Herd

Gronk on a Plane

Real Men Love Jameis

Jordy On My Mind

Beatin' Philly and Kickin' Ass

Different for Cowboys

Manning Doesn't Play Anymore

Devonta Wanna Tonight

Dez He Love You

Me and Bobby Griffin III

A Good Year for DeAndre

Finally Sunday

Better as Amari

Quaker City Seahawks

Dak Where I Come From

Le'Veon on a Jet Plane

Oct 22, 2015

Carl Outlaw, Real Country Fan, Reviews Maddie & Tae "Shut Up & Fish"

Trailer likes these girls for some reason and so do a bunch of other wusses who want to give any singer with real instruments a pass and say their alot closer to real country then other stuff on POPCUNTRY radio. Who cares? Do you want a cookie for not rapping in you're damn song?

I never liked Maddy & Tay, never will. They suck. I don't care if they sang a song making fun of "bros," it was all for the money. They do not deserve any thought. At the end of the day there still shitty pop country. The only chicks singing real country now is NOBODY. Take your Kacey Musgrove and your Ashly Monrow and shove em up your ass with Taylor Swift as far as I'm concerned. They ain't never drove a big rig or worked a tug or plowed a row, so don't talk to me about them bein' country. Loretta Lin was the last real woman country singer cause she raised a mess of kids in a shack and whooped her husband's ass all the time.

Now, lets get into this song. LOL right. As if I'm listening to this. It's called "Shut Up and Fish" so you know its some corny bullshit from the title alone. Brad Paislay called, girls, he wants his career of making dumbass joke songs in to big hits back. Ya'll so-called bloggers and critics just get bent all out of shape over some girls singing with a tiny little drawl and being cute and whatnot. It's a smoke screen and a smoke show. Their hot, nobodies denying that. But that and $1.29 will buy you a Steel Reserve to wash the thought of this crappy song out of you're mind!

It just goes to show you my great taste in country music. I have never heard of Luke Bryan before this month. I don't know what that has to do with this song; theres just a nagging in the back of my brain to say that every day if I have the chance. 

Anyway, somebody call me when Maddey and Taye grab a washboard and a jug and get real. And I don't mean start a jug band, I mean wash my clothes and bring me a drink, LOL. Keep it country!

Aug 28, 2015

Jan 15, 2015

It's Hard Out Here for a Bro

Hard Out Here for a Bro
©2015 FTM Satire

Since the bloggers started killing fun
I can't call girls a hottie
All I can say's she's my favorite one
With a physically fit body
And the label says we drink too much
So turn up Coca Cola
As I drive my eco-friendly truck
Can't tell her to slide it over

It's hard out here for a bro
They won't let me sing about hoes
Can't do the stanky legg on my tailgate
Can only turn the party up about halfway
It's hard out here for a bro

Maddie & Tae have been throwing shade
And old ass singers hatin'
Sayin' all I do is drink and get laid
Well duh, ain't it great man?
But here I am driving legal speeds
With no chains on my wallet
Liberals out here killin' my dreams
Maybe I'll go back to college

It's hard out here for a bro
Tides are turning on Music Row
Can't crack a cold one in my Chevrolet
Can only turn the party up about halfway
It's hard out here for a bro

I miss getting turnt
Things are changing so fast
I miss Ed Hardy, I miss swaying ass

It's hard out here for a bro
They won't let me sing about hoes
Can't do the Shmoney dance on my tailgate
Can only turn the party up about halfway
It's hard out here for a bro

Dec 9, 2014

Three Up Three Down: December '14

3 Up

Maddie & Tae - Girl in a Country Song
This is both a good song and a culturally significant song. Rarely do those two things equal a popular song, but here we are with it sitting at #1 on the Mediabase charts and others. Are listeners grinning a little and moving on to the next booty-on-a-tailgate song or nodding their heads in acknowledgement? It's hard to know right now, but I suppose we'll see in time. The fact that these thoughts about sexism and clichés in country music are now out there beyond FTM's constant complaining and the occasional newspaper website think-piece is a good start. The fact that Maddie and Tae have proven on their recent EP to be more than the vehicle for what some surely consider a novelty song is even more favorable. Fingers crossed.

Eric Church - Talladega
Eric Church does nostalgia better than anyone on the charts right now because he starts with the personal and makes it sound universal, while everyone else seems to be taking the opposite approach. "Talledega" sounds like a big ol' yeehaw, NASCAR loving anthem if you just pay attention to the high points, but it's really a small story wrapped in a big idea. The chorus might call on everybody to sing along and it may beg for sponsorship opportunities, but the verses actually make you miss the fun and friends from that trip you may or may not have ever even made to watch cars turn left. It's wistful and epic and everything this kind of song should be.

Jake Owen - What We Ain't Got
Co-written by Travis Meadows and Travis Jerome Goff, "What We Ain't Got" is a powerful ballad about never being satisfied with with one's situation, possessions and relationships. It's a simple longing that falls into several categories of the Christian concept of sin, but one that no one is immune to. Jake Owen spoke of this song as a harbinger of change and he wasn't over-hyping it. The song opens Owen's field of view and enlivens the possibilities for his future work being more varied and deeper than flip-flops, summer flings and tan lines. It's also great for country radio, since its frequent play forces dunderhead bro's to listen to something with actual artistic merit and positive moral implications. Jake's vocal talent and commercial momentum combined with a truly great song make this a release of considerable importance.

3 Down

Parmalee - Close Your Eyes
They rhyme "hotter" with "water." That's enough to disqualify this song from being anything I'd ever listen to on purpose, but worse than that, "Close Your Eyes" is a color-by-numbers. bro-country lite song created specifically to be airplay filler. And now, it's top 10 airplay filler. The emperor has no clothes and nobody gives a shit. Sing familiar words with a familiar melody that fits into the current sonic model and don't make anybody think negative thoughts and you've got a hit. Well done, Parmalee, former rock band who couldn't hack it without switching genres to take advantage of country radio's doldrums. Take a bow.

Scotty McCreery - Feelin' It
I've said it before: Scotty McCreery has a fantastic country voice. Much like his vocal doppelganger, Josh Turner, he's struggled to find material that both fits his rich delivery and the whims of commercial country music. He's done it with this track - if by "done it" I mean, focused entirely on the whims portion of that last sentence. Not that he sounds bad singing this craptacular song, it's just that any minuscule thread of artistic quality is foregone for a steady run up Bob Kingsley's countdown. How bad is this song? Well, Ray-Bans are rayin' and cut-offs are cuttin', whatever those two statements mean. The build to the chorus is basically saying "here, I will continue to sing you this song about how we are enjoying chilling in the sun and drinking beverages." The chorus is basically saying "We are greatly enjoying chilling in the sun and drinking beverages." Then he rhymes "hotter" with "water" and you already know my disdain for that sort of thing. This song can take its "glossin' lip gloss" and kiss my ass; it's completely embarrassing and pathetic. Scotty, if you're going to use your gift to unleash tripe like this upon the world, I'd rather you go back and give minor league baseball a shot. "Screwball's screwin', catcher's chewin'…."

Florida-Georgia Line - Sun Daze
I'm sure I've already said enough about this one with memes and whatnot, but hey, it still sucks. While I did actually like "Dirt," I'm starting to think these guys are just lowering the bar with nearly every single to make their mediocre work sound like classics. "Sun Daze" is stupid, derivative, artless, and is only catchy in the way that kidnapping sometimes brings about Stockholm syndrome. FGL's previous low-water mark was "This is How We Roll." That song was at least interesting with its obvious critic trolling slang and attitude. This song is just spectacularly awful and further proof that you can never underestimate the taste of the American public.


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