Review – Luke Bryan’s “Kick The Dust Up”

Luke Bryan Kick The Dust Up

Once upon a time in 2013 Luke Bryan released one of the worst country songs of all-time. It was called “That’s My Kind of Night.” It was this song, along with Florida Georgia Line’s cover of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” (of all songs) that made me reach my absolute breaking point with mainstream country music. It was at that moment I started my crusade against bro country (I had just came back to country music after taking a months long hiatus). That is why I throw most of my venom towards Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, as they have the most blood on their hands. Fast-forward to today where Florida Georgia Line is slowing losing relevancy and Luke Bryan just released a new single titled “Kick The Dust Up.” The writers of the song are the exact same troika that wrote “That’s My Kind of Night”: Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley and Dallas Davidson. I never got a chance to pick apart the 2013 hit, but this new single is practically a clone. So let me explain why “Kick The Dust Up” sucks.

Let’s look at the lyrics first, as we start from the top. Here are the opening lyrics of the song:

All week long it’s a farming town making that money grow
Tractors, trucks with flashing lights backing up a two lane road
They take one last lap around, That sun up high goes down and
That song come on girl kick it on back Z71 like a Cadillac

First is the obligatory mention of something related to farming, an earmark of Bryan songs. This is to show everyone how “country” he is because he’s talking about tractors and trucks. And then of course the namedropping of a brand of car, another cliché regularly used in bro country songs. Dallas Davidson’s trademark word “girls” is here too. Remember how much he loves to to use this word or a variation?

Next is the chorus:

We go way out where there ain’t nobody, We turn this cornfield into a party
Pedal to the floorboard end up in a four door burning up the backroad song.
Park it and we pile out, baby watch your step down, Better have your boots on.
Kick the dust up,
back it on up,
fill your cup up,
Let’s tear it up up
And kick the dust up.

And we’re back to the damn cornfields, as this is one of the bros favorite spots to party. It’s important to note it’s on the backroads too, as this shows you’re a “badass outlaw.” More clichés are thrown in: parking, boots and a cup getting filled up. But is it a Dixie cup? How could you not specify, Bryan? This is important stuff!

Bryan then subtly rips the city life in the middle of the song because once again you have to mock those “city boys” for not living life like the bros:

Downtown they got a line of people waiting out the door.
10 dollar drinks, it’s packed inside, I don’t know what their waiting for.
Got me a jar full of ‘Clear and I got that music for your ears
And it’s like knock knock knock goes the diesel,
If you really wanna see the beautiful people

But wait a minute! I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the bro country artists sing about hanging out in clubs. Do they only go there when the country boys aren’t looking? You asshat bro country artists can’t even keep your story straight. Then there’s the obligatory mention of moonshine because country boys don’t drink those fancy city drinks. This is followed by the most douche line I’ve ever heard in a bro country song: And it’s like knock knock knock goes the diesel. I bet Davidson was smiling ear-to-ear as he wrote this horrendous line. Ah, but there is one more line in the song I need to address:

Just follow me down ‘neath the 32 bridge you all gonna be glad you did.

And there it is. The entire premise of every bro country song: trying to have sex down by the (insert bro destination). This time it’s a bridge. This is the same old damn shit we’ve heard for the last three years. As for the instrumentation, it’s a pop, rock, adult contemporary arrangement for the most part. The exception is a Middle Eastern guitar riff that cuts in on the first chorus and plays intermittently for the rest of the song. This is the only part of this song that I don’t hate. But why is it in the song? It doesn’t make any sense at all nor does it match the theme. My guess is that it was thrown in because they thought it sounded cool. Remember we’re not dealing with musicians here, just hit makers looking for more cash.

This isn’t as bad as “That’s My Kind of Night,” but I don’t think even this trio of writers could pen such a terrible song that could top it. “Kick The Dust Up” is still a horrendous song that only contributes more to the gaping black-hole of creativity on country radio right now. Bryan is still churning out the same exact music he was putting out in 2013. In two years time he hasn’t changed a thing. Why? He hasn’t changed because he knows the mainstream country music fans will gobble this turd up just like the previous ones. We can blame these assholes making bro country all we want, but if fans out there keep accepting this kind of trash as music then they’re just as much to blame for country music’s problems too. So if you want to help country music: avoid this song at all cost and go listen to quality country music. Support the artists that deserve it. You can make a difference. “Kick The Dust Up” is just another black eye on the face of country music.

Grade: 0/10

Review – Cole Swindell’s “Let Me See Ya Girl” Is Just Awful

Cole Swindell Let Me See Ya Girl

Cole Swindell just won’t stop. I knew this Luke Bryan merchandise peddler was trouble the moment he arrived into country music with his stupid baseball cap and toothy grin. I remember vividly when I saw the cover for his debut album without a clue of who he was at that point and uttered to myself, “This guy is a Luke Bryan ripoff. I can feel it.” Lo and behold I nailed it. And this was well before I came up with the idea to start Country Perspective. Ever since then he has been swindling country music and radio with his terrible music. If you were to say he was the worst artist in country music in the last five years, I wouldn’t blame you. Swindell is the bottom of the barrel in musical talent. When I saw his next single was “Let Me See Ya Girl,” I rolled my eyes and knew exactly what it would sound like.

Once again I’m right. Then again it’s not too hard to predict Cole Swindell’s music because he’s utterly predictable. This song is straight up, 100% bro country garbage. The song starts off with some of the most generic electric guitar riffs I’ve ever heard. Car commercials have more interesting guitar play than this crap. Swindell begins to sing and sounds like he does in every song, except I’m pretty sure there’s some auto-tune involved this time. You could completely auto-tune Swindell’s voice and it still wouldn’t cover up the fact that he’s a black hole of charisma. Knock Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line all you want (I do), but at least they have some charisma in their vocal delivery. At least they sound like they give a shit about the…well shit coming out of their mouths. Swindell’s voice is about as exciting to listen to as it is to watch paint dry.

The lyrics are a complete train wreck, cliché and stuff we’ve already heard from Swindell before numerous times. Tailgate? Check. Hot girl shaking her ass? Check. Moonlight? Check. Parking on a dirt road? Check. Name drop a southern state? Check. But wait to stay hip to the new modern themes of metropolitan/Sam Hunt trash he makes sure to mention a dance floor and a club. Clubs are apparently the new fields/river banks. The theme of the song is Swindell trying to have sex with a girl in a truck on a dirt road. How original! I was shocked to find out Dallas Davidson had no part in writing this song. This seems to fit the Davidson catalog perfectly. That’s the only surprise of this song. The writers of the song are Swindell, Michael Carter and Jody Stevens. The majority of Carter’s work has been with Bryan and Swindell, but he also helped write Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That.” As for Stevens, read this article on how he produced Swindell’s “Chillin’ It.” These two are Dallas Davidson clones. Gross.

“Let Me See Ya Girl” is another boring and bland bro country song that the world didn’t need to hear. Swindell continues to be the most generic “country” singer I’ve ever heard. I’m so used to this terrible music that I can’t even get that angry anymore. I spend more time yawning and laughing. By the way the funniest part of the song is when Swindell utters in the bridge, “bring the beat back.” I can just picture Swindell wearing his baseball cap backwards and trying so hard to sound cool and sexy saying it. But Swindell can never be cool or sexy. He’s a merchandise peddler pretending to be a country artist. Avoid “Let Me See Ya Girl” at all costs. In fact avoid Swindell’s music at all costs.

Grade: 0/10

Review – Toby Keith’s “Drunk Americans”

Toby Keith recently came under fire with accusations that he played a show drunk in Indiana. Now I don’t have any issues with performers using a tad bit of booze while performing, but from the tweets and videos, it appeared that Toby Keith had crossed the line to the point where that night’s performance was of a lesser quality due to his drunkenness. Now his camp never acknowledged it, and the story didn’t really take flight, but it seemed odd that shortly after those accusations, he announced his new single titled “Drunk Americans.”

The title here is misleading, and the adjective, drunk, is quite out-of-place. The song isn’t about Americans being drunk. If you want a song like that, go listen to Florida Georgia Line. No, “Drunk Americans” is about the two sides of the American culture and how when we all come together and get drunk our differences don’t matter. East coast or West coast? No problem, have a beer. Black or white? There are no racial tensions when you drink a Jack and Coke together. Who cares how much money you make, the 1% and all the poor Americans are all the same as long as they share a margarita. And all our issues in D.C. between the Republicans and Democrats can be resolved through Fireball shots. Actually Toby, I’d venture to guess that Republicans actually give a rat’s ass if someone in their vicinity is a Democrat, but that’s just me. But, congratulations Toby Keith, you’ve found a solution of hundreds of years of issues in our country: let’s just get everyone drunk because when people are drunk they behave properly and don’t ever get in fights over cultural issues like race or homophobia, right Dallas Davidson?

Okay that’s a little exaggerated, but still this song describes how the polar opposites of the American culture don’t matter because we’re all just drunk Americans. Songwriter’s Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Bob DiPiero didn’t leave any group out of this song. As I said above, the word drunk is out-of-place here. Much like Luke Bryan’s “Drink A Beer”, this song attempts to convey some meaning and depth in 99% of the story, and ties it all together with a mention of alcohol. The same point could be reached by saying “We’re just all Americans”, but by describing us all as “drunk”, the writers have ensured that this song is more relevant for country music today. It’s frustrating too because sonically, with banjos and accordions, this song has a country/folk feel to the melody. There really wasn’t a need for a lyrical cliché to justify how country it is like many other country hits.

Overall I just think this is a lazy song with lazy writing. Now I’m a big fan of these songwriters, but I think “Drunk Americans” is a swing and a miss. Even in the production, I feel this song is missing a roaring final chorus to reach the “singalong/we’re all one” impression. This song is without a doubt designed to be a big concert highlight similar to the way fans get pumped for Garth Brooks’ “Friends In Low Places.” Unfortunately, there really isn’t that same passion or intensity brought to the mix in “Drunk Americans.” The beat and rhythm to the words sound choppy and aren’t as catchy as other barroom drinking songs. It’ll be interesting to see where Toby Keith takes his next album. And just for the sake of the album’s quality, I hope more care and effort are put into the rest of those songs than here. “Drunk Americans” aims high and falls way short.

Grade: 1.5/10

 

Album Review & Rant – Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes

(Warning: The following review/rant contains strong language and is intended for mature audiences, which I guess eliminates fans of Florida Georgia Line. Anyway you’ve been warned the language is graphic in this post.)

You thought you could fool everybody? You sneaky bastards thought if you put one decent song out it would keep the critics quiet. That only worked for a couple of weeks. Once I heard your other new singles, Florida Georgia Line I knew you were back to the same old shit. After listening to Anything Goes my thoughts are confirmed. There’s been a lot of bad music released this year, especially here in recent weeks. But the music wasn’t bad enough to make me angry. It was just boring, repetitive and forgettable. This Florida Georgia Line album is all of these things too, but the lyrics in some of these songs are so damn bad that it made me question why I even listen to country music. But then I look at my music library and reminded myself that Florida Georgia Line isn’t country music. It’s just straight up garbage in any genre. Prepare yourself for this review. It gets bumpy.

The Best Song on the Album

Normally it says best songs above, but there’s only good song on this entire album and it’s “Dirt.” This song is true saving grace from this album being a complete waste of time. And really after hearing “Dirt” so many times on the radio it doesn’t sound as good as I originally thought. If you missed my review of that single back in July, click here. I’m not going to waste any more words on it because it’s truly the huge anomaly of this album and really Florida Georgia Line’s career. I wouldn’t be surprised if they never made a good song again.

The Worst Songs on the Album

The rest of the album is basically a pile of crap, so let’s just take it from the top. “Anything Goes” immediately kicks off with auto-tuned hick-hop. My first thought is what did I get myself into? Did you miss the immature and stupid lyrics from these assholes? Well you’re in luck. Everything about this trashy, pop country song is bad. Hubbard’s vocals are flat as usual and the auto-tune is layered on thick. The lyrics are even worse in “Sun Daze.” One of the opening lyrics to this song: “Rock a little bit of hip hop and Haggard and Jagger.” Are you kidding me? The duo goes full asshat douchebag in this song from the production to the lyrics. And then of course the infamous line that has been discussed among serious country music critics for weeks: “Sit you up on the kitchen sink and stick a pink umbrella in your drink.” I think you know what the sexual innuendo is here. I had to stop after hearing this line. This is a bonafide candidate for worst country song of the year.

The next song is called “Good Good.” I’m not joking. What a creative title! It’s just another damn party, feel good song. Shania Twain is name-dropped, which I’m sure will please traditional country fans. You will lose a few IQ points after listening to this ridiculous song. It’s as smart as the “creative” title. “Smile” is about….all who am I kidding. It’s the same old shit from Florida Georgia Line on this song. They’re drinking and trying to screw some girl. That is all they do. If actual songwriters got a hold of this song it could’ve been a sentimental song. Instead it’s just another overproduced pile of shit. The writers of this song are Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley and the king of shit mountain himself Dallas Davidson. Surprisingly this is the only appearance by Davidson in the album.

Other than “Dirt” every single song literally has the same theme up to this point. “Sippin’ On Fire” is about drinking Fireball, but that’s name-dropped in every Florida Georgia Line song. At this point it’s just getting boring. I guess this song is supposed to be a slower song, but to me it’s just another bad song. In the first minute of “Smoke” every single bro country trope is mentioned. I guess to let you know right off the bat that this song also sucks. I just don’t see how anyone can like these songs. They all sound the same, with just rearranged lyrics. If you can stomach the bro country tropes this song isn’t the worst. But then again the bar hasn’t exactly been set high with this duo. The song is about remembering a past girlfriend and actually could’ve been a great song if they just took away all of the horrible, cliché lyrics. “Bumpin’ The Night” is a hooking up, drinking song where I can say pretty much the same thing about it as I just did with “Smoke.”

I can’t prepare you for the next song “Angel.” Part of the chorus for this song is one of the cheesiest pickup lines of all-time. You know the one I’m talking about. This is actually verbatim: “Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?” Hahahahaha! Holy shit! Once you stop laughing from the amount of cheesiness in the chorus the duo actually attempts to be serious in this song. You can’t be taken serious though after uttering such a cliché line. The bro country tropes are light. But the instrumentation is way overproduced. Another song if re-written that could’ve been good. I’m thankful they at least provided this moment of comic relief.

“Confession” actually isn’t a party song. Color me shocked! It’s about reflecting on your past. It tries to be sentimental, but it just doesn’t feel genuine to me. Then again after hearing “Angel” I don’t think I can ever take this duo seriously ever again. It was hard enough before that song. “Like You Ain’t Even Gone” proves Tyler Hubbard should never do spoken word. He isn’t talented enough. And yet here he is doing it on this song. You should only do spoken word if you’re talented and I have an album review coming up where the artist does the art form justice. I don’t even know what this song is about and I don’t care. I just never want to hear it again.

The album mercifully comes to an end with “Every Night,” which reminds of Maroon 5. That should tell you all you need to know about this song. There is one line I would like to point out though. Hubbard sings at one point that “the neighbors probably hate me.” No Tyler that would be everyone who has any kind of respect for decency and not committing crimes against humanity with such horrendous music. It just isn’t traditional country fans, but anyone who hates horrible music.

Overall Thoughts

An Avicii ad played on Spotify as I listened to this album and it sounded just as country as Florida Georgia Line’s songs on Anything Goes. I had to point this out because of how true it is and sad the current situation is in mainstream country music. Maybe some artists are actually striving to make better music, but some clearly want to hold onto bro country with a death grip. And I can’t blame them because it has made a lot of people rich. I have to think at some point though that even the mainstream crowd will get tired of this shit. Everyday I wake up and hope that America has finally given up on Florida Georgia Line and they give them the Nickelback treatment because Florida Georgia Line is truly the Nickelback of country music. Ironically Joey Moi, who produces Nickelback’s albums, also produces Florida Georgia Line’s albums. I told myself “Dirt” was going to prevent this album from receiving a zero, but after listening to it I’ve changed my mind. When you have 11 other songs that are so horrible it tends to cover up the one bright spot on this album. Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes deserves to be the first ever album on Country Perspective to receive a rating of zero.

Grade: 0/10

Album Review – Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt

I don’t beat around the bush with my thoughts, so I’m going to state this right up front about Aldean. The majority of the music he’s released in recent years has been downright horrible. From the horrific hick hop of “Dirt Road Anthem” to the laughable “1994” this guy just hasn’t been cutting it in my book. In fact the last song Aldean released as a single that I liked listening to was “The Truth.” To top it all off Aldean has been in the news the last couple of years for cheating on his ex-wife with mistress and soon to be new wife, ex-American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr. In addition Aldean said in a recent interview with Billboard that he thinks the bro country label is “ridiculous,” probably because this kind of music has made him tons of money. Speaking of bro country I’m going to tell you before I even begin to review his new album Old Boots, New Dirt that it is present on this album and it isn’t pretty. Before we get to the bad part of the album though let’s take a look at what Aldean did right on his new album.

The Best Songs on the Album

There are actually a few decent songs on this album. “Tryin’ To Love Me” is a song about a man recalling a past relationship with a woman who wanted to love him, but he pushed her away. He’s now realizing what she was trying to do and that he screwed up. This song actually has some depth and the lyrics paint a picture in the listener’s head. A good song? Color me shocked. It does have an annoying R&B beat though at the beginning and end of the song. Aldean surprises with another decent song with “Too Fast.” It’s about a man struggling with his alcohol and living life too fast. It’s a rock country song with a good beat. Aldean’s vocals sound well on this song and proves when he isn’t singing bro country that he can tell a story with his songs.

The best song on the album and the highpoint of Old Boots, New Dirt is “Don’t Change Gone.” The song is about a man getting over a breakup and he’s coping with it by changing small things in his daily routine like listening to a different radio station and taking a different route to town. Despite these small changes he realizes she’s gone and she isn’t coming back. This lyrics in this song are actually pretty great and show some emotion. This is the kind of song I want to hear from Aldean every time, but we live in a country music world where we can’t have nice things all of the time from mainstream country music. These type of songs are an anomaly that remain album cuts and never make it to radio hardly. Speaking of radio friendly songs…

The Worst Songs on the Album

One of the worst songs in country music this year, “Burnin’ It Down,” has already been covered and if you want to see my verbal beat down of that horrible song, click here. Unfortunately this song is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad songs on this album. It opens up with “Just Gettin’ Started,” a song that has bro country tropes peppered throughout it. It’s a song about Aldean driving around with a girl and trying to have sex with her. The lyrics are shallow and cliché and the vibe of this song is similar to “Burnin’ It Down.” An electronic pop beat starts off “Sweet Little Somethin’.” If you heard Aldean’s “My Kind of Party” from a few years ago, this is just a faster paced version of it. Aldean of course uses sexist phrases to describe females in the song. This is just another vapid party song.

“Laid Back” is another bro country sing-a-long with beer drinking and driving around in the backwoods. Once again it’s another boring pop country song with kindergarten level lyrics. Aldean breaks out the sexual innuendos again on “Gonna Know We Were Here.” There’s a lyric that mentions “make a few marks, leave a few stains.” This doubles as a reference to driving around in a car and sex because I’m pretty sure cars don’t leave stains. Ugh. This song feels like a trashy Brantley Gilbert song, which really sums up this entire album. Aldean becomes Gilbert and behind the overproduced instrumentation are shallow and boring lyrics.

Despite all of these bad songs, there was one song that stood out amongst this pile of crap that is the most bro country song on the album and that song is “Tonight Looks Good On You.” It’s basically another, slightly less creepy version of “Burnin’ It Down.” The good news is Aldean doesn’t mention getting naked in this song. The bad news is bro country godfather Dallas Davidson helped write this song, so that should give you a pretty good idea of what the lyrics are like in this song. Stay classy Dallas!

The Rest of The Album

“Show You Off” is about a guy showing his girl off to all of his friends. There’s name-dropping of all the major truck brands. It’s your typical pop country sound on radio today. This song tries to be classy about a guy being proud of his girlfriend, but it doesn’t feel this way. Aldean sings about his truck on “If My Truck Could Talk” (shocker). It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, despite a river bank rearing it’s head in the chorus’ lyrics. This is a nostalgia song in the same vein as Kenny Chesney’s “If This Bus Could Talk.” I guess mainstream country stars really love their vehicles. But that’s none of my business.

The album’s title track is about a man moving to a new town to get away from the end of a relationship and his past. The lyrics are laundry list, but at least the theme of this song has some substance. It’s mostly country with some pop elements thrown in. “Old Boots, New Dirt” isn’t bad, but it could’ve been even better. “I Took It With Me” is about a man leaving his town and taking the town’s attitude with him. He’s leaving the small town, yet he romanticized how great it is and how he’ll carry it with him. Basically it’s another song about how great small towns are. How creative! The instrumentation on this song isn’t bad and is actually kind of catchy.

“Miss That Girl” is another heartbreak song where the man realizes what he lost when he lost his ex-girlfriend. It’s similar to “Tryin’ To Love Me” earlier in the album, except the lyrics aren’t quite as good and different people wrote the song. It’s decent. The album mercifully comes to an end with “Two Night Town.” This song tries to be a deep, heartbreak song and instead it just puts me asleep. Aldean can only rehash this theme so many times on the album before I start tuning out. This song is forgettable and I won’t remember it a week from now. At least there’s no goofy R&B beat in this song.

Overall Thoughts

Aldean does what he has been doing the last few years with his albums. There’s a few good album cuts and the rest is just plain terrible. I know one thing I’m certain of: I’m sick and tired of listening to mainstream country music albums because they all sound the same. Just overall mediocre albums that are trying to appeal to their demographics, record labels and the people who eat this type of music right up without even blinking. That’s why I hate these mainstream country albums. They aren’t written towards people who appreciate quality music. The good news is there isn’t any more mainstream cou…wait there’s a Florida Georgia Line album coming out next week. Then Little Big Town and Sam Hunt. Ahhhhhh!

Would I recommend Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt? Let me answer this question with another question. Do you like rehashed crap and wallet chains? If you answered yes, then this album is right up your alley. If you answered no, stay far away from this album.

Grade: 3/10