Mainstream country music in 2014 was a party: a party in a small town field, on the beach, in countless fields, riverbanks, and tailgates. And when the vanilla pop-country melodies got old, more and more hip-hop influenced sounds took over. This all came to a roaring rise in popularity when Jerrod Niemann found massive success with “Drink to That All Night.” Quickly rapped, auto-tuned verses on top of a club beat took Niemann’s song to the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. At the time (however short-lived), “Drink to That All Night” was probably the most un-country song to achieve such success. So how did Jeorrd Niemann follow-up his commercial mega-hit? By releasing Country Perspective’s Worst Song of 2014: “Donkey.”
Yes, “Donkey” is what Josh and I believe to be the worst song of the year. Now, the song had some tough competition from Florida Georgia Line (“Sun Daze”) and Jason Aldean (“Burnin’ It Down”), but the fact of the matter is, “Donkey” has pretty much killed Jerrod Niemann’s commercial appeal. While “Drink to That All Night” topped the Airplay charts, “Donkey” peaked at 43 on the same chart. And Niemann’s current single, “Buzz Back Girl” merely sits at 35 at the moment. Niemann was on fire with “Drink to That All Night”; a simple, backyard bon fire, and “Donkey” extinguished that fire like a fire truck hose at full force. And if one song is bad enough to do that, then it’s bad enough to be the worst song of the year.
Why, you may ask, is it so bad? Well to start, Niemann’s voice here is way too distorted to make anyone believe it came from an actual human. This distorted robot provides us with an awful spoken-word rap about wrecking his truck and being left penniless. So in order to get to the party in town, Niemann hops on his trusty steed to ride him in. Just read the lyrics to the chorus. “Gonna ride that donkey donkey, down to the honky tonky, it’s gonna get funky funky.” I can’t believe that anyone with a pulse could actually think that these lyrics were worthy to be heard, let alone even put on paper. I have to imagine that everyone from the writers to the producers, even Niemann himself, were drunk through the entire process of creating this poor excuse for music. That’s the only possible explanation that I could accept for this song.
But the second verse here is just the worst damn thing ever. Firstly, there’s a name drop of George Jones and referencing Jones’ famous booze run on a John Deere. LEAVE THE POSSUM OUT OF THIS SHIT. HE DOESN’T BELONG IN YOUR STUPID DONKEY SONG. And sure, the jockey bros make fun of Niemann, but he doesn’t care, because the girls think it’s cool. Why do they think it’s cool? Again, just read the lyrics to get the full effect of the awfulness: “But the ladies think it’s cool, I kick it with a mule. I fill their glass, they tip them back; they dig the way I ride that ass and I do, you would if you could, too. They all walk funny when they’re done, riding you know who.” In third verse, Jerrod wants to pick up a girl and romp in the hay with her… well if that’s your go-to pick up line, good luck. And they actually pulled a donkey mask out for a live performance of the song. Maybe, just maybe, if this song was left on the album as a sort of fun joke for the fans, then it could have a just enough pass to avoid this distinction. But since they released the song as a serious single, it deserves to be hated on in full force.
I’ll leave you with this: The beat of Jerrod Niemann singing “gonna ride that donkey, donkey” sounds an awful lot like this song by 12 Gauge released 20 years ago. I only know that song from the National Cheerleading Championship routine from the 2004 movie Dodgeball. I’m thankful that Dodgeball didn’t come out this year, or “The Donkey’s” could have danced to the worst country song of 2014, and I would forever be subjected to listening to this crap while watching my favorite comedy movie.
Here’s to hoping 2015’s worst country song isn’t worse than “Donkey”………