Review – Danielle Bradbery’s “Friend Zone” Is A New Level of Suck

Danielle Bradbery Friend Zone

Mainstream country music in 2015 continues to amaze me. And not in a good way. Throughout this year we’ve had a variety of terrible new songs from mainstream country artists and there appears to be no end in sight. The newest monstrosity to rear its ugly head is the new single from Danielle Bradbery, “Friend Zone.” Bradbery of course won season four of The Voice, a show that promises to make new stars. What the show really does is boost sales for its most popular judges Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, while also creating a bunch of forgettable C-list and D-list country artists. These artists are simply filling space and time for labels and radio stations. Bradbery is one of these filler artists. Is she a bad singer? No, she’s actually good. The problem is her music is forgettable and disposable in the whole spectrum of things. I had no plans to review Bradberry’s new single, but then I heard how awful it was and you know how I can’t resist providing commentary on a train wreck.

“Friend Zone” is just all-around terrible and quite frankly offensive. The first offense is the most token banjo ever being thrown in at the very start. In fact this token banjo play is looped throughout the song, brainwashing gullible mainstream country fans into thinking this song is country when it’s anything but country. The song is really a pop rock anthem that panders to country radio, in a desperate attempt to make Bradbery relevant. The theme of the song is about a girl lecturing a boy on not pursuing a girl properly and as a result he’s going to be stuck in the “friend zone.” While this is meant to come off as witty and playful, to my ears it comes off as bitchy, preachy and annoying. How is this song meant to be enjoyable? But the absolute worst part of this song is the chorus:

Let me break it down to the facts
You will never get a girl like that
You gotta step up to the plate with a bat
That’s all I gotta say about that

There are multiple problems with this part of the song. Bradbery’s delivery of the lyrics is done in a Iggy Azalea-like fashion because you know country has to rip off old pop music to be “cool” and “hip.” Seriously I thought there was going to be an interlude of “Fancy” at some point in the song. So they completely misuse a talented singer like Bradbery by making her stoop down to Azalea’s level. Then there’s the line about stepping up to the plate with a bat. At best this is a clunky attempt at pandering to male listeners because it’s a sports reference. At worst this is a faux pas that shouldn’t be uttered in a song about trying to date a girl because the idea of a male with a bat and trying to get a girl’s attention leads to domestic assault like imagery. On top of that the song appears to be going for a trap like sound with the guitar play in the chorus.

I think you get the picture with “Friend Zone.” It’s a terrible song that stinks in any format you put it in. The more I listened to it, the more I got angry. Keep in mind, Bradbery is part of Big Machine Label Group, who appear to be the most egregious offenders of mainstream country music this year. Bradbery is just another artist along for the ride. I’m sure some people will defend Bradbery for this song and say she needed to make it so she could stay with the label and make her own music later, but I’m not going along with this anymore. These artists have a voice and if they’re uncomfortable with it, they need to say so. Going along with it means you’re fine with it and that opens you to criticism from reviewers like me. You can add “Friend Zone” to Country Perspective’s Zero Zone, making it another candidate for Country Perspective’s Worst Song of the Year.

Grade: 0/10

35 thoughts on “Review – Danielle Bradbery’s “Friend Zone” Is A New Level of Suck

  1. krysmile August 31, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    What is this s***?

    Someone tell me this is a bad joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott August 31, 2015 / 1:50 pm

      I wish it was a joke, but apparently we’re supposed to take this seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Megan Conley August 31, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Lol I heard this shit yesterday and I planned to rip it…saw your review and thought that might appease me, but instead it just pointed out more things in the song to rip. I hate this worse than anything RaeLynn has ever recorded…what a waste of a talented singer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan Conley August 31, 2015 / 2:05 pm

      P.S. The same goes for Kelsea Ballerini…I would rather put “Dibs” and “Yeah Boy” on a repeating playlist for a week than hear this ever again.

      Like

  3. Derek Hudgin August 31, 2015 / 2:18 pm

    Did Kelsea Ballerini, RaeLynn, and Danielle Bradbery all drink some punch laced with brainwashing chemicals to make them think they’re all Iggy? Though I was first reminded of Ke$ha, but I think your Iggy comparison is much more accurate.

    This song, “Dibs”, “Yeah Boy”, “Better Do It” all feature some awful spoken word break downs. It makes me angry that EVERY SINGLE song produced for a female singer features this. Also, it’s ridiculous how much they’re trying to make her look like Iggy Azalea in that single cover photo.

    And word on the street is Danielle Bradbery’s “career path” is going in the same direction as Thomas Rhett’s… who’s own “career path” is poised to be a rip off of Bruno Mars. Nashville’s just so sad right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh Schott August 31, 2015 / 2:39 pm

      Yeah I saw Windmill Country’s tweet about her hearing that the plan is to make Bradbery the female Thomas Rhett, which is just terrible. Can you believe Borchetta is behind this and Maddie & Tae’s album. Talk about a world of difference!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Megan Conley August 31, 2015 / 3:54 pm

        “The female Thomas Rhett”. That is the most disappointing thing I have heard in awhile. His new song “Vacation” is God-awful, and I truly don’t know how anything could top it in terms of shit. But then, I have underestimated things like this before. I think Borchetta is just behind whatever trend will stick, and he sees an opportunity in Maddie & Tae. He is smart, he knows there is a market for traditional country and a growing number of people who are disenchanted with the Sam Hunts, Thomas Rhetts, and Luke Bryans of the world. Hopefully, Maddie & Tae is the trend that wins, because Borchetta will follow it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • fromthewordsofbr September 1, 2015 / 10:44 am

        What a hypocrite, that Scotty Borchotty is!

        But give Taylor Swift credit; she knew when to call her music truly pop,

        Like

    • RG September 1, 2015 / 11:47 am

      Actually Derek I think this points to a larger issue with our culture but in particular celebrities. Meaning a lot of the millennial generation has no real core of who they are or what they truly want to be. They have been coddled and protected from any competition or criticism their whole lives so when they get thrust into fame they have no way of directing their own futures because they’ve never had to look hard inside themselves and establish their real identities. Who they are as a person is all made up of what people have told them they should be.

      They have done no independent thinking so therefore they blow which ever way the record executive tells them to blow. And so they go along with these terrible decisions made on their behalf just to try and prop up record label revenues. You could draw this same parallel to a vast majority of non-celebrity millennials really. They have no identity because someone else has always defined their thinking and told them who and what to be.

      Like

      • Josh Schott September 1, 2015 / 12:17 pm

        I think throwing a blanket over an entire generation is harsh and unfair. Then again every new generation has to hear it from the previous generation how lazy and entitled they are and how they don’t appreciate stuff like they did “back in their day.” Just saying…not all millennials are the same and I get tired of the stereotyping.

        Now your sentiment certainly seems to apply to these new mainstream country artists who are gladly churning out pop music and calling it country. But then there’s also artists like Mo Pitney, Maddie & Tae, William Michael Morgan and Jon Pardi who are all millennials. They each have their own identity and make the music they want to make. You also have older artists from Generation X who are gladly letting label executives shape their image and control them basically. Artists like Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean. So if you had to put this on one generation, I would put it on Gen X, as a majority of these “sell out” artists come from this generation. And then a majority of record executives are Generation X and baby boomers, with the latter generation being one that is well familiar with how country music should sound. They’re also the ones obsessed with appealing to younger listeners. So can you really pin this on the millennials? Sounds like to me the older and wiser people involved with the country music industry are the ones with more blood on their hands.

        Like

      • Derek Hudgin September 1, 2015 / 12:51 pm

        I think you offer up some stirring ideas and scratch a bit of the surface with what I think the problem is. Obviously my punch comment was an exaggeration, but I don’t think it’s that Danielle Bradbery has no idea who she wants to be in terms of music. I don’t think it’s fair to throw all the blame onto the singer who records a song like this. Granted, Bradbery had a hand in writing this song, but I’d be willing to bet Borchetta or someone higher up at Big Machine pushed Bradbery to “popify” her sound and put her in a room with three pop songwriters to come up with a song to be her new single.

        I don’t think it was her decision to team up with the 3 pop writers when they could have just as easily brought in the likes of Natalie Hemby and/or Hillary Lindsey to work with Danielle Bradbery. Big Machine makes the decisions and Bradbery has a contract with the label. Now I don’t know how much say Bradbery is allowed in the creative decisions for her music, but I think it’s safe to assume that this was a producer saying “Danielle, write with these guys to make a pop sounding song for your next single.”

        Like

  4. Raymond August 31, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    Ok here are my thoughts

    You know there’s a sellout and then there is strait up garbage.

    This is such a bad pop song I think Sam Hunt would back off.

    What amazes me is out of the three voice ladies Cassadee Pope is the only one who hasn’t created a garbage song.

    Also this song screams Like Me!!!! Like Me!!!! Another puppet for Big Machine to play with.

    I don’t see Danielle sticking around much longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. southtexaspistolero August 31, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    The Voice, eh? More of Blake “The Decider” Shelton’s leadership at work…

    I haven’t listened yet. Is it as bad as Haley Georgia’s “Ridiculous”? That’s my benchmark for pure shit anymore…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott August 31, 2015 / 5:23 pm

      It’s pretty close.

      Like

    • Raymond August 31, 2015 / 5:58 pm

      Eh Ridiculous shouldn’t count since it was never released to country radio.

      Like

      • southtexaspistolero August 31, 2015 / 8:19 pm

        Well yes, but they planned to market Haley Georgia as a country singer, which is close enough.

        Like

  6. Salem Leo August 31, 2015 / 5:52 pm

    Worse than Sam Hunt, FGL, and Jason Aldean combined.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cobra August 31, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    Oh.
    My.
    God.

    This is one of the worst songs I have ever heard in my life. This is an embarrassment.
    I can’t believe I made it through the entire song without vomiting.
    This would be terrible in whatever genre you try to place it in, but to even attempt to label this as country music is flat out insulting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 31, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  9. ron12274 August 31, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    Place in a van of adventure?
    Worse than iggy she sounds like Britney on the awful duet they did called pretty girls

    Like

  10. Jeremy August 31, 2015 / 8:16 pm

    You can’t judge an artist by one song, check out this other new song of hers “Room For Two,” which is totally country: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvAr5grfNJ4

    Personally, I think both songs are great, even though they’re very different. And the domestic violence criticism of the lyrics that I keep hearing is completely ridiculous, IMO.

    Like

    • Jason White September 1, 2015 / 5:24 pm

      Agreed! I hate the domestic violence criticism is bogus because the whole song has a bunch of sports chiches in it and this is just one of them. If you listen to the entire song, you will know it has nothing to do with domestic violence. This country is too sensitive these days. The song isn’t terrible at all. It’s a catchy song that may make Danielle a star. Most listeners to country radio are as traditional as they once were so it doesn’t bother me this song isn’t as traditional.

      Like

  11. southtexaspistolero August 31, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    Just listened.

    Yep. That’s pretty bad. Not quite as bad as “Ridiculous,” but like I said in regards to Steven Tyler vis-à-vis Bret Michaels, if that’s the benchmark for quality, we might as well nuke the Grand Ole Opry and be done with it. Just another turd in the road to “country” being the catch-all term for “music made by white people.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jason August 31, 2015 / 10:01 pm

    Wow is this bad. The constant sports references sloppily shoved in is distracting, and that chorus is beyond grating. The only good thing in the whole song is Bradbery herself, she sounds fine, except for that chorus of course. I’d give it a 1/10, if only because the singing is fine for the most part.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ron12274 August 31, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      The bridge isn’t overly terrible, but that chorus is beyond horrific and kills any chance the song had

      Like

      • Jason September 1, 2015 / 9:25 am

        The chorus reminds me of “Kick The Dust Up”. That’s never a good thing when I’m comparing anything with that song.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. petemarshall724 August 31, 2015 / 11:42 pm

    This is a nightmare. this song is downright terrible and I don’t know why this is considered a country song. I feel like I am dreaming about listening this horrific so-called country song. I go in my room to listen some real country music to cleanse my ears after this garbage.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lorenzo September 1, 2015 / 5:14 am

    what is this? What a waste of a talented singer! her song young in America had an amazing production and now she releases this abortion to country radio?

    Like

  15. fromthewordsofbr September 1, 2015 / 10:40 am

    Man, look at that HAIM rip-off on the cover! The sisters really need to file a lawsuit…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Amanda September 25, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Friend Zone is the worst song I think I’ve ever heard!!! It’s not country music and it shouldn’t be played on country music channels. What was her record label thinking. Horrible investment. I will continue to turn the channel every time this song comes on the radio!

    Like

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