Friday, April 17, 2015

re: Tim McGraw is "unamurrican" because he cares about gun safety and y'know, kids not dying and shit*:

Oh country music, don't ever change. Wait, please do change. Immediately.

Extreme gun nuts remind me of outspoken homophobes. If you're not a criminal or mentally unstable, why are you so worried about losing your guns? Is there something you're not telling us? Do you keep your guns in the closet, too? ;)

This is why I ignore politics as much as humanly possible. "Let's skew everything to its least rational extreme to make some political point! Logic? Reading comprehension? Those have no place here, we've got fearmongerin' to do!" Both sides do it. People fall for it. It's a crazy train to nowhere. If you don't wanna be "controlled," stop thinking with your knee and start using your brain. It saddens me that people are still this stupid. If you really wanna boycott Tim McGraw, here's a justifiable reason for doing so:

(but you'll miss some good tunes if you do)

*obligatory footnote where I say I have no problem with responsible gun ownership, blah blah blah, herp de doo. Cause I don't. Why the hell would I have a problem with someone who isn't going to shoot me owning guns? I just think it's something people should be educated about, because education is the enemy of fearmongering.

And I love Travis Tritt's music and will still be listening to it and not burning anything, even though I disagree with him. Because sanity.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Headline that made me straight up giggle today:

"Madonna's Cone Bra Turns 25"


We have weird priorities as a people, is what I'm saying.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

No nostalgia, no problem

You always end up missing everything - Holden Caulfield

You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back - Trace Adkins*

I feel that way a lot. Hell, I've felt nostalgic listening to Ice Ice Baby, and that's a horrible song. But it reminds me of all the other, good things about the early 90s.

But one thing I can safely say I'll never be nostalgic for is bro country (and the early 2010s in general), which just makes this all the funnier:

Truly, the tribute bro country deserves. Bon voyage, and don't come back! Oh and please take Cole Swindle with you, he seems to be lost.

*This is pretty much guaranteed the only blog you'll get a JD Salinger and Trace Adkins reference in the same post, so soak it up.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I've missed Feel Good Friday 2 weeks in a row due to being busy. Hmm, perhaps I should change it to Wow This Doesn't Suck! Wednesday.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Which brings us to... the 2010s. The first half of this decade has been an absolute blight upon music in every way. The complete lack of rock in the mainstream. Country and pop sinking to the lowest common denominator, both musically and lyrically. As always, there were/are exceptions. Popwise, I like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars. Countrywise, we have two of the best voices I've ever heard, Chris Young and Randy Houser. Taylor Swift's Speak Now gave me great hope, only to be followed by the disappointment of her next two albums.* Exceptions don't make a good music era; if anything they just get lost in all the crap. Of course they're also the best candidates to survive once the crap blows over, which I think it will. I don't think FGL will still be on the charts in 3-5 years, but I bet Chris Young will be.

*MANY positive thoughts go out to Taylor and her mom today. And Speak Now is a really good album.

Cause, I think this decade is gonna be backwards. I don't know if the second half of the 2010s is gonna be great, but it sure as hell has to be better. I think we've reached a breaking point. I'm already seeing positive changes, both in pop and country. Uptown Funk is an Awesome Mix song for our time, and I hope its success will be influential on the pop charts. For the love of God, let's make pop music FUN again! Country is a bit trickier. I don't know where it's going exactly, but here are some positives.

Tim McGraw seems to have recovered from whatever horrible brain-eating disease he had and is making good music again. I only wish they'd re-release Sundown Heaven Town without "Lookin for that Ho."

Kenny Chesney came back in a big way. He gets a bad rap sometimes and I don't know why. I like his music. Yes, it's poppy and he hasn't been a traditional country artist since about 1995, but that doesn't always mean it's bad. Anyway, I think a lot of people predicted the demise of his career since he's neither a bro nor a critical darling, but The Big Revival just hit that sweet spot. I couldn't be happier. (I saw him at the Hickory State Fair in either '98 or '99. I was in the front row and he touched my hand. I bought a t-shirt. It was a wonderful night. He was already well known in country, but he got HUGE not too long after that.)

Aaron Watson's AMAZING album hit #1 despite "not existing." He must be a wizard! ;) Proof: country fans still want to hear actual country music.

Zac Brown Band has a new album coming out, which might be their best yet judging by what I've heard so far.

Blackberry Smoke, while definitely more southern rock than country, released an album with the kind of widespread appeal that transcends genres. In a good way. Holding All the Roses is one of those classic albums that music fans will still be talking about in 30 years. It's that good.

Pretty much everything I just said also relates to Brandi Carlile's The Firewatcher's Daughter. I had a similar response to when I first heard Lucinda Williams. It's not really a country album, but it's authentic in the way country is supposed to be authentic. She's not on country radio, but she sure as hell is a living, breathing force of music.

Which brings us to the #1 negative: the woeful lack of women on the country charts. I'm not a big fan of most of today's female pop stars, but at least they're out there. Like, there's more than two of 'em. There are precisely three solo women in the sausage fest that is the top 25 right now: Miranda, Carrie, and someone called Kelsea Ballerini. Wow. Could her song possibly be anymore bland, generic, and poppy? In other words, it's perfect for the country charts. Sigh. Of all the women who are looking for that breakthrough hit, this is what makes it? It's like Taylor Light, and she was pretty light to begin with. It's discouraging. It's forgettable. Wait, what was I talking about?

Positives: Girl Crush gets some girl power points, it's wonderful hearing Grace Potter with Kenny again, and I'm hoping Lonely Tonight has really put Ashley Monroe on the map. But it's so not even close to enough. Not til we have more solo women on the charts than Carrie, Miranda, and Pop Princess #47.

The 2010s are pretty much a mess and I'm not sure they can be salvaged in time to be remembered as a great decade, but there's still time to at least go out with a bang. I'm looking forward to a better second half that will bleed into the early 2020s... then the last half of that decade will suck. ;p We'll have like, 60 year old Tim McGraw wearing his daughter's jeans and singing about partying, and it will be a mix of autotune and canned beats and whatever fresh hell exists then that we don't even know about yet. Music that sounds like somebody being slapped across the face with a fish. Hey, it could happen. So enjoy the good while we can!

Tomorrow: the return of feel good Friday, with an assortment of new music.
Sam Hunt is kinda the Halloween 3: Season of the Witch of music. If you want country music, you're gonna be disappointed. If you want Michael Myers, you're gonna be disappointed. But take away the misleading label, and you actually have something decent. Now I like Halloween 3 WAY more than I like Sam Hunt's music, but unlike say, Cole Swindell or Chase Rice, I think he's a talented artist. Sometimes something can seem bad, or worse than it is, simply by not living up to expectations. If you take "Halloween" out of the title of Season of the Witch, you have a fun, campy and actually kinda scary 80s horror flick that would have been much better received. Just as Sam Hunt makes pretty good, catchy pop music. So I'm not gonna hate on him here; I'll just stick my fingers in my ears and go "la la la" when someone refers to him as country.

I've had a bit of a block writing here lately. I haven't been in the mood to snark, and nothing flows as freely as a good snark. :) So I'm planning to start occasional posts called "my favorite years," which will be kinda like feel good Friday but a more extended look at great years in music. I suppose to get my snark flowing I could do least favorite years too... starting with the last five, in order. :( Or, best songs from bad years.

One thing I've noticed: what is it about the latter part of decades that makes music SUCK?

Early to mid 70s? Sure, there was some easy listening dreck and dumb pop in there, but this was such an amazing time for rock and soul music that it's easily forgiven. Late 70s? Disco. Don't get me wrong, there are some great disco tunes I love (Disco Inferno, Stayin' Alive, anything by Donna Summer). But overall, definitely a shift for the worse.

Early 80s? 1982-85 are easily my favorite years in pop music, ever, and the majority of the classics people think of when they think "80s" were from the early to mid part of the decade. The late 80s were awful. AWFUL. With some exceptions - Madonna's Like a Prayer (my favorite of her albums), and the success of alt-rock bands like REM and The Cure - it was a lot of hair metal, Tiffany, and adult contemporary crap.

Early 90s? Not a great time for mainstream pop, though there were some really fun, iconic songs like "Groove is in the Heart," "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," and "Baby Got Back." But nothing really cohesive or consistently good. A boy band called Color Me Badd had several hit singles in the early 90s. That about sums it up. HOWEVER: this was when country became my thing. Early to mid 90s country just took over my life. It was a great time to be a music fan, and I still miss it every day. This was also an amazing time in rock music, which pretty much goes without saying. Early 90s? Nirvana. Late 90s? Nickleback.

Late 90s? Well pop-wise, we had Britney Spears and boy bands, so 'nuff said. And this was when country was going really pop, hence "Murder on Music Row." This wasn't even an inkling of how bad country was gonna get, but not a whole lot from the late 90s has made it into my collection. (A few exceptions: George Strait*, Dixie Chicks, Randy Travis, Sara Evans, and Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, one of the best albums of all time in my not so very humble opinion.) :)

*George Strait is actually an exception across the board. Bad year? George probably still put out a good album.

Early 2000s? Okay. Well after 9/11 and the whole Dixie Chicks thing, I had to distance myself from country for a while. I did still listen to the Chicks and some older country. In fact, I got into a lot of classic country at this time, Loretta, Waylon, etc., so my knowledge of this period is a bit lacking. I also pretty much completely stopped listening to pop music at this point. But that leaves us with the rock revival of the 2000s. It didn't last very long, and this was also when emo cast its whiny shadow on the music landscape (oh how I hate you, A Simple Plan). But for a brief, shining moment there were all these ROCK bands like Modest Mouse and the Killers and White Stripes, and it reminded me of that great little mid-90s period of rock. It burned out way too fast, but there were some pretty amazing fireworks.

The late 2000s were AWFUL in pretty much every way. If not for Miranda and Zac Brown, I wouldn't have listened to any new music at all. Oh, and George Strait lol. Twang and Troubador are good albums. I'm telling you, the man saves music every year!

I shall tackle the 2010s, perhaps literally, in my next post.