Maddie & Tae have officially unveiled the music video for their new anti-bro country hit, “Girl In A Country Song.” And I have to say it’s quite well done. I love how they reversed the roles and had the sexist guys you usually see in bro country videos dressed liked and acting like the ladies in those same videos. It’s pretty hilarious. It also sends a pretty clear message.
Review – Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song”
Welcome to a new weekly feature on Country Perspective! Every week I’m going to take a look at the current top ten country songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and give each song either a +1, a -1 or a 0. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the current top ten country songs, with the highest possible score being a +10 and the lowest possible score being a -10. The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. To see the full list of hot country songs, click here. Let’s take a look at this week’s top ten.
- Florida Georgia Line – “Dirt” +1
- Kenny Chesney – “American Kids” 0
- Dierks Bentley – “Drunk On a Plane” -1
- Lady Antebellum – “Bartender” -1
- Lee Brice – “I Don’t Dance” +1
- Jake Owen – “Beachin'” -1
- Joe Nichols – “Yeah” -1
- Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan – “This is How We Roll” -1
- Chris Young – “Who I Am With You” +1
- Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood – “Somethin’ Bad” -1
The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -3
A few good songs, but still a long way to go to being even average.
The new duo of Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels, known as Haley & Michaels, met each other in your classic small world story. Both grew up minutes away from each other in California, yet didn’t meet until years later in Nashville through a mutual friend. And once they started to play together and realized they shared similar music interests, they realized they were meant to sing together. Their voices harmonize so well together that it caught the ears of Richie McDonald, the lead singer of the popular 90s country band Lonestar. After meeting with each other, they decided to write a song together. And that song is “Just Another Love Song,” their first single off their very first album set to release later this year.
The song is about a couple’s song, which they consider “their song.” You’re probably thinking, “Jeez, another song like this.” But Haley & Michaels gives this a twist. This is a breakup song about their song turning into just another love song. It no longer holds special meaning to them and they don’t want to really hear that song again because it reminds them too much of their past relationship. And that is quite relatable to the average music listener. The love song that means nothing to them anymore is Lonestar’s chart topping hit “Amazed,” which I’m sure has been many couple’s song over the years.
I can see why Richie McDonald was impressed by their harmonization, as it’s quite good in this song. Their voices are perfect together and you can feel the chemistry between the two. Towards the end of the song, McDonald comes in and sings the chorus from “Amazed,” which really brings the song up another notch. A lot of people are nostalgic for 90s country right now, especially with Garth Brooks just coming out of retirement. Many people will hear the familiar hook from “Amazed” on the radio and instantly want to hear the rest of the song. I know that’s how I found this song, so kudos to Haley, Michaels and McDonald for this clever inclusion in the song.
Haley & Michaels also reference several lines from “Amazed” throughout, which gets the listeners’ attention too. I’m impressed how well the lyrics flow together because many times when artists work a hit song into a new song, it sounds forced. In terms of instrumentation, it’s a pop country song. You can hear some light piano play at the beginning of the song and I would’ve liked to have heard more of that throughout the song. Maybe the slow the song down, since “Amazed” is a slow love ballad. The generic drum beat sound throughout might put off some of the more traditional country music listeners.
I’m not the biggest fan of pop country, but I can appreciate these type of songs if they’re well-written and if the theme doesn’t feel like it’s done to death. And I find “Just Another Love Song” to fall under the good category of pop country. The song is written well and the theme is unique, as I haven’t heard a song similar to this one lately. I grew up hearing Lonestar on the radio, so I’m quite familiar with the song “Amazed.” I’ll admit it made me a little nostalgic hearing it again and I’m sure others feel this way too. This is a good lead single from Haley & Michaels that will help get their name out there and in the listeners’ heads. I’ll take this duo over Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town every time because this group feels more genuine and heartfelt with their music. “Just Another Love Song” is a good song in my book.
This is the exact problem I was worried about when Sam Hunt unleashed “Leave The Night On.” I was hoping the song would be a bust, but it’s a surprisingly performing well. And when I saw how well it was doing I knew there would be imitators. Hunt’s single is not country in any way at all, yet it’s being eaten up by the mainstream country fans. If a relatively unknown artist can take a completely pop song and slap a country label on it, what could stop the well-known names from doing the exact same thing as Hunt. Well now we have our answer in the form of Jason Aldean’s new single “Burnin’ It Down.”
Just like “Leave The Night On,” this song has no country elements in it whatsoever. The amount of auto tune used in this song is absolutely ridiculous. I guess Aldean has been hanging around Jerrod Niemann lately. The beat of this song sounds like something Usher could use in one of his songs. “Burnin’ It Down” is intended to be a romantic and sexy song that is supposed to get a couple in the mood for sex. But when listening to it I get a completely different feeling. It has a creepy vibe that seems like it would be more suited as the soundtrack to a date rape than a romantic night. It’s like the prequel to Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy.” Both songs make me feel uncomfortable.
Lyrically this song isn’t any better than it is instrumentation wise. It’s like a mashup of bro country and laundry list pop country. What does “Burnin’ It Down” name check? It mentions Jack Daniels, names an old country artist (Alabama in this case) and the word “girl” is said numerous times. No, Dallas Davidson did not write this song. The writers of this song are actually Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins and Florida Georgia Line. Just when Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley had earned some goodwill from yours truly, they had to go and write this horrific song. It’s a damn shame.
It’s been a while since Aldean had released a new single and I guess he wanted to remind everyone that he too can make awful “country” music still. I predict “Burnin’ It Down” is going to have a big run throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall. Oh joy. Many people will somehow overlook the creepiness of this song and actually consider it a legitimate love ballad. It does nothing but give me creepy visuals, especially these lines:
Laying right here naked in my bed
I’m just doing my thing
You love it when I sing
Say it makes you feel like an angel
We about to get a little tangled up right about now
So girl let’s keep burnin’ it down
I don’t need to imagine Aldean being naked in a bed. I’m sure the ladies will love it, but no thanks from me. Expect there to be another 15 more songs along these lines by the end of the year. Cheesy, boring love songs seem to be one of the newest trends in mainstream country music. Or in this case a creepy, boring love song. But hey at least Aldean didn’t try to rap? Nevertheless, Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” is another reminder that mainstream country music can never take a step forward without taking two steps back.
One of the most talked about writers in Nashville is Dallas Davidson, famous and infamous for writing some of the top country hits over the past few years. Some of his most notable recent hits include Luke Bryan’s “Play It Again” and Brantley Gilbert’s “Small Town Throwdown.” Many traditional country fans put part of the blame on Davidson for the popularity of bro country songs, while many mainstream fans are clueless of how big of an impact Davidson has on country music. So I decided to take a look at Davidson’s entire song catalog. I put my mathematician hat on and crunched the numbers to find some interesting stats about Mr. Davidson. I put them in a friendly to read infographic below:
- If you’re curious as to what the top four rated albums are on Country Perspective, here are the four: Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold, BlackHawk’s Brothers of the Southland and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Remedy. The song that contained one of the terms in its title was OCMS’s “Brave Boys,” which is not even close to sounding like a Dallas Davidson song.
- To view every song on Davidson’s catalog, you find them by clicking here.
- If you have anymore questions about this infographic or data I found, feel free to reach out to me.
- If you would like to share this infographic on social media or your own website, feel free to do so. However I ask you to please site Country Perspective as the source. I would greatly appreciate it.
I hope everyone is a little more educated on Dallas Davidson and the process behind his songwriting.