Showing posts with label jon pardi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jon pardi. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Non-Country Listener Checks Out The Current Top Ten


According to my lone source of country music news, country is navigating back to that nineties sound (the best decade in country music ever). So since I never know any of the artists Saving Country Music's articles reference, I thought I should find out for myself if that is actually true. I've done this exercise a couple of times in the past with disastrous results, but I have my fingers crossed!

The rules are simple: Clearly I've never heard any of these tracks before, so I will review them as I watch the music videos. This time I'm relying on American Country Countdown's chart for August 22, 2022, the most recent chart currently available. And I'm only reviewing the top ten, because I am not a glutton for punishment.

Bear in mind, I'm grading on a curve.

Wheeeeee! Here we go!

#10 ~ You Proof ~ Morgan Wallen

This is the first time I've ever heard this guy, who's for some reason controversial (because someone apparently recorded him having a private conversation with a friend). He's clearly not the best singer ~ nasally and he tends to slur his words ~ but he's certainly not the worst.

This song is perhaps following a modern trend, starting with a bare-bones verse and filling out the rest of the track with repetitions of the chorus. I can see the sing-along allure, but the subject matter, previously done to death, could use some fattening. I do give him props, though, for essentially keeping it country.

I haven't obviously heard the other top nine singles yet, but I will give this one a B-.


#9 ~ Damn Strait ~ Scotty McCreery

One might not want to do a song that instantly reminds the listener of King George, That said, the track is definitely country, kind of second-tier country, however. It's inordinately easy to write a song with hooks that are song titles. 

How about this:  

Mama Tried to Sing Me Back Home but I Was A Lonesome Fugitive, when all she ever wanted me to be was a Working Man. Merle used to be my favorite singer, but now I can't even listen to him because then I'll Start Loving You Again.

I vaguely remember this guy from when I used to watch American Idol (probably the last season I watched it) and he has a good country voice, but this song is cheap pandering. He can do better. B- 

#8 ~ Truth About You ~ Mitchell Tenpenny

Interesting storyline. This guy is a good singer, in the Travis Tritt vein. I don't know if he's had any previous singles, but this track is one that'll capture your attention when it bursts out of your car radio. I admire a song that tries to say something and isn't trite. I wouldn't buy it, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the effort. B


#7  ~ Like I Love Country Music ~ Kane Brown

Kind of a cross between Brooks and Dunn and Achy Breaky Heart, this is a damn fine bar song. I would dance to it. Again, I know nothing about the guy or any history attached to him, but with this track he is definitely doing nineties country in the truest sense of the word. Granted, it's a throwaway, but I suppose Boot Scootin' Boogie could be labeled a throwaway, too. That doesn't mean music can't be fun. In fact, it's supposed to be fun. B+


#6 ~ With A Woman You Love ~ Justin Moore

A bit reminiscent of Tracy Lawrence's later releases, Moore has a decent country voice and the track's production does harken back to the nineties days. And kudos for a song that is written in the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus standard. Unfortunately, it doesn't really resonate with me. The sentiment is great, but this track just sounds ordinary. B-


#5 ~ The Kind Of Love We Make ~ Luke Combs


I like this one. Frankly this guy has one of the best voices in country music today. The melody is one I could find myself humming when I'm trying to fall asleep. I also like the fact that he's not the cliched "leading man"'; he just has a great voice. Best so far. A-


#4 ~ She Had Me At Heads Carolina ~ Cole Swindell

Okay, nothing like stealing a melody from a more famous song. I hope Tim Nichols and Mark Sanders got songwriting credits on this. I guess this is one way to get on the radio. A cheap way. He's not an original singer and for stealing somebody else's song, this one gets a D-.


Oh, here's how the original goes:

#3 ~ Take My Name ~ Parmalee


I don't know who Parmalee (pick a better name) is, and I don't know what this is. This is something that movie producers would consider a country song. It's not. I vowed to watch every YouTube video 'til it's completion, but I knew where this one was going. F+


#2  ~ Last Night Lonely ~ Jon Pardi

I've read that this guy is the real deal. Apparently he has better tracks than this.This one has a lot of noise, but no real purpose. I will say that the production is over the top, and not in a good way. D 


#1 ~ At The End Of A Bar ~ Chris Young and Mitchell Tenpenny

Kids, don't be fooled by the racket. To be honest, I lost interest in this video and started doing other tasks. Mitchell, your number eight song was eons better. And just when I started to think that the nineties really were back.  F


So, just like the last time I tried this experiment, Luke Combs wins. But props to Tenpenny (#8, not #1) and Brown. There's a lot to like here, but not much originality. 

And Saving Country Music, you told me that this Pardi guy was someone to watch. I think I'll pass.



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

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.


#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.



#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.


#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.



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.