One of the biggest stories in country music this year has been the palpable influence of R&B and EDM on the genre. This has not just impacted mainstream country music, but independent country music and Texas Country to certain degrees too. The result? Some of the most godawful music I’ve ever heard in my life. Derek and myself have had the misfortune to listen to and review some pretty terrible music. Bro country may pretty much be dead, but it’s been replaced by something even worse. To give you an idea of how bad it is, “John Cougar John Deere John 3:16” and “High Class” didn’t even make the nominees list. And it’s straight bro country.
When determining the worst song of the year winner, we will take into consideration a few key aspects: stupidity of the lyrics, terribleness of the production and instrumentation, how did it affect the artist’s career (last year’s winner “Donkey” sunk Jerrod Niemann’s career), did the artist sell out and of course how uncreative it is. In other words, this song has to be legendarily bad. Last year we only had five nominees for this award, as we found it easy to pinpoint the top candidates. This year though it’s more than doubled in nominees, as there were just so many bad songs.
Derek and I will ultimately make the call on who wins, but you the readers will have a voice in this too. Be sure tell us who you think should win this dishonorable award, as your feedback will most certainly be considered. Without further ado, here are the 15 songs we fill are worthy of being considered Country Perspective’s 2015 Worst Song of the Year award winner.
country artist Kelsea Ballerini made her arrival onto mainstream country music this year and the music hasn’t been very damn good. While her lead single “Love Me Like You Mean It” was bad enough, she managed to top it in awfulness with her second single “Dibs.” Not only is the spoken word delivery grating to the ears, but the lyrics are garbage.
I’m going to get to why this song ultimately doesn’t work: Rhett himself. You give this song to Bruno Mars, take out the awkward production, replace it with Mars-like production and you have yourself a mega pop hit. I would also enjoy the hell out of it. Rhett’s version of this song is terrible because Rhett does not have the charisma and soul of Mars to pull the song off. You need a high energy singer with great chops to make this song great and Rhett simply doesn’t have that. I feel like the instrumentation swallows his voice on this song. You notice everything else on this song before Rhett’s voice. This is by design of course because the catchy beat is what will pull in gullible casual listeners. They don’t care about the fact that this song isn’t country in any way possible.
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.
Right away you can tell this is just another pop country, minus the country, party song that caters to radio. The opening lyrics indicate it’s a guy in a bar or club talking it up with a girl and of course trying to get lucky. It’s yet another hookup song. Also it’s under neon lights because that’s supposed to make this song hip and cool. The instrumentation in this song is your generic, adult-contemporary sound with the nothing special guitar lyrics. In other words, same shit different song. The chorus of this song is an annoying ear worm meant to get stuck in your head and drive you nuts. Not in a good way either.
All I know is this is another song where RaeLynn suggests the girl should let the boy be in control and dictate the relationship. This type of song has not only been done to death by country music, but by RaeLynn herself. She can’t sing a song about anything else other than boys? Is it impossible for her to dig deep and sing something with depth? So far, based on her library of songs released, the answer to both is yes. The only thing I can say I liked about this song was the banjo, but it was pretty much buried throughout the song in favor of heavy pop influences and instrument machines. RaeLynn’s twang in her voice when she sings is still as thick as peanut butter and drags the quality of her music down even further. I mean it’s bad enough the lyrics are uninspiring and terrible, but her over-twanged voice just makes the song even worse.
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.
“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?
They promised it was going away! This shit is old and no one is amused anymore. Bro country is like a damn cockroach. You think you’ve killed it but this bug continues to slither along. The chorus for this song is even worse. Wanna take a guess what the main theme is? If your answer is kissing, you’re correct. It doesn’t exactly take a Rhodes scholar to figure it out. But it’s not just kissing! It’s about kissing all over the place. From the moonlight to a red light to neon light to the morning, there’s kissing. How creative! Even Richard Dawson thinks this is overkill in the kissing department. You know what’s sad though? Those aren’t even the worst parts of the song. No, the worst part and also most laughable comes after the first chorus. It’s when Ray utters the line: “Oh you little outlaw.” Hahahahahaha! Wait I’m not done yet. Hahahaha!
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?
This is basically Bryan’s version of Jason Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down.” For a song that’s supposed to be sexy, Bryan sure sounds serious. And who the hell finds this crap to be sexy? All I picture is a 40 year-old Bryan lurching at a 16 year-old girl across the bar thinking she’s 18. The definition of creepy! Also this isn’t country at all.
Then Jekyll + Hyde finally arrived to our mailboxes and we ripped off the plastic wrap as quick as we could for an album we all anticipated to be great. The first track on the album? The song Zac Brown predicted to be a crossover hit, “Beautiful Drug.” And then it happened. The moment Zac Brown Band took the metaphorical knife and stabbed it in our backs. Of course we didn’t recognize it yet, as the faith was still there, despite it being reduced. My ears didn’t know what to think. The rest of the album was rocky too. It took several listens for the anger and realization to sit in: Zac Brown Band cut an EDM song and blatantly led the album off with it. Betrayal and disappointment immediately came to mind.
Is this a country song? Fuck no. “But hey he’s singing about a small town! That counts right?” No, it does not gullible bro country fan. I’m sick and tired of hearing about small towns in “country” songs. “Break Up In A Small Town” features spoken word in the whole first minute of the song. When Hunt is “singing,” it’s borderline rapping (shitty rapping I may add). There are also synths and electric beats that are laden throughout this song too. I just can’t anymore. Fuck this song.
These two had a relatively quiet year, but they still managed to put out a terrible enough single to make the list. It’s a shame “Sun Daze” was released officially in 2014, otherwise it might have won. But “Sippin’ On Fire” is pretty bad too.
“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.
Aldean breaks out the sexual innuendos 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.
And finally a song we didn’t review, but we certainly would have been remiss to leave off the nominees list…
Haley Georgia – “Ridiculous”
Remember this pile of shit of a song? It was so damn bad that Derek and myself refused to review it. Haley Georgia makes RaeLynn sound better by comparison, which is truly impression. While it never made the impression her camp had hopes of making on radio and mainstream country, it’s hard to forget a horrendous song like this one. And despite not getting a review, it could end up easily winning our 2015 Worst Song of the Year award.
That’s your nominees! Tell us who you think should win below.