Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Oblivious Listener Samples Today's Country Hits

 

I visit Saving Country Music every day ~ not sure why ~ because I generally just shrug and move along. I don't know any of the current artists like that "Moonpies" band or Ernest Tubb and his Turnpike Troubadours. I guess I mostly just log on to see if any country artists have died (honestly).

I'm woefully incurious. The minuscule number of videos I've sampled are awful ~ something that apparently passes for "music", but has no definitive genre, and definitely no soul. And the Americana artists are the worst. Strum-strum-strumming on an acoustic guitar and a sad, sappy vocal. And those are supposedly the good artists. Has everyone forgotten what country music is?

But, open-minded as I am 😉 I've once again decided to give a listen to the top ten hits of the week. I might be missing something. I hope I am. Maybe country music has magically regenerated after two decades in limbo (and all good Catholics know what the next step down is after limbo).

Ready? I'm not sure I am, but here we go:

#10 ~ You Probably Should Leave ~ Chris Stapleton (song starts at about 1:18)

Apparently there is no "official" video of this track, because...damn, nobody cool, like those codgers Alan Jackson or Rodney Crowell, makes music videos anymore. That's like, so eighties, man.

Okay, this is a blues jam. No offense, but with the right (standard blues) chords anybody can do the blues. I don't find this any better than anything done by Lee Roy Parnell, and certainly not as interesting. I understand that Stapleton has won a ton of country awards, so maybe this is where we are now in country.

I give this a B- just for not incorporating hip-hop and fake drums.

 

#9 ~ Tequila Little Time ~ Jon Pardi

Surprisingly, I kind of like this one. Hell, George Strait did a few flamenco-flavored songs in his day, too. And the Tijuana Brass accompaniment is actually right up my alley. 

I think Jon Pardi is one of those artists that Saving Country Music touts, but his voice is kind of weak. Perhaps he sounds better on other tracks.

Nevertheless, I give this one an A-. I wouldn't download it, but the video is cute and for a current country song it's inoffensive.

 

#8 ~ Buy Dirt ~ Jordan Davis ft. Luke Bryan


This track is innocuous. It won't stand the test of time, because country songwriters today have a compulsion to cram as many words into a line as humanly possible. Slow down! But the message is sweet and it draws upon the listener's yearning for an America that no longer exists. I've never heard of Jordan Davis, but I think I've watched a video of Luke Bryan doing a really putrid song. So, he's moved up in the world! 

I'm not sure what rating to give a song that is clearly pandering, but again, it's non-offensive, albeit pretty forgettable.

I'll go with a B+.

 

#7 ~ Chasing After You ~ Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris


Okay, I don't know what this is. Is that Kim Kardashian? This is just embarrassing. 

 

#6 ~ Whiskey And Rain ~ Michael Ray

 


This is definitely a country song, so plus-plus! I'm rather surprised it's hit #6 on the charts. I've never heard of Michael Ray. He's an adequate singer, although I abhor the tendency today to sing in an exaggerated southern drawl. Just sing in your normal voice, boys! That said, I like it. I wouldn't download it, but I like it.

B+ 


#5 ~ Knowing You ~ Kenny Chesney


I had a hard time getting through this, but from the video comments it apparently has touched a lot of people. I'm not sure why. The same message has been delivered countless times in much better songs. All I can do is shrug and give it a:

C (and that's being generous)


#4 ~ Cold As You ~ Luke Combs


Truth be told, I never listen to a song I don't like all the way through. I know pretty quickly not to waste my time, but for the sake of this exercise, I forced myself to play the entire track. This is a guy whose voice I actually like, but this song pretty much reeks. I can't think of any aspect of it to recommend. Someone today who actually can sing needs to pick better songs, not squander his talent.


#3 ~ If I Didn’t Love You ~ Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood


 

Carrie Underwood is a great singer. Too bad she doesn't do country songs. The other guy? Nah. On the plus side, this isn't as bad as that Kim Kardashian/Other Guy song. Sadly, though, it's not much better.

D-

 

#2 ~ Thinking ‘Bout You ~ Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter


Eeek. All all current duets just bad? I don't know who either of these people are, nor do I really care to know. This track is definitely noisy, I'll give it that. There's a lot going on it, none of it good.

D-


#1 ~ Same Boat ~ Zac Brown Band


Not bad. Catchy, though a heavily borrowed melody. The unexpected chord changes help, as do the fiddles. A good sing-along. I can't say anything bad about it except that it's unoriginal.

B+

 

Well, on the whole, this was a depressing exercise. Bottom line, stop recording duets, people! 

The Jon Pardi song rated highest, and this Michael Ray guy shows some promise. I'm a bit taken aback that a couple of actual country songs made the top ten, so this time around I'm seeing a smidgen of movement toward actual country. Now if labels could only sign some good, standout singers.

It'll be a while before I attempt this analysis again. Trust me, it's torture.

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