The Hodgepodge: The Confusing Saga of The Band Perry Continues…..

The Band Perry confuses me. I have no clue what their intention is within the music industry. Are they mindless drones stuck in a contract that rebrands the band every year? Or are the three Perry siblings just trying to do all the different musical genres they can? The spark notes of the band’s short history:

  • In 2010, they release their first album with the great single “If I Die Young.” It’s an album I actually enjoy with a good modern country production.
  • Two years later, the band releases their follow up album Pioneer. The album has a little bit of more edge to it with songs like “Better Dig Two”, “DONE!” and “Chainsaw” being released as singles.
  • In 2014, The Band Perry returns to total country roots with their rendition of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind” released as a standalone single. A recording that won the band a Grammy last year.
  • Late last year, the band takes a 180 turn and decides they want to be a pop group, with “Live Forever” acting as the jumping single for this transition. “Live Forever” bombs on the charts and The Band Perry stumbles through an awkward period of having their third album release get delayed, getting dropped from their label and presumably taking the reigns themselves for their pop move.
  • And now The Band Perry signs a joint deal with UMG’s Interscope and Mercury Nashville and is readying a new single for country radio titled “Comeback Kid.”

The big take away from all this is that The Band Perry’s attempt to turn pop failed…miserably. The new yellow branding and inspirational, youthful pop anthems like “Live Forever” and “Put Me in the Game Coach” crashed hard and fast. And now with “Comeback Kid,” the band is desperately trying to erase any evidence of the past 11 months. They’ve deleted all their tweets prior to the comeback branding, their website is completely redesigned with the ugly pink/beige color and typewriter text, only promoting upcoming concerts and the Fan Club. Yet going to their online store, for the moment, one can find old shirts for “Live Forever” on a page still designed for the Heart + Beat brand.

Clearly the band is moving on from the failed pop experiment and trying to reestablish themselves in country music. They’ve given no hint or preview as to what “Comeback Kid” may sound like. So maybe it’ll be more country along the lines of “If I Die Young” or “Gentle On My Mind”, or maybe it’ll be a song more in line with the Adult Contemporary musical trend hitting Nashville at the moment. But the real question is, how seriously will people take this move and return?

A year ago, The Band Perry basically admitted that they were a musical sellout by blatantly shifting to pop without warning. Are fans and radio alike ready to welcome the group back with open arms? It’s not like The Band Perry’s absence over the last year has been noticeable or left a gaping hole in country music, unlike Taylor Swift’s departure to pop. I’m sure if UMG is willing to sign the band after this failed move to pop, then the label is ready to invest some time and money to make sure The Band Perry’s image and inclusion in country music isn’t affected.

As someone who has mostly enjoyed the band’s output so far, I can’t say I’m excited about this. I think moving on and forgetting isn’t a good strategy. Personally, I’d like to see some transparency from the band about the move to pop, how it didn’t work, and why they did what they did. I do respect them for returning to country and possibly (hopefully) returning to their folksy/pop country style of music because that’s who they are. I just want to see them approach this comeback with some accountability that their attempt to move pop wasn’t a good move. Even Kimberly Perry took to twitter to throw some shade toward Little Big Town about collaborating with Pharrell, because we can only assume that was what The Band Perry was doing/wanted to do with their pop album. (Can’t link the tweet because even the siblings’ personal accounts have had tweets deleted).

August 1st will be the day that some of these questions will be answered. For some, The Band Perry may be forever tainted by this ungraceful move to pop, and others undoubtedly will be excited for the new music as if nothing happened. Aside from the fact that country radio is congested with singers desperately trying to make a name for themselves, I don’t think The Band Perry’s return to country will be smooth or grand. Maybe they’ll get a top 20 single with “Comeback Kid”, but I think this move pop hurt the band’s standing within the country music industry. And now they’re crawling back as if the last year didn’t happen. Regardless of how good their music ends up being, I think their musical saga lately has hurt the band to the point that they’ll never again be as big a country group as they were in the first half of the decade.

Upcoming/Recent Country and Americana Releases

  • The Turnpike Troubadours have a new single called “Come As You Are.” The song will officially be available for purchase tomorrow.
  • Blackberry Smoke has released a new single to promote a new album. “Waiting For the Thunder” will be the first track off their upcoming album Like an Arrow, expected October 14.
  • Lori McKenna‘s The Bird & The Rifle will be released tomorrow.
  • Hillary Scott‘s Love Remains will also be released tomorrow.
  • Cody Jinks‘ I’m Not the Devil will be released on August 12.
  • American Aquarium frontman BJ Barham will release a solo album called Rockingham on August 19.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Sick and Tired” Cross Canadian Ragweed (feat. Lee Ann Womack) From the band’s great album Soul Gravity, this collaboration with Womack has some excellent lyrics and great vocal harmonies. The song managed to hit 46 on the charts in 2004.

Non Country Suggestion of the Week

Cold War Kids. I as continue to explore some modern music outside of country and Americana, I heard this song on Alternative radio and I like it a lot. I’ve been listening to the band’s new album Hold My Home and it’s good music to check out.

Tweet of the Week

In the short lived twitter feud between Dylan Scott and Wheeler Walker Jr., Dylan Scott came to defend Chewbacca Mom after she joined him on the Opry stage. If you follow WWJ on twitter, then you probably know he hates that Chewbacca Mom has become so famous from her laugh video, and made fun of modern country’s embrace of the internet sensation. Dylan Scott (who has since deleted all the tweets) claimed that Walker’s music is trash and not representative of country music. That was an entertaining half hour to witness on twitter, and I hope someone somewhere grabbed screenshots of Scott’s tweets.

iTunes Reviews for Brantley Gilbert’s “The Weekend”

We’re sure has hell not going to bother with reviewing “The Weekend”, as I’m pretty sure our regular readers can anticipate what we’d say about it. But in case you’re curious, these reviews about sum up how I feel.

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The consensus here speaks volumes.

Country Perspective’s 2014 Worst Country Song of the Year Nominees

 

As 2014 comes to a close, Country Perspective will be handing out a number of awards to the artists, songs, and albums we covered over the year. We’ll be crowning the best of the best and the worst of the worst. While there was a lot of good in country music this year, we were also subjected to a lot of bad songs in 2014. Some artists had a single or two that made us cringe, while others released albums full of terrible songs. We have an extensive list of worst song nominees, but I will highlight five I believe are the true worst of the worst.

From Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender” to Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking” our male-female groups sold out for airplay. We had bro-country galore with “Where It’s At (Yep Yep)”, “Beachin”, “Yeah” by Joe Nichols, Dylan Scott’s “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm”, Lee Brice’s “Girls in Bikinis” and two Cole Swindell number ones. Then we had guys like Chase Rice, Florida Georgia Line, and Sam Hunt release albums with nothing but terrible country songs (save for Rice’s “Jack Daniels and Jesus” and FGL’s “Dirt,” both of which were diamonds in the rough). Let’s not forget Florida Georgia Line’s collaboration with Luke Bryan in “This Is How We Roll.” Brantley Gilbert had some bad hits with “Bottoms Up” and “Small Town Throwdown,” and Blake Shelton’s new album had an ultra dud duet with RaeLynn called “Buzzin’.” Throw in Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” and Toby Keith’s “Drunk Americans” and we have a long list of bad music to consider for this award (and I haven’t even given you the bottom of the barrel yet).

Awards will be handed out in mid-late December. Josh and I will deliberate and reach the final decisions together, but we will also take reader input into consideration. So if you have a strong opinion about a song listed here, or about a song we may have forgotten, feel free to comment below and let us know. Who knows, you may sway the vote!

 

Without further ado, here are my six worst songs from 2014 (some language ahead):

  • Burnin’ It Down” by Jason Aldean – This song isn’t country by any means. It’s just an auto tuned, computerized mess of R&B and pop. Aldean doesn’t take any risk to at least give this an authentic slow-jam feel. “Burnin’ It Down” is just a lazy, monotone, cry for attention.
  • God Made Girls” by RaeLynn – The song that made the heads of feminists everywhere explode. Was this song written by a 5-year-old? As my fiancé said “we wonder why women are underrepresented in modern country music, then they come out with this shit.” What a terrible song.
  • Donkey” by Jerrod Niemann – If you haven’t listened to it yet, here’s a link to it. You’ll understand in about 45 seconds why it’s terrible. If you want to save yourself from ripping your ears off in disgust, then don’t listen to it and just trust me that it sucks.
  • Girl in Your Truck Song” by Maggie Rose – This might be an actual case of Stockholm syndrome. Bro-country has been around so long, that we might as well just sing a song about being that girl. And not to mention, this songwriting is just plain lazy. At least Maddie & Tae turned those bro-lyrics around and threw back at the guys. There’s no cleverness in this attempt by Rose.
  • Lookin’ For That Girl” by Tim McGraw – If you’ve read my reviews of some of the mainstream albums released this year, you know I can’t stand auto tune in country music. And this song is full of Tim McGraw’s awful sounding robotic voice. And with the rest of Sundown Heaven Town being actual country music, it almost makes this song even worse by comparison.
  • Sun Daze” by Florida Georgia Line – A song so pandering, so trying to include every possible demographic that it ends up being an awful, dumb, mess of a song. There’s no continuity: Tyler opens up singing about wearing flip-flops for the country and beach lovers, but then in chorus he sings about lacing his J’s for the hip hop and urban crowd. Then the awful sexual innuendos and shameless name-dropping come in to play. There’s just too much here to sufficiently summarize what makes it bad.

That’s the worst of the worst. Please share your thoughts and help us decide what to crown as the worst country song of 2014.  Any song I talked about in the article is up for consideration, and many of them have a legitimate case to be awarded this oh-so distinctive honor! If you haven’t already, check out the rest of our nominations for our awards: best male and female singers, best duo or group, best and worst albums, and best song of 2014.

Album Review/Rant – Chase Rice’s Ignite the Night

(Warning: This review contains strong language and is intended for mature audiences. Bro country song do in fact get harmed in the making of this review. Viewer discretion is advised.)

This is the review I’ve been dreading and looking forward to for a while. I dreaded it of course because Chase Rice has never produced a single song that has impressed me. He’s did nothing but piggy back off the bro country trend and cash in while it’s hot. He’s also one of the biggest asshats I’ve ever witnessed in country music. Just go look at his Twitter feed and you will find some tweet that is moronic and/or sexist. Case in point:

What a tool! He manages to say the dumbest stuff at the drop of a hat. So why did I look forward to this review? Well this is the first time I have ever reviewed Rice’s work on the site (angry comments on iTunes up until this point) and I’ve been holding back my anger at Rice for this specific review. I came into this review expecting a shitty album. Does he outperform my expectations? Can he deliver any kind of substance whatsoever? We’re going to mix this review up from normal and talk about the worst songs first. Prepare yourselves.

The Worst Songs on the Album

Let’s take it from the top of the album, shall we. By the way I’m going to put at the end of each song how far I made it into it before having to shut if off.

“Ready Set Roll” – Right away the shit starts hitting the fan. You hear the sounds of synths and a robotic voice. It’s an electronic song that is no way country. It has sexist and bro country lyrics littering it throughout. “Ready Set Roll” is a complete and utter cluster fuck of a song. I only made it 1:40 into the song before shutting it off.

“Do It Like This” – Again with the excessive auto tune. Lots of bro country and sexist lyrics again. Mentions a fiddle, yet I don’t hear one. Only two songs in and I’m really pissed off. I made it 1:32.

“Beach Town” – The first thing introduced lyrically in this song? Sex in a lifeguard shack. Kill me. This is Bro at the Beach Part 5,459. I made it 1:29.

“MMM Girl” – It’s like a combination of Dylan Scott’s “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm” and Jerrod Niemann’s “Buzz Back Girl.” Two wrong songs put together don’t make a right song. There are lots of shallow lyrics, bro country tropes and this is starting to infuriate me. Made it 2:04, which is the furthest I’ve made it into a song so far on this album. The overall blandness helped me make it longer.

“Beer with the Boys” – Rice tries to rap/do spoken word in this song. Fuck this shit. A song about girls being submissive to guys. Gahhhh! Made it 1:38.

“Carolina Can” – This song is the first one on the entire album so far that sounds remotely country. “Carolina Can” tries to create emotions of nostalgia and be a song with feeling, but this doesn’t happen because the excessive check list lyrics make this sound like any other shallow bro country song you hear on the radio. The line, “tailgate down on a jacked up truck” is repeated several times. I actually made it through this entire song.

“We Goin’ Out” – And then the album goes back to the absolute bottom of the barrel shit. This song has lots of auto tune, lyrics about partying, immature lyrics and even more auto tune. I shut this song off as soon as Rice gives a shout out to Cole Swindell and his single “Chillin’ It.” I wouldn’t wish this song on my worst enemy. I made it 1:24 into the song.

“Gonna Wanna Tonight” – More excessive auto tune and another song about Rice getting a girl to touch his junk. This is a damn nightmare. 1:22

“Look at My Truck” – Wanna take a guess what this song is about? Synth and electronic sounds kick this monstrosity off. Rice is basically singing an electronic love song to his truck. No more damn trucks! 1:02

“U Turn” – Another electronic song. I heard a few really sexist lyrics and then I shut it off because I don’t want to rip my hair out. I only made it 22 seconds into the song. I guess this is the worst of the worst?

“50 Shades of Crazy” – Really? A fucking reference to the popular book 50 Shades of Grey in a “country” song? Do you think this makes you look smart, Mr. Rice? Well it doesn’t. It’s also another song about Rice wanting a girl to touch his penis. Fuck this song. 1:07

“What’s Your Name” – This is where the album takes a turn down creep street. It’s got a Backstreet Boys’ song vibe to it. This isn’t a good thing. Back to the lyrics of this song, they’re so damn creepy that is makes Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy” sound like a safe and normal song. I hope this song isn’t based on one of Rice’s experiences. I listened to the whole thing to make sure it doesn’t end with a date rape. It’s that damn scary.

“How She Rolls” – Almost done! In this song Rice throws together a bunch of 3rd grade level words and sentences with plenty of bro country tropes sprinkled on top. If you’ve heard one Chase Rice song, you’ve also heard this song. I made it 1:41 into the song. That’s 13 of 14 songs down. What could Rice possibly cap off with on this turd of an album?

The Best Song on the Album

“Jack Daniels and Jesus” – An entire album of complete, utter garbage and then this damn song. A good song! Yes, Chase Rice actually produces one song on the entire album with substance. The synths and other electronic equipment are nowhere in this song and instead it’s just a piano playing. What the hell is going on? This song sticks out like a golden chalice in a mountain of shit. It actually features good songwriting and emotion. The song is about alcohol addiction and the consequences of terrible actions. A man is dealing with his demons and how to get out of them, whether it’s through more debauchery or turning to a higher power. The piano play is solid and Rice has great vocals on this song, proving he can actually sing. Why can’t he do these type of songs all the time? If he’s able to produce a good song like this one, he should be able to produce more. I’m angry and stunned by “Jack Daniels and Jesus.” This saved the album from being a complete waste of time.

Overall Thoughts

For 95% of this album, Rice lived up to the low expectations I had for him on this album. There were plenty of horrible songs that sounded in no way, shape or form country. There were plenty of bro country, shallow, sexist, misogynistic and moronic lyrics that showcased the absolute lowest form a country musician could possibly sink. I thought this album was going to put Sam Hunt’s latest EP to shame and proclaim itself to be the worst collection of shitty music I’ve ever reviewed on Country Perspective. And then against all odds Chase Rice delivered the first song I could ever deem to be good. My head is spinning as to how and why this song was on the album. Did Rice get almost done making Ignite the Night and finally realize that the bro country trend is dying, causing him to whip up a song with substance? This has to be the only possible explanation I can conclude. If it wasn’t for “Jack Daniels and Jesus” this album would have received a 0. Hell this song might be the one that saves Rice from becoming irrelevant once bro country finally dies off completely. Rice is capable of making a good country song, but absolutely horrendous songs too. I’m just glad I’m done listening to this album.

Grade: 2/10

Review – Joe Nichols’ “Yeah”

“Say it ain’t so, Joe.” That was what a boy uttered to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, one of the infamous players involved in the “Black Sox” scandal, as he walked out of a trial investigating the 1919 World Series being fixed. I also uttered this after hearing Joe Nichols’ latest single, “Yeah.” Nichols was one of my favorites to listen to on country radio in the early 2000s because of his smooth baritone voice and his meaningful songs. And now it appears he’s one of the bros of bro country. The Joe Nichols that sang “Brokenheartsville” would slap the “Yeah” Joe Nichols right across the face I would imagine (if time travel were possible). Let’s delve into this monotonous song.

We’re going to play the same game with this song as we did with Dylan Scott’s “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.” Let’s see if it hits everything lyrically on the bro country song checklist. Does the song have a field mentioned? Yeah. A truck? Yeah. A tailgate? Yeah. A reference to alcohol? Yeah. A river or river bank? Yeah. The moonlight? Yeah. A “girl”? Yeah. Congratulations Joe Nichols! You just hit everything on the bro country checklist with this song. “Yeah” is a sure hit that will make you lots of cash and at the same time make people in critical circles lose respect for you almost immediately.

You might’ve noticed I just said the word “yeah” a lot when going through the checklist. Seven times to be exact. But that isn’t nothing compared to how many times Nichols utters this word in this particular song. He mentions the word “yeah” 43 times. Out of the 351 words that make up this song, 12.25% of these words is “yeah.” Pretty repetitive, huh? Instrumentation wise not much is offered. It’s your typical pop country, play it safe beat. You’ve heard it how many times already on the radio. The writers of this song is Ashley Gorley, whose track record is not too different from Dallas Davidson’s. Several bro country and pop country songs with no meaning populate Gorley’s catalog (along with Big Time Rush, a Nickelodeon boy band). Perhaps another infographic idea in the future?

Regardless, I would like to know what happen to the old Joe Nichols. I miss that artist because he made good country songs and was one of the better ones on country radio. Now the current Joe Nichols is just chasing trends and the almighty dollar. “Yeah” is one of the most disappointing tracks of 2014 and one of the biggest disappointments in Nichols’ career. Avoid this song at all costs because it will get stuck in your head.

Grade: 0/10

Country Perspective’s Weekly Review Roundup: June 23 – June 28

In case you missed any of Country Perspective’s review from the past week, you can catch up right here. Take a look at the music we looked at this past week:

Album Review – First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold Grade: 10/10

Single Review – Kenny Chesney’s “American Kids”Grade: 6.5/10

Single Review – Dylan Scott’s “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm”Grade: 0/10

Album Review – Lucy Hale’s Road BetweenGrade: 7.5/10

If you have any suggestions on what I should review next or any suggestions for the site, let me know in the comments section below. You can also follow me on Twitter @realcountryview  and send suggestions to me on there. I’m hoping for another great week of music and if not, we’ll at least have fun tearing apart the bad music.

Have a great Sunday!