Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament: Egregious 8

The Sour 16 round of Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament is now over! It was definitely a lot quieter than the first round, although that didn’t make the results any less intriguing. Who moved on…

Egregious 8 Country Perspective's 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament

 

Unlike the first round where we had very two close contests, this round featured all blowouts as the field really starts to narrow down to the absolute worst. In the Pop Artists Region, the #1 seed Sam Hunt blew out #16 seed RaeLynn, winning nearly 75% of the vote. I’m surprised RaeLynn didn’t draw more ire. Then again I think the main factor that came into play here was impact, as Hunt’s impact is way larger than RaeLynn’s impact. #9 seed Kane Brown had a similar result as he took down #25 seed and the Cinderella of the tournament, Chris Lane, winning over 72% of the vote. I have to believe the “one hit wonder” factor came into play here, as Lane only has the one terrible single that has made an impact compared to Brown who appears to breaking out in 2016 and set to make a big impact. In the We’re A Group & We Suck Region, #4 seed Florida Georgia Line and #5 seed Old Dominion both destroyed their opponents, #13 seed LoCash and #12 seed Dan + Shay respectively. This region has played out exactly how everyone expected it to go, as there aren’t too many toxic groups in country music. It’s certainly making me reconsider regions for next year’s tournament.

In the Good ‘Ol Bros Region, #2 seed Thomas Rhett obliterated #18 seed Justin Moore with over 87% of the vote. The match-up of #7 seed Brantley Gilbert and #10 seed Chase Rice was expected to be close by yours truly, but I turned out to be wrong. Rice continues his momentum, as he easily beats Gilbert, winning just over 67% of the vote. You the voters have made it loud and clear that I under-seeded Rice. I underestimated the amount of ire you still hold towards him. Finally in the Georgia Region, #3 seed Luke Bryan took care of #14 seed Dustin Lynch, winning exactly 80% of the vote. Once again I was wrong in predicting a close match-up, this one being #6 seed Cole Swindell versus #11 seed Jason Aldean. While it was close very early and finished as the closest result, in the end it was obvious as Swindell won over 59% of the vote to Aldean’s nearly 41% of the vote. What put Swindell over the top seemed to be his clear lack of quality music compared to Aldean having some quality music, despite Aldean’s obvious detrimental impact on the genre over the last few years.

We now move on to the Egregious Eight, where the match-ups get even tougher to decide. For those who aren’t aware of the definition of egregious, it means “outstandingly bad.” The perfect description for our remaining eight! In the Pop Artists Region Final, we have #1 seed Sam Hunt taking on #9 seed Kane Brown. In one corner you have an artist who has introduced metro bro to the genre and in the other we have an artist who calls themselves “the Justin Bieber of country music.” Hunt has clearly made the bigger impact on the genre to this point, but Brown appears poised to make a big impact himself. Hunt is still the clear favorite here, but I could certainly see Brown making it interesting.

In the We’re A Group & We Suck Region Final, #4 seed Florida Georgia Line meets #5 seed Old Dominion in a truly titanic meeting. Two years ago Florida Georgia Line received our Worst Album of the Year award. Last year Old Dominion won the same award. I’ll be completely shocked if this doesn’t go down to the wire. Florida Georgia Line made bro country huge and while their stature has slipped some lately, the sour taste they left in many people’s mouth is still there. Old Dominion is rapidly gaining popularity and racking up hits, appearing to be the next big group in mainstream country. Their lead singer Matthew Ramsey also has one of the most unlikable personas in the genre and it rubs off in the music, most notably on “Break Up With Him.” So out with the old or in with the new?

In the Good ‘Ol Bros Region Final, #2 seed Thomas Rhett faces off with #10 seed Chase Rice. Rhett has made it to this spot rather comfortably, as his awfulness is in full swing at the moment and shows no signs of slowing. But he meets his toughest test in Rice, who has beat opponents with surprisingly relative ease. There’s a great chance Rice might not even make the tournament next year, as he rose up the ranks by latching onto the bro country fad that is clearly dead now. He hasn’t even made that big of an impact in his short time in mainstream country. Yet you the readers have made it clear you don’t like him. Not sure how this one will play out. Finally we have the match-up I’m the most intrigued by and will watch closely. In the Georgia Region Final, #3 seed Luke Bryan will square off with protégé and #6 seed Cole Swindell. Bryan is the godfather of bro country and has continued his reign of terror by getting on the metro bro wagon. Of course everyone knows Swindell was a former merchandise peddler for Bryan and is what led to him getting his big break. Bryan essentially created Swindell. So you the voter is tasked with voting for Dr. Frankenstein or Frankenstein’s monster.

Remember you can only vote once, as much as you want to vote for both. I can’t wait to see how the Egregious Eight plays out! Thank you all to everyone who has voted and participated so far. We’re getting down to the truly worst and hope all of you will continue to participate. The polls for this round will open on Monday March 28 at 1 PM ET. May the worst win!

8 thoughts on “Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament: Egregious 8

  1. Raymond March 23, 2016 / 5:14 pm

    Once again I’m finding each match up easy (except one). Kane Brown has no charisma at least Sam Hunt has a little bit, very little that and I like his current song “Make You Miss Me”. Old Dominion has yet to put out one mediocre song, but FGL has “Confession” “Dirt” and I actually kinda liked “Round Here” (yes it was bro-country, but Tyler’s vocals were tolerable. I will admit Thomas Rhett and Chase Rice is a little difficult, I do think I’m going to go with Chase Rice, only cause I was really fond of “Playing With Fire” (more cause of Jordan Sparks than anything). Finally for Luke Bryan vs Cole Swindell. It comes down to this, Luke is still the front man for country music and I doubt Cole Swindell ever gets to those stages. I legit doubt it.

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  2. Cobra March 23, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    For me, Sam Hunt takes it over Kane Brown on the simple fact of current impact. Kane Brown may be set to break out, but to this point, Sam Hunt is the one who is leading the charge of terribleness.

    I think impact draws the same conclusion for me with choosing Rhett as worse than Rice. Rice may be terrible, but he’s not even that popular when you think about it: he’s only had two top 10 hits while Rhett is making a string of bad songs popular.

    FGL vs. Old Dominion may be the toughest choice, here. Both are abysmal, but FGL has basically led the charge of bro-country and perpetuated it on and on, and they’re too dumb (or at least pretend to be) to even know it.

    I think Luke Bryan is an easy choice over Cole Swindell. Not only is Luke Bryan awful, but he’s also responsible for unleashing Cole Swindell on the world, so therefore, he has that to answer for as well.

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  3. Kevin Davis March 23, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    Yeah, I think you under-seeded Chase Rice. It was not difficult at all for me to pick him over Brantley. I can at least name a few Brantley Gilbert songs that I like or tolerate or, at least, don’t change the radio station to NPR. As for Chase Rice, he is completely unbearable.

    For what it’s worth, I’m hoping to see the following in the final four: Sam Hunt, Old Dominion, Chase Rice, and Luke Bryan. Yes, I actually dislike Rice more than I dislike Rhett! If it’s between Hunt and Old Dominion on the left side of the bracket, then I honestly don’t know who is worse. Hunt is worse in terms of influence, but Old Dominion is a bunch of completely untalented hacks and, by all appearances, douchebags.

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  4. Nadia Lockheart March 23, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    I’m going to think hard over two of these four match-ups, I think.

    The Thomas Rhett/Chase Rice match-up, in particular, is difficult figuring out (in my opinion) for the following considerations:

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    1) We have no idea yet what Chase Rice’s forthcoming album will consist of and how true to his word or not Rice will be in seeking substance with his newer material. For all we know, what’s “substantive” to him might actually be shallow a la “Drink A Beer”. On the other hand, he has demonstrated before in faint flashes that he can deliver something fairly decent as he has with “Carolina Can” and “Jack Daniels and Jesus”. So I almost feel as though I’m refusing to give Rice the opportunity/benefit of the doubt in result.

    2) Rhett and Rice, at least in my view, appear to be notorious for notably different reasons. With Rhett, he’s mainly notorious for his nepotism, loathed hit singles and basically wanting to be Bruno Mars but lacking his distinctive charm and charisma, though appearing to be likeable enough as a person. With Rice, he’s mainly notorious for his obnoxious personality in interviews and social media, while he has received significantly less airplay. Thus, what matters more? The actual songs, image, or something else altogether?

    3) Both entertainers are relevant, but in notably different ways. Rhett is a more established kind of star who has risen to fame off of hit singles. With Rice, on the other hand, his fame appears to be more cult-like; similar to that of the “BG Nation” loyalty model………………where he’s not exactly smashing the charts but is nonetheless a steady, bankable presence due to word of mouth. What does this mean when relevancy is concerned?

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    So, I’m going to have to think that match-up a lot more thoroughly.

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    Luke Bryan and Cole Swindell is also proving to be surprisingly difficult to decipher too.

    Firstly, Bryan has a much more extensive discography than Swindell. Swindell has only released a solitary full-length album and two EPs thus far, while Luke Bryan has released five full-length albums and seven EPs. And while I was not impressed with Swindell’s attempt at more serious material with “You Should Be Here”, who’s to say how reflective it is of the album as a whole?

    Secondly, where Bryan has proven to only get worse and worse each respective album cycle, Swindell’s current single……………while still not good………………is nonetheless an improvement from his preceding singles. Momentum/trending matters, too, but we have such limited data to work with on Swindell’s part.

    Thirdly, Bryan and Swindell have notably different personalities despite pandering to the same listening demographic. Bryan is clearly aspiring to be the theatrical sexpot superstar, while Swindell is more the tamer “Aw shucks!” kind of entertainer who is viewed by many here as milquetoast and a walking cliche. So what’s worse: being aggressively over-the-top and exuberant, or aggressively white bread and predictable? It’ll be interesting to see the end result.

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    The other two match-ups are more certain to me.

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  5. Jason March 23, 2016 / 11:10 pm

    Hunt vs Brown
    Sam Hunt is garbage. I really do like Kane Browns vocals and that’s the only thing that’ll keep me from voting for him, where Sam Hunt is painfully bland.

    Rhett vs Rice
    Thomas Rhett runs away with my vote. How much do I hate his music? Honestly, it’s probably a wa crime to use his music as a torture method. Anybody who willingly listens to a song with such well thought out lyrics as “hair messed up like a guns and roses video, oh oh, so hot” needs to be introduced to Jason Isbell or William Michael Morgan.

    Bryan vs Swindell
    Bryan has showed his capable of making good music. His new single is decent. Cole Swindell’s single is good, but his entire first album was loaded with bro country, paint by numbers garbage. Swindell also has a stunning lack of charisma, and is downright unlikeable sometimes (remember “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”?). Bryan at least sounds like he cares about his music, and rarely comes off as unlikeable, save for maybe one song.

    FGL vs Old Dominion
    Old Dominion wins by a hair. FGL has shown that they can make good music with the Anything Like Me EP. Brian Kelley is a decent singer, and Tyler Hubbard can be good when he’s not exaggerating his accent. Add onto that the fact that there were actually quite a few songs from Anything Goes that I enjoyed, and Old Dominion wins easily.

    Hunt vs Brown is going to be the closest; while Hunt is a bland vocalist, his technical writing is excellent. Meanwhile, Kane Browns vocals are excellent, especially in the lower range, but the songwriting is bland even by bro country standards. All the match ups are going to be close.

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  6. Luiz March 24, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    The Final : Sam Hunt x Thomas Rhett

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    • Nadia Lockheart March 24, 2016 / 3:22 pm

      If I have my way, it will be Sam Hunt versus Old Dominion.

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  7. ludocracy April 5, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    At 14 seconds into the Raelynn video clip for that execrable “song” For A Boy, we see a vinyl copy of Fragile, by Yes.

    There’s more musicality in the run out groove of that single prog rock album than in the entirety of Raelynn’s career – including the rest of it yet to come.

    Atrocious pap.

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