Showing posts with label luke combs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label luke combs. 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.



Friday, July 10, 2020

Part 1 ~ The Country Codger Samples Today's Hits


If you know me, you know that I am completely unfamiliar with today's country music. I have one music website that I scour every week or so for intriguing articles, but I honestly don't know anyone being written about. Thus I don't know if the columns are spot-on or sour grapes. I do know that some of the gushing albums reviews leave me flummoxed.

So, as one swallows nauseating medicine that is nevertheless necessary, I felt it was my duty to sample a bit of today's country music, if for no other reason than to affirm or nullify my preconceived judgments.

Naturally, not having a clue as to what exactly is popular, I searched out the recent country charts and found a top forty list. Starting with number one, I set out to find YouTube videos of the songs.

Here, forthwith, are my unvarnished critiques of the top singles, as I hear them for the first time:

1. One Margarita - Luke Bryan

A mediocre singer with a generic voice. The melody is really difficult to latch onto, perhaps because of the erratic beat. I actually find this song very annoying, but I guess I could see kids dancing to it. (1 out of 10 stars)

2. Hard To Forget - Sam Hunt

What's with the beats on these songs? It started out well with a sample of Webb Pierce's "There Stands The Glass", but degenerated rapidly. Does this Sam Hunt perform onstage with only a drum machine? (2 out of 10 stars, only because it actually has a chorus of sorts, unlike the first song.)

3. Bluebird - Miranda Lambert

She does this thing that all current female artists do -- utters lyrics in short bursts, ostensibly because she can't hold a note for longer than one second. This is an utterly forgettable track. I would never buy it, because listening more than once would make my temples throb. (2 out of 10 stars)

4.  Be A Light - Thomas Rhett and Friends

I guess this is one of those pandering, anthemic "woke" songs. I hate those. The singer is very nasally; the only good singer I know who can pull off "nasal" is Dwight. Lots of la-la-la's in this song. Not hearing the "friends", but I'm sure they're there, low in the mix. I wouldn't care if I never heard this track again. (2 out of 10 stars)


5. Die From A Broken Heart - Maddie and Tae

Reminiscent of older tracks by female groups, this duo can sing, although the video only features one of them singing (I'm guessing Maddie because she has first billing). It's good as a soap opera vignette, but doesn't exactly evoke any emotions in me. (5 out of 10 stars, due to actual singing ability)


6. I Love My Country - Florida Georgia Line


I don't know what to make of this track. It's probably the countriest of the so-called country songs. That doesn't mean it's good. I have a feeling the duo was trying to emulate "Chattahoochee", only with a far inferior product. I've read very negative reviews of this group, but considering the competition (and that's a low bar), they're not the devil's handiwork. (5 out of 10 stars)


7. Done - Chris Janson

On the plus side, this track is structured like an actual song. I don't, however, understand the tendency of all these artists to affect an exaggerated southern accent. This song is what we used to refer to as pop, as in "Yacht Rock Radio", only not memorable in any way. (4 out of 10 stars)


8. Nobody But You - Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani

 I don't know what this is. Blake can sing, but this? It's noisy and irritating. (2 out of 10 stars)


9. Got What I Got - Jason Aldean

Not a good singer, but he does have a presence. The song would benefit from a decent beat. As for the track itself, sorry; boring (2 out of 10 stars)


10. Stick That In Your Country Song - Eric Church

To be honest, I'm exhausted by this point, but I wanted to get through ten tracks. This actually hit the top ten? This might be the worst of all I've heard, and it's hardly country. (.01 of 10 stars)

By accident, I caught part of a video by someone named Luke Combs, and it actually sounded country. This guy could have a future.

Painful as this experiment was, I'm glad I suffered through it. Now I know. My guess is that in ten years or so, somebody will lead the exodus out of pukedom and return country to actual music. Maybe it'll be this Luke Combs guy.

Now when I read Saving Country, I'll be in the know.

But honestly, this was excruciatingly painful.