Saturday, May 31, 2014

OMG I just realized who's the granddaddy of all these modern dance/pop/electronic country songs - REDNEX!

Why didn't I see the inevitability when I was line dancing to this in 199whatever??
Completely obsessed with this right now.

It's simple and beautiful, and I was a little ashamed when "somebody call the po-po" came on after it. But hey, if that's what I'm into, right? At least it wasn't Luke "Look at my Crotch" Bryan, who always reminds me of this:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Me: ooh, new Dierks Bentley song!

Dierks: Like a G6!

Me: Truck no! Er, plane no! Um, what rhymes with plane?

Another one bites the dust. Here's what Dierks used to sound like

This is the kind of song I used to take for granted. Not that it isn't good, just that you couldn't walk across a field without stepping in about 12 songs like this in the 90s and early 2000s. They were unavoidable, and that was a good thing. They made me a country fan. These current songs sound so forced, like they're constipated and trying to get something out. Take some ex-lax country music, you'll feel better.

Mr. Truck Yeah himself actually had a good song in the not too distant past. Note, this was a BIGGER hit than either Fuck My Truck or Lookin' for that Ho Smack My Bitch Up (or whatever it was called).

I'll leave you with this, because I can.

Hokey as hell? Yeah. Do I love it? Hell yeah! Why? It feels genuine and sounds good. That's really all I ask for from a country song. How hard can that possibly be? Sammy also recorded a great version of "Better than I Used to Be," but nobody heard it cause radio doesn't play guys named Sammy and Bobby and Billy Joe anymore. Next generation it's gonna be all Kevyns and Hadyns and Madisyns. Lord help us.

There's one possible positive in this "branching out" of country music. I have yet to enjoy hip-hop in country, probably because I don't enjoy hip-hop period but also because putting two stupid things together isn't my idea of "diversity." But recently there were two country hits about actual tolerance, "Follow Your Arrow" and "All Kinds of Kinds." Both by female artists. Now that's diversity I can get behind.
More guilty pleasures: This damn guy!

He seems like kind of a huge doofus, and most of his songs are too hokey for me, but he somehow pulled out two I think are pure musical brilliance. "Get lost and get right with my soul, makes me wanna take a back road." Um, hell yeah? I hate the influx of stupid "back road" songs but I LOVE actual back roads, and this song does it right.

"If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there"

Well, I'll be darned if that isn't good advice. And this from the man with a song about chicken nuggets. *shrug*

And now for something completely different - music to hem your klan robes by! Seriously, WTF?

No, I'm not embedding it on my blog. It has cooties. It's an anti-Mexican song, not by some random internet racist, but a singer who had actual country hits not too long ago. Both of which I liked. Both of which are, sadly, no longer on my playlist. (I can forgive Jason Aldean for bringing us c-rap if he puts out a good song or two, but this is where I draw the line.)

Bonus points though for the irony of using Mexican-sounding music in your anti-Mexican song.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Also, I think Miranda Lambert has been reading my blog.

How many of those things have I talked about in here? "Seems like only yesterday I'd get a blank cassette,
Record the country countdown 'cause I couldn't buy it yet." That's like a little snapshot from my life. Or maybe it's not just me. Maybe a lot of people feel this way. (The irony is that I downloaded this song "automatically," but if I had to leave the house to buy it I totally would.)

Our car has a window crank. I love it.

And now, something else that doesn't suck. Sunny Sweeney singing 16th Avenue.

And this, effortlessly warm and genuine country. In the 90s you couldn't chuck a cowpie without hitting a song like this, but now it's a rare gem. If only it had been a hit.

Swoon x infinity.

Part two: guilty pleasures

Every once in a while, a blind squirrel somewhere finds a yummy acorn. This is my way of saying I have two Jason Aldean songs on my iPod, and that Jason Aldean is a visually impaired bushy-tailed rodent. (It's fitting actually, squirrels are kind of douchebags.)

When this happens, I propose the Alan Jackson Test. If you suspect a song sung by a douche who otherwise makes bad music might be good, close your eyes and pretend Alan Jackson recorded it. Yes? Then download that sucker, it's a good song. Don't let the jackass stop you (unless it's that Jarrod guy, that's just too literal a translation of jackass).

Good song. Totally passes the AJ test. You're welcome.

And here's where I confess to a few real guilty pleasures, to show I'm not some purist snob.

I just... I'm sorry, I can't resist it. It's possibly the hokiest take on "country" I've ever seen, but GOD it's catchy! And at least she can sing.

I know, I know. Reality show pop-(barely)country. Blah blah blah Satan. Well it's catchy and harmless and I like it. Just call it pop, it'll sit much better.

Dierks is an artist I actually respect, but any song with the word "po-po" in the chorus is definitely a guilty pleasure. The "Ozzy's train" lyric kinda makes up for it though. I'm actually not ashamed of this one, even if I should be. Dierks is pretty cool, and not in the "AH DONE RAPPED AIN'T AH COOL" way.

I'm feeling pretty hopeful right now, the hope of a cool breeze on a hot day. I know summer's coming and we'll be bombarded with party country anthems up the yeehaw, but that might be a good thing. Cause I think fans are tiring of that schtick and the faster the storm builds, the faster it can blow outta town. So bring it on, boys. I can wait it out.
So I had an epiphany courtesy of a road trip, a cheeseburger, and Lady Gaga. The cheeseburger doesn't really figure in, but it was delicious.

In a small town burger joint, I heard a song come on the radio. It was kinda muffled but I was like, this is a pretty good country song! Who is this?

I know what you're saying - that ain't country, there's no guy from Georgia in an ugly shirt rappin'! But is it kinda... insane that Gaga's song sounds more country than half the stuff on country radio? It's not country, but it's kinda twangy and tells a story and I like it. I'd rather hear about her cool Nebraska guy and the chase than trucks and asses any day. Who knew?

The gaga-fueled epiphany came when I realized that unlike pop music, which I gave up on long ago, I can't actually live without a steady supply of good country music. I stopped listening to country radio a couple years ago. I couldn't pinpoint it, but it was starting to make me vaguely... uncomfortable. Only later did I realize it was the same discomfort I'd feel in the midst of a frat party, where women are nothing but props to ogle. What happened to all the female singers? And what happened to the male singers??? This is what country music sounded like when I got into it.

The good news is, Alan Jackson still sounds just like that. The bad news? You can only hear him singing anymore if you happen to be in his shower.

And Tim. Oh, Tim. I thought Truck Yeah was the absolute lowest someone could sink but no... oh, no.

I'm not going to embed "Lookin' for that Girl" here. I have too much respect for... life to spread that thing around. Instead, I'll remind you what Tim used to sound like.

"Your song still lingers in my mind, your mullet still makes me smile, who could ever sell his soul, with so much left unsung? So you can't be really gone." Thank you, I wrote that in ten seconds. Which is about five more seconds than it takes to write most of today's hits.

But instead of getting (totally) lost in yesterday, I decided to find some newer stuff to download. Surely, it can't all be that bad?

Truck Yeah, it can! And don't call me Shirley.

To be fair, "Country must be Countrywide" didn't immediately make me want to kill myself. There was a moment where I went YEAH, country really is countrywide! Good point bro! Then I sobered up and pretended that never happened. But anyway, I didn't let the Doucheshirt Posse stop me. I dug deeper. And I found some great music.

She actually had a mainstream top 10 hit! Not this song, this is way too country to be country, but I downloaded about 27 songs by this woman. Thank you for existing, Sunny Sweeney.

A few more gems:

Two of these were actual hits! Of course the female artist gets no airplay, but at least these guys aren't rapping about tires so it's a start. And yeah, Easton Corbin sounds a lot like George Strait, but that's about the last thing I'll complain about these days. You can clone George Strait (and his horse) as far as I'm concerned.

That actually wasn't much of a rant. I thought I was angrier, but then I played that Sunny Sweeney song and it all went away.
The right way to do pickup truck lyrics in country music, courtesy of 1989 Clint Black:

"And I still drive that pickup truck
That the same old bank still owns
But since you left, everybody says I'm not the guy they've known
The lights are on, but nobody's home"

I feel a long-ass country music rant coming on.