Billboard Top 25 Country Albums This Week [May 2]

Reba Love Somebody

  1. Reba – Love Somebody
  2. Dwight Yoakam – Second Hand Heart (Grade: 10/10)
  3. Sam Hunt – Montevallo  (Grade: 1/10)
  4. Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes (Grade: 0/10)
  5. Various Artists – NOW That’s What I Call ACM Awards: 50 Years 
  6. Darius Rucker – Southern Style (Grade: 5.5/10)
  7. Little Big Town – Pain Killer (Grade: 3/10)
  8. Eric Church – The Outsiders
  9. Luke Bryan – Spring Break…Checkin’ Out (Grade: 2.5/10)
  10. Miranda Lambert – Platinum
  11. Luke Bryan – Crash My Party
  12. Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt (Grade: 3/10)
  13. Cole Swindell – Cole Swindell
  14. Dierks Bentley – Riser
  15. Chase Rice – Ignite the Night (Grade: 2/10)
  16. Blake Shelton – Bringing Back The Sunshine (Grade: 4/10)
  17. Various Artists – 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards ZinePak
  18. Lee Brice – I Don’t Dance (Grade: 5/10)
  19. Carrie Underwood – Greatest Hits: Decade #1
  20. Garth Brooks – Man Against Machine (Grade: 7.5/10)
  21. Brantley Gilbert – Just As I Am (Grade: 5/10)
  22. Thomas Rhett – It Goes Like This
  23. Kenny Chesney – The Big Revival (Grade: 4.5/10)
  24. Zac Brown Band – Greatest Hits So Far…
  25. Tim McGraw – Sundown Heaven Town (Grade: 7.5/10)

Notes:

  • Reba’s new album Love Somebody is this week’s new top album. This is a good sign for her after a slow start with her lead single from it.
  • Dwight Yoakam debuts on the chart just behind her at #2 with his excellent new album Second Hand Hearts.
  • The album that topped the chart for the last two weeks, Darius Rucker’s Southern Style, fell five spots to #6.
  • Little Big Town continues to gain big sales off the “Girl Crush” controversy, as their 2014 album Pain Killer moves up five spots from #12 to #7.
  • Luke Bryan and his spring break EP fell five spots to #9.
  • Miranda Lambert’s Platinum moved up four spots to #10 and Cole Swindell’s self-titled debut album moved up four spots to #13. The ACM Awards certainly gave them a boost and is the reason the chart is so radically different from last week.
  • Jason Aldean and his 2014 album Old Boots, New Dirt fell six spots from #6 to #12.
  • Dierks Bentley’s Riser album was this week’s biggest gainer, moving up 11 spots from #25 to #14.
  • Chase Rice’s Ignite The Night fell five spots to #15.
  • Blake Shelton’s Bringing Back The Sunshine moved up five spots to #16.
  • The 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards ZinePak fell eight spots to #17.
  • The biggest loser this week was Lee Brice and his 2014 album I Don’t Dance, which fell 11 spots from #7 to #18.
  • Carrie Underwood’s greatest hits album fell eight spots this week.
  • Thomas Rhett’s It Goes Like This re-entered the chart at #22 this week.
  • Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town fell seven spots from #18 to #25.

 

Source: Billboard

The 2015 ACM Awards: The Highs & Lows of a Boring & Weird Show

2015 ACM Awards

The 50th edition of the ACM Awards aired last night on CBS and it was many things. For starters it was quite long, as the show ran for three and a half hours. If you were watching live like me, it felt like six hours. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But then again it was quite boring. A big part of it may have been the fact that the winners of the awards were pretty predictable and there wasn’t any suspense. There were several guests, with some of them adding to the show while others clearly hurt it (I’ll get to that here in a minute). The 2015 ACM Awards had some highs and many lows. We’ll start first with the highs. Before that though I just want to thank everyone again who followed along on the live blog and on Twitter last night. I had a blast talking about the show with all of you. Also welcome new readers! So without further ado let’s get to the fallout of the ACM Awards…

The Highs

  • George Strait’s Performance – King George went out on the stage and did what he always does: sing great country music. He performed a medley consisting of the classic “All My Exes Live in Texas” and his new single “Let It Go.” In addition to the great performance, he gave a classy speech in accepting his Milestone Award. Strait was awesome. Also I guarantee he high-tailed it out of there after this because I didn’t see him the rest of the show. Brad Paisley wanted him to join in on singing “Crushin’ It,” so that gave him more incentive to leave. Thank you, George.
  • Randy Travis Shout Out – Shortly after Strait, Lee Brice gave a very nice shout out to country music legend Randy Travis. The crowd gave him an ovation, which he full-heartedly deserves. He’s been battling numerous health problems over the last year and it was just great to see him.
  • Tony Romo Burns Blake Shelton – I’m not a big fan of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but I like him a lot more after the burn he put on Blake Shelton. During a little back and forth Blake made a masturbation joke I believe. Romo uttered at him: “Blake, we’re the Dallas Cowboys, we have real balls.” In the words of Michael Scott, “Boom! Roasted!”
  • Martina McBride’s Performs “Independence Day” – The iconic McBride performed her mid-90s hit and sounded good despite terrible production work and being in a cavernous stadium. It just reminded me of how much I would like to hear her back on country radio again.
  • Dierks Bentley Performs “Riser” – It was satisfying to see Dierks Bentley perform this type of song on a big stage. It was also nice for the writer of the song Travis Meadows. Bentley is working on his new record right now, but I hope that “Riser” gets released as a single before the new record is released. Seeing it performed at the ACM Awards certainly gives me some hope.
  • Little Big Town Performs “Girl Crush” – As most country fans are aware, the group’s latest single has been talked about a lot in the past month for it’s “controversy.” I’m glad they performed it tonight and for anyone out there who still thinks this is a “lesbian” song, you’re an idiot. By the way it was a nice performance, as Fairchild’s vocals were spot on.
  • Reba’s Medley – While I didn’t like her most recent single, I thought her medley performance last night was great. While I would rather hear her sing a full song than a medley (another thing I’ll get to in a minute), I thought she nailed her performance. She really hit the high notes well.
  • Taylor Swift’s Milestone Award Speech – While I’m on record as being not a big fan of Taylor Swift’s work, I have come around on her since she has went pop. After listening to her speech accepting the Milestone Award that the CMA basically used to force her into appearing, I think I like her now. She handled such a weird situation with poise and grace. She thanked country music for giving her the start she needed to become a superstar and all of the fans for their support. Swift also reinforced that she has moved on to pop, but did it in a polite manner. It really painted her in a good light. Meanwhile it makes country music look like the ex who just can’t move on from the broken relationship.
  • Dwight Yoakam Being Dwight Yoakam – Just seeing him on the show was nice. Standing out there with duct tape next to faux outlaw artist Justin Moore, who somehow tore his skinny jeans, with a disinterested look was just icing on the cake. Can Yoakam host next year’s show?
  • Brooks & Dunn’s Performance – The last quality performance from the night came from the great 90s duo Brooks & Dunn, who reunited for the first time in a few years. They sounded just as good as ever and reminded me that they were once the ones dominating the duos awards instead of Florida Georgia Line. Simply put the “old people” kicked the younger performer’s asses tonight.

The Lows

  • Stop The Medleys! – Almost every performance throughout the show was a medley and it drove me absolutely nuts. It drove a lot of people nuts. Apparently since many in today’s world have such short attention spans, full songs weren’t to bothered with. George Strait’s medley was the only one where I could remember all of the songs in it because there were only two songs. The rest had so many songs that I couldn’t remember them all. It makes for pretty non-memorable performances.
  • The Production Value Was Terrible – As someone who is familiar with the workings of television production, I can tell you the 50th ACM Awards featured some of the worst production I’ve ever seen at a major awards show. The cameras were all over the place and people constantly couldn’t figure out where to look or they were off on their cues. It made for some awkward moments. Justin Moore looked completely lost. Steven Tyler was cut off. I will cut them some slack for the fact that the show was in the gigantic Cowboys Stadium, where a country awards show should never be done. It made performances sound much worse than they should have. Regardless if I were CBS I would take a good luck at the production team after that show.
  • The Merle Haggard “tribute” – The 2015 ACM Awards kicked off with a Merle Haggard tribute, performed by Eric Church and Keith Urban. This all seemed well enough and any time the Hag gets recognized is a good thing. The problem is the “tribute” sucked. Haggard wasn’t even at the show and he was only featured on the video behind Church and Urban for around ten seconds. I think Taylor Swift got more airtime during the tribute. To top it all off the tribute song was just a terrible rock song and name-dropped Haggard. It wasn’t even a Haggard song. This was a joke of a tribute.
  • Florida Georgia Line Performs “Sippin’ On Fire” – This went about how I expected it to go. It was terrible. The duo was even more off pitch than usual with the performance taking place in a stadium. Which leads me to ask why do people pay money to hear a concert from these two? You’re better off throwing money into a fire pit.
  • Miranda Lambert’s Domination – Now before you Miranda fans start to tear me a new one, let me explain. I’m not saying Lambert didn’t deserve to win her awards, as her Platinum album was one of the best in mainstream country last year. No, the problem is her winning everything at every award show. Ask any sports fan and they’ll tell you they hate it when a certain team dominates for years on end (unless you’re a fan of that team of course). It’s the same case here. It doesn’t look good for country music to have the same artist winning over and over. As they say variety is the spice of life. I have no problem with Lambert winning, but can somebody else win too?
  • Jason Aldean Performs a Medley – This was the kind of train wreck I expected coming into this show. After a minute of this in the background I had to hit mute. This could have passed as the bro country mashup.
  • Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett & Sam Hunt Barely Sing; Suck Anyway – The three finalists for New Artist of the Year award all performed on the show. Thankfully they each sang only two or three lines from each of their latest respective hits. But they still managed to be among the worst of the show. Swindell is still bland as a loaf of white bread. Rhett is a black hole of charisma. Sam Hunt didn’t even sing, he just spoke “Take Your Time.” By the way I realized I shouldn’t have been surprised with Swindell winning. Many Bryan fans are Swindell fans and they almost all threw their massive support behind Swindell. Meanwhile Rhett doesn’t have nearly as big of a fan base and Hunt has pop fans who probably weren’t even aware that the ACM Awards aired last night.
  • The Lesser Known Artists Being Forced to Stand Next to a Truck – This was a sad and cruel joke. All of the second-rate artists just happy to be there were forced to stand next to a truck and deliver transition promos between commercials. I mean Big & Rich doing it was kind of funny. But Mickey Guyton being reduced to this instead of performing is a war crime.
  • Dan + Shay + Nick Jonas = Bad Music – I thankfully missed this performance because I was taking a bathroom break. Great timing, huh? By all accounts this was garbage and I’m not going to watch it to verify. In the comments section, let me know over or under two years Dan + Shay are gone from country music.
  • Terrible Guests That Added Nothing to the Show – Christina Aguilera, Steven Tyler and Dr. Phil were all on this show for some reason. Aguilera performed with Rascal Flatts, in one of the oddest pairings I thought I would never see and never wanted to see. She was only there to promote her appearance on the ABC show Nashville. Still the possibility of a country record is there and as much as I roll my eyes at this thought, I also realize it would be more country than a lot of other mainstream albums. Steven Tyler was barely thrown in towards the end, but what little he said didn’t catch people’s attention. It was his hideous pants. Take a look at them. I’m no fashion expert, but those belong in the garbage. Dr. Phil was the strangest guest appearance of the night. By the time he wondered onto the show I was pretty zoned out. I don’t know why he was there. Maybe some therapy after all of the medleys the audience had to sit through?

Overall I would give this show a C-. The veteran country artists and Taylor Swift of all people saved this show from being a complete waste. This show was also almost too boring to hate. I don’t think I’ll remember anything from this show and that’s bad news for the ACM Awards because this was a milestone show.

What did you think of it? What are your highs and lows? Sound off in the comments! 

2015 ACM Awards – Live Results & Analysis

2015 ACM Awards

One of country music’s biggest awards shows of the year has arrived. The 50th ACM Awards will hit the air at 8 pm ET tonight on CBS. If you don’t have CBS or you’ve cut the cord, no worries. You can also stream it live on CBS’ All Access app. For more information on this, click here. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton will once again host the show, which will be taking place in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Several performers are slated to perform on the show, including Garth Brooks, George Strait and Reba. To see the full list of performers, click here.

Since it’s the 50th edition of the ACM Awards, the academy is going all out for this one. Some of things they do will work well. Other things not so much. We’ll applaud, cheer, laugh and cringe throughout the hours long show. And you should do it right here on Country Perspective! I’ll be posting live results as they’re happening through the night with some snarky analysis for good measure. As for my live commentary and full analysis of the show, I’ll be live tweeting on Twitter. You can follow me at @realcountryview or twitter.com/realcountryview. For those not on Twitter you can simply go to the Twitter link I just listed and hit refresh throughout the night. Derek is also live tweeting the show and you can follow him @DHWritesCountry or twitter.com/DHWritesCountry.

Be sure to check out my predictions and thoughts coming into the show here. I feel better about these predictions than my Grammy ones, as these country awards shows are more predictable. I’m just happy if I get above 50% correct. And hey feel free to throw in your own predictions too. So let’s watch the ACM Awards together and be sure to keep hitting refresh to keep up with all of the happenings of the show!

Live Results

Entertainer of the Year

Winner: Luke Bryan

Everyone thought Miranda Lambert would take this award too, but I knew better. Did you really think some celebrity endorsements would win her the award? Bryan fans are nuts and vote like crazy. It’s the reason Cole Swindell pulled off the upset and won New Artist of the Year. I would’ve liked to have seen Garth Brooks win, but then again it’s kind of a good punishment for him for choosing such terrible singles. So Bryan wins this year and his camp will shut the hell up about last year.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Winner: Jason Aldean

Female Vocalist of the Year

Winner: Miranda Lambert

Vocal Duo of the Year

Winner: Florida Georgia Line

Vocal Group of the Year

Winner: Little Big Town

New Artist of the Year

Winner: Cole Swindell 

Pretty big surprise here. I thought for sure Sam Hunt had this locked up, being that he has dominated the charts lately. Regardless all three finalists for this award were a damn joke.

Album of the Year

Winner: Miranda Lambert – Platinum

Single Record of the Year

Winner: Lee Brice – “I Don’t Dance”

Song of the Year

Winner: Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”

Video of the Year

Winner: Dierks Bentley – “Drunk on a Plane”

Vocal Event of the Year

Winner: Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan – “This is How We Roll”

 

To see the nominees for every single award, click here.

Predictions For The 2015 ACM Awards: The Winners, The Losers & Maybe Some Country Music?

2015 ACM Awards

Well here we are; another country music awards show is here. The 50th ACM Awards show has arrived. Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will once again host the show, which will air on Sunday on CBS at 8 pm ET from Dallas. It’ll be held in Cowboys Stadium, aka Jerry Jones’ Death Star. Also with Bryan and Shelton hosting again we are guaranteed to have some stupid moments/sketches that further embarrass country music. Aren’t awards shows great? There really isn’t a lot in my opinion to be excited about with this year’s ACM Awards, unlike last year where everyone tuned in to see if George Strait or Luke Bryan would in Entertainer of the Year. No, I’m more interested in ACM Presents: Superstar Duets where we get to see Cole Swindell try to sing alongside Alan Jackson. The train wreck factor is sky-high and I love to watch a good train wreck. But sadly that won’t be airing until May, as it’s only being taped this weekend. Don’t worry I’ll be live blogging that one too.

Back to this year’s ACM Awards, which look pretty predictable on paper. Miranda Lambert leads all artists in nominations with nine, which shocks nobody. Dierks Bentley follows with seven nominations and Florida Georgia Line after that with five nominations. Miranda will once again rack up a lot of hardware. That’s inevitable. I’m hoping for some sort of surprise so I don’t go crazy watching this show. I’ll be posting live results here on Sunday night, as we do on every awards show. You can follow along and react together right here on Country Perspective. And I’ll be live tweeting my thoughts too. One way or another I’m going to find a way to make this show entertaining because ACM surely isn’t. So without further ado let’s take a look at the 2015 ACM Awards:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Garth Brooks
  • Jason Aldean
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Luke Bryan
  • Florida Georgia Line

Who I Think Wins: Luke Bryan because he got “snubbed” last year according to this camp. Whatever. Garth Brooks and his camp have been pushing hard, but I have yet to be convinced that Garth has the same sway and power he did in his heyday. He has done nothing on radio upon his return due to the fact that he picked the worst single choices possible. I have no idea what the hell his team was thinking by choosing “People Loving People” and “Mom” as singles. Garth’s comeback has been nothing but a giant yawn. But hey he still sells out stadiums and arenas.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. Sturgill Simpson is better than all of the above artists and would be my pick to win.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Blake Shelton
  • Brad Paisley
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Eric Church
  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan

Who I Think Wins: Jason Aldean has won this award two years in a row. Blake Shelton won in 2011. I think it comes down to these two on who wins. I’ll go with Aldean just because he whined about the CMA Awards snubbing him and the ACM Awards seem to like him. Plus Aldean has had more success with his newest album and singles.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Dierks Bentley because he was the only one of those six above to put out a good album in 2014. Bentley’s singles also performed well across the board. I still don’t understand how Brad Paisley got nominated and Tim McGraw didn’t.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Brandy Clark
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Martina McBride
  • Miranda Lambert

Who I Think Wins: Miranda Lambert. You can take this one to the bank.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Carrie Underwood because she arguably released the best single in mainstream country music in 2014. Her newest single “Little Toy Guns” will also be one of the best singles in mainstream country music in 2015. I’d think Carrie would get tired of losing to Miranda, but many Carrie fans would point out former Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton would be to blame. We’ll have to wait and see if the new CEO helps Carrie on the next round of awards shows.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae
  • The Swon Brothers

Who I Think Wins: Florida Georgia Line. Maddie & Tae aren’t ready to compete with them yet. The rest of the candidates are laughable.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. I would pick First Aid Kit, winner of Country Perspective’s 2014 Group of the Year award.

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

Who I Think Wins: Little Big Town because they by far have gotten the most acclaim and attention in the last year. The recent buzz about “Girl Crush” guarantee they win this award. Zac Brown Band will be the favorites next year since they’re releasing a new album this year. The Band Perry and Rascal Flatts are just filling spots. Lady Antebellum is irrelevant.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. Write-in Old Crow Medicine Show.

New Artist of the Year

  • Sam Hunt
  • Cole Swindell
  • Thomas Rhett

Who I Think Wins: Shoot me. You know my thoughts on these three nominees. All three get their asses kissed pretty hard by Music Row and country radio, but out of the three Hunt is the most prized asshole. He’ll win this one and be declared the new face of country music while I contemplate throwing stuff.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None of these three, that’s for damn sure. If it was up to me I would give New Artist of the Year to Karen Jonas. If I had to pick a mainstream artist, it would be Eric Paslay.

Album of the Year

  • Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt
  • Little Big Town – Pain Killer
  • Miranda Lambert – Platinum
  • Dierks Bentley – Riser
  • Eric Church – The Outsiders

Who I Think Wins: Conventional wisdom says to pick Miranda to win, so I’m going to pick Platinum to win. I thought about picking Church’s The Outsiders, but then I remembered Lambert won a Grammy for best country album. If you’re going against Miranda in a category, you’re screwed. Sorry Church fans.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Once again, none of these nominees. Sure Dierks Bentley’s Riser album was good, but it’s not album of the year good. I’d go with Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, our 2014 Album of the Year winner.

Single Record of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Dirt” – Florida Georgia Line
  • “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
  • “I Don’t Dance” – Lee Brice

Who I Think Wins: Remember when I said above if you go against Miranda in an award category, you’re screwed? Well I would like to add an addendum. If you’re Florida Georgia Line you have a chance. Those are the two it will come down to here. It’s a real tossup, but I think Florida Georgia Line will pull off the minor upset. “Dirt” was a much more popular song than “Automatic” last year.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Not only do I think “Dirt” will win, but I would also pick it. Listen, these two tools do a lot of stuff wrong and we picked their 2014 album Anything Goes as the winner of Country Perspective’s 2014 Worst Album of the Year. But they deserve to be recognized for finally getting a song right. As they say a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then, so it wouldn’t be fair to rob blind squirrels.

Song of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Drink A Beer” – Luke Bryan
  • “Follow Your Arrow” – Kacey Musgraves
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown” – Eric Church
  • “I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley

Who I Think Wins: This is by far the most wide open award this year. Each song has some sort of case to win. I’ve decided to pick Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” to win for two reasons. First the song has already won numerous awards, so giving it another one wouldn’t look out of the ordinary. The second reason and this is the most important is because of the recent incident with “Girl Crush.” A lot of cries of homophobia in country music was echoed by people across the country with this incident and giving “Follow Your Arrow” song of the year would help country music’s image and silence some vocal opponents.

Who I Would Pick to Win: I’d give Song of the Year to Dierks Bentley’s “I Hold On” because it was an underrated song and arguably one of Dierks’ best singles of his career. People wonder why Dierks releases stupid songs like “Drunk on a Plane” and the reason why is because he never gets enough credit for his more substantial singles.

Video of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Cop Car” – Keith Urban
  • “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell
  • “Somethin’ Bad” – Carrie Underwood & Miranda Lambert

Who I Think Wins: Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert’s “Somethin’ Bad” because it gives Carrie an award and Miranda another one.

Who I Would Pick To Win: I don’t care about this at all.

Vocal Event of the Year

  • “Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe
  • “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
  • “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood
  • “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan
  • “The South” – The Cadillac Three, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley & Mike Eli

Who I Think Wins: “This Is How We Roll” because it’s the collaboration of country music’s two biggest cash cows. It experienced some cross-over appeal too. I’m just glad this is the last we’ll hear of this song on an awards show. By the way I have to ask: Have any of you even heard “The South”? I’m guessing no. And if you’re wondering why it’s here it’s because of politics.

Who I Would Pick to Win: “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” because McGraw deserves some kind of award for his good 2014 album Sundown Heaven Town. If I’m a McGraw fan, I’m pretty angry about the ACMs practically shutting him out. We’ll see if they give him anything.

That’s all of this year’s major awards at the ACMs. Who are your picks to win? Do you have much interest at all in this year’s show? Weigh-in below!

The Hodgepodge: The Resurgence of Vinyl & Why I Love It

Record Player

It’s no secret that music sales have seen a dip in recent years. This is especially the case when it comes to albums. Unless your Taylor Swift, artists struggle to get albums sold and as a result more emphasis has been put on singles. Another reason singles have been getting more emphasis than albums is streaming is now the most popular way listeners consume music. In 2014, on-demand streaming, both video and audio, was up 54%. This was no surprise to me. What was a big surprise to me however was the other format that experienced a gain in 2014: vinyl. What? People still listen to vinyl I thought? Indeed they do as vinyl experienced a gain of 54% in sales in 2014. In 2014, 9.2 million vinyl was sold compared to 2013 when 6.1 million vinyl was sold. These were the only two format to experience gains in sales. Digital album sales and digital song sales were both down 9% and 12% respectively.

As a 22-year-old person, I only remember back to cassettes being a thing. And that was when I was really young. For the majority of my life music was consumed either via CD or through digital means. With vinyl experiencing its highest sales since 1991 (Soundtrack started tracking sales then), this resurgence both perplexed me and intrigued me. In an age where digital music was right at your finger tips I didn’t see the need for vinyl. I chalked this up to just hipsters being hipsters and told myself to just move on. But I couldn’t do that. I found myself still intrigued as to why people love vinyl. I noticed a lot of the artists I listen to put their music out in vinyl too. For me this was a strange and new format.

Now being a history buff I was well aware of vinyl and how it was the way music was put out decades before. I worked briefly with vinyl as a radio DJ at my alma mater. When I say it briefly I mean one time and then never again. It was so much easier just queuing everything up digitally. Even CDs were much easier to work with than vinyl. By the way kudos to DJs back in the 60s and 70s who had to spin vinyl on the radio. That wasn’t easy work. So the point is that was the only taste of vinyl I had in my life up to this point.

I began to research online about why people love vinyl and why people have begun collecting it again. The most common reasons I came across were the sound quality, actually owning the music and the album format. Nostalgia was another reason listed, but obviously that couldn’t apply to me. The sound quality reason is a pretty hotly debated topic among audiophiles and casual listeners. Some people swear up and down that the sound of vinyl is much better than the sound of digital. Others say the exact opposite. As for my take, it depends on a variety of factors, but mainly it comes down to the vinyl pressing quality and the quality of the device you play it on. For the most part though, I don’t sense a huge difference between the sound on digital and the sound on vinyl. Your experience may vary.

The other two reasons certainly appealed to me. As I’ve said numerous times here on Country Perspective, I’ve found myself buying more albums than singles now. I used to just buy singles solely, but now I hardly ever buy singles. It’s made me understand why Garth Brooks wants his music not to be sold individually. Most true artists want you to listen to the whole album and really you should have to listen to a whole album to understand a song. A perfect example of this is Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly. Each song tells a different part of the story being told and you have to listen to it from beginning to end to fully grasp it. As for owning the music, I’ve always been strictly against stealing music online. I’ve always bought my music legally. But buying it digitally certainly isn’t the same as buying a physical album. It’s just another file on your computer.

So with this all in mind I dove into the world of vinyl. I only bought two albums at first to make sure I enjoyed the format enough to continue my collection. I made sure to buy two albums I love too, as they could always be nice collectibles. The first two vinyl I ever bought were Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and AC/DC’s Back in Black. Now you know how much I love Sturgill’s album, as it was Country Perspective’s 2014 Album of the Year. Back in Black to me is one of the best rock albums ever. Each song is simply great and it’s an album I can put on and listen to anytime, anywhere and enjoy it. Soon I bought another one. Then a couple more. Before I knew it I had myself a growing collection. Now I’m kind of addicted to vinyl. It’s crazy.

Why do I love this crazy format? Well more than anything it combines two of my favorite pastimes: listening to music and collecting stuff. From an early age I’ve always like to collect stuff from rocks (not my dumbest collection idea) to books to baseball cards (this is dumber than collecting rocks). I’ve also always liked looking at album cover art and the writing credits, things that are more emphasized in vinyl covers. Another pro of vinyl collecting today compared to yesteryear is most come with a CD and/or digital download copy of the album. You get two, possibly three formats, for the price of one. That’s a pretty good deal to me. And no it’s not just hipsters buying vinyl nor are you a hipster for buying vinyl. It’s a niche hobby for people who have a great passion for music for the most part (there are some hipsters, but they’re avoidable). Digital is still my main format, but vinyl certainly has a place in my heart now too. It’s made me have a greater appreciation for music and I look forward to growing my collection even bigger.

If you’re interested in getting into vinyl too feel free to reach out and I would be happy to answer any questions. There are also many great forums across the Internet that will answer your questions. Also don’t forget that Record Store Day is this Saturday! You can find out more information on that here. One more thing: For those wondering, this is my favorite vinyl record for multiple reasons:

Blackberry Smoke Vinyl

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers will release their new collaborative album Hold My Beer next Monday. You can order the album at this link. I’m pretty excited about hearing this one, as everything I’ve heard from it so far has been great. Two talents like Bowen and Rogers getting together for an album is something that doesn’t happen too often. I’ll definitely have a review on this one.
  • Texas country artist John Moreland will release his new album High Tulsa Heat next Tuesday. This is another album I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about and as someone who isn’t real familiar with Moreland’s work, I’m intrigued to give it a listen.
  • I think next week is Texas country release week. William Clark Green is also coming out with a new album next Tuesday and it’s titled Ringling Road. I’ve seen a lot of critics praise this one too. Can next week get here already?
  • The only mainstream release slated for next week is Brett Eldredge’s new single “Lose My Mind.”

Throwback Thursday Song

Sunny Sweeney – “From A Table Away” – I heard this song come on my local radio station this past week and forgot how great this song is. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear it on the radio. Why Kelsea Ballerini is on the radio and not Sweeney is beyond comprehension. Well I actually know why. But still Sweeney rocks and blows most on the radio away.

Non-Country Song of the Week

Sam Cooke – “Chain Gang” – You know that funky, upbeat sound of Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn”? He ripped it off from Cooke’s “Chain Gang,” which is a way better song. Just give it a listen. It sounds exactly the same as the rhythm of “Chain Gang.” If I’m in charge of Cooke’s estate, I would be working on a law suit plan right now.

Tweet of the Week

You hear that Cole Swindell and Chase Rice? You’re creeps. Listen to Lindi Ortega.

Two iTunes Reviews That Will Make You Face Palm

Rhett Crash & Burn Stupid Comment 1

Rhett Crash & Burn Stupid Comment 2

Double the stupidity this week! These were both left under Thomas Rhett’s new single “Crash and Burn.” Apparently the first reviewer has never heard any of Rhett’s music that preceded his latest single. The second reviewer is just a moron. When Rhett’s career crashes and burns I hope he takes these two fans with him.

Schedule Note: There will not be a past pulse post this week. Between the large amount of album releases and covering the 50th ACM Awards, I just didn’t have time to do one this week. It’ll return next week. However I have a review coming out tomorrow of one of my favorite country albums of 2015 you don’t want to miss.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments!