Friday, March 28, 2014

In which I go on a rant about country music

Luke Bryan has a great voice, and he earned a lot of good will for the almost raw and very poignant "Drink a Beer" -- but he has squandered all of it on this monstrosity "This Is How We Roll." It's far, far worse than either "Country Girl" or "Drunk on You." He's not even pretending anymore; there's no even a pretense of country or content left! It's like he wanted to take that Zac Brown comment about "That's My Kind of Night" being the worst song ever and just rub everyone's nose in it. That quote seems quaint now. NONE of this crap is country. What the hell is Luke Bryan thinking?

It takes a lot of talent to do hip-hop well - to have the rhythm, to not trip over your tongue on the speed, to hit that balance of going beyond speaking without quite singing. I deeply respect that kind of talent and the vision that goes behind it -- but it ain't country, and let's not pretend it is. So what the hell have Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, or even Blake Shelton been thinking?

An auto-tuned voice can be a lot of fun -- but it ain't country either. Pouring American-grown whiskey, not tech-grown microchips, on your vocal chords -- THAT'S country. Willie Nelson is country. Life the way it is when it's just us the way we are is country. So what the hell was Jarrod Niemann thinking?

Thank the Lord for Zac Brown, Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, and Jason Isbell. They almost make George Strait's retirement forgivable. Almost.

Last night, "This is How We Roll" and "Drink to that All Night" played back to back, and I thought someone had changed my presets. But let's set these artists aside - it doesn't have to be country to be art. WHAT THE HELL ARE THE PRODUCERS AND RADIO STATION EXECS THINKING?

A cross-genre collaboration or the occasional party song can be a great, great thing, but it's coming to define all of country, and that. ain't. right. Brad Paisley once sang "Too country? What's that?" but at least we now know what its polar opposite look like. When I turn to a country station in the car, it's because I want country music. If I wanted rap, I would have put on the rap station.



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