Country Perspective’s 2015 Worst Album of the Year

When it came to mainstream country music, I thought it couldn’t get any worse than bro country. Allow me to say that I was dead wrong. This past year we saw mainstream country take in influences from Funk, R&B, rap, and just about anything else. To sum it up: everything was country music in 2015 except ACTUAL country music. Needless to say, there was plenty of music glued to the bottom of the barrel to choose for this award. When I reviewed Thomas Rhett’s Tangled Up, I thought I had heard the worst album of the year. But there was one album worse. There was one album that completely exemplifies everything wrong with mainstream country music from the past three years. That album, my friends, is none other than Old Dominion’s Meat and Candy.

Old Dominion takes the spoken word/R&B influences of Sam Hunt and combines them with the bro country douchebaggery of Florida Georgia Line to make some truly awful songs. The band’s debut single, “Break Up With Him,” has already been heavily criticized on this site and was nominated for Worst Song of the Year. That song merely scratches the surface of the cocky, dude bro attitude found on Meat and Candy. “Wrong Turns” is a song that sounds like a rejected Florida Georgia Line song. “Half Empty” plays on the glass half full/half empty motif for a “will you hook up with me tonight” song. “Beer Can in a Truck Bed” is a song that compares the narrator’s sexual intentions to a literal beer can rolling in a truck bed. “Let the night do what it does best. Shake me up and baby turn me loose. I just wanna roll around with you.” And “Said Nobody” uses the pop culture phrase “said nobody ever” as the hook for a song about wanting to get with a girl. “Don’t come any closer; Don’t give me a kiss cause I don’t wanna taste your lips. Said nobody, said nobody, ever.” Somehow I believe people have said that before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if lead singer Matthew Ramsey has heard a few girls say that to him.

Meat and Candy is the 1997 Batman & Robin movie of country music: a terrible, campy media piece that’s loud, shallow, and full of awkward, cringe-worthy lines. The album is nothing more than 11 songs about wanting to have sex with a girl. Any girl. Old Dominion screams desperation in their hook up attempts with some of the lamest pick up lines and moves:

  • “Strictly outta curiosity, what would happen if you got with me? Kissin’ you would hit the spot with me. Come on skip a couple rocks with me.” – “Snapback”
  • “Hey girl, what’s up?” – “Break Up With Him”
  • “No pressure, whatever, just do what you gotta do, but if I was you I’d tell him that it’s over, then bring it on over.” – “Break Up With Him”
  • Completely changing your interests and personality so she’ll like you – “Crazy Beautiful Sexy”

That is more creepy than it is charming. The icing on the cake of Old Dominion’s desperate, douchey approach to women is in “Til It’s Over.” The entire lyrics basically read as “girl, there’s no pressure but I want to have sex. Seriously though, no pressure, you can say no and leave. But I really want you stay. But for real, no pressure you can go. But I really just want you to stay and have sex.” The way these guys lay out the story is mind numbingly idiotic. Take a look a the song’s chorus.

We can keep it on the couch
And keep the lights on
Naked makin’ out, or keep our clothes on
Don’t worry ’bout where it’s going
If it dead ends, or if it’s headed
Up the stairs or down the block
If it last forever or until one o’clock
It is what it is ’til it was what it was
Let it do what it does ’til it’s over
If it’s right then it’s right
If it’s wrong then it’s wrong
Let’s keep playing the song ’til it’s over

There isn’t one redeemable song on Meat and Candy. All 11 songs do nothing but add to the pile of bro country songs. It’s the album born out of the Tinder hook-up culture of 2015 and acts as the poster child for all dude bros who do nothing but chug cheap beer and expect any woman within sight to be willing to have sex with him. Meat and Candy combines the worst parts of country music’s worst sins of the last three years and boils them together for an album of nonsensical noise. In a year with a ton of bad music, Old Dominion has given us the worst of the worst.

Review – Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him”

Old Dominion

Country music in 2015 has been a tale of two ends of the spectrum. On one end, there’s been a seemingly endless list of great country albums released. There has been non-stop quality music pouring out every week. Then on the other end of the spectrum, there’s been a steady release of absolute hot garbage and it’s all coming from mainstream country music for the most part. Just when you think you’ve heard the dumbest song of the year, another one comes along to prove you wrong. Old Dominion’s newest single “Break Up With Him” fits in with the latter. Old Dominion is a relatively new group made up of Matthew Ramsey (lead singer), Trevor Rosen (guitar and keyboard), Whit Sellers (drums), Geoff Sprung (bass) and Brad Tursi (guitar). They chose the name “Old Dominion” because it’s the nickname for the state of Virginia and all of them have ties to it. Believe it or not, they have some good songwriting to their credit: Ramsey and Rosen helped write Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do,” Rosen helped write Chris Young’s “Neon” and Tursi helped write Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” and some Randy Rogers Band songs.

With all of this in mind, it baffles me that Tursi is also the writer behind the group’s new single “Break Up With Him” (by the way Shane McAnally produced their new EP). But before I get to the song, let’s talk about this album cover above. I know I’ve bashed it on Twitter and right here on the site, but this needs a proper breakdown to describe its horribleness. What the hell are they going for here? From what I can gather, I think they’re trying to recreate the picture of George Washington and his men crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution, but they just look like tools trying to emulate it. There’s an American flag jammed into the middle of it to show their patriotism (insert gagging here). Then they’re using their guitars to paddle the boat, which is like taking a playbook right out of 80s glam rock. Seriously go listen to cheesy 80s rock and this is the kind of goofy stuff that was in those songs. Finally there’s the awkward poses each member is in. I just…why?

The song itself is even worse than the album cover. It starts out with the spoken word, pseudo rap bullshit that Sam Hunt started to use in all of his songs and is now spreading like wildfire through country music (hello Jake Owen and Keith Urban). It’s annoying and adds nothing to the music. Why people get amusement out of this is beyond my comprehension. The song itself is about a man who’s drunk and calls up a girl he likes. Then he proceeds to tell her that she needs to break up with her current boyfriend and hook up with him. Say what? Basically this guy is whining and advocating for a girl to break up with her boyfriend, who is never mentioned to have done anything wrong throughout the song. This guy is such a whiny douche that he thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to break up a relationship, which by all indications is going fine, for his own gain. Could you find a clearer definition of an asshole than this guy? The vocals, when Old Dominion is actually singing, isn’t half bad. You could do better, but you could also do worse. In other words, their singing isn’t anything special. The instrumentation isn’t really country at all, as it has a pop beat for the most part throughout with the exception of light acoustic guitar play in the chorus. So once again nothing special from Old Dominion.

Country music has gotten enough terrible music from all of the bro country artists invading the genre and now Sam Hunt is leading in a wave of spoken word pop music that is even worse. This is my first impression of Old Dominion and it isn’t a good one. Releasing a single like this early in your career shows me a lot of what you’re trying to accomplish as artists. It shows that you only care about popularity and quality is the last thing on your mind. “Break Up With Him” takes the worst elements of Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the worst elements of Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy” to make one of the most irritable country songs of 2015. I listened to this a few times and started to develop a light headache. That tells you what you need to know about “Break Up With Him.” Avoid this song at all costs.

Grade: 0/10