Country Perspective’s Worst Country Songs of 2016 So Far

We’ve already taken a look at the very best country albums and songs of 2016. Today we start to take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Yes, the very worst country songs of 2016 so far. As much great country music that’s been released, we’ve also had a lot of bad “country” music (or better termed, “Nashville Pop”). The beginning year saw a lot of metro bro music and ripoffs of Ed Sheeran and other pop artists. A lot of country artists are now just going straight pop with their music and yet still calling it country. This has made for some awful music. It feels less than last year though because a lot of the music I’ve found from mainstream this year to be somewhere around boring and mediocre more so than being terrible. But that’s not what this list is about. So now let’s take a look back at the absolute worst of the worst offered from country music in 2016 so far. (Click on the song titles for the full review)

Chris Lane – “Fix”

“Fix” is one of the most blatant attempts I’ve ever seen of making a hit song to appeal to the masses. The look behind the curtain to see “how the sausage is made” makes the song even more repulsive and disgusting. This is not artistry, but rather cold and calculated manufacturing of content to sell. There is nothing thoughtful, original or appealing about this song. Most importantly it’s not country in any way, shape or form. “Fix” is just plain bad and everyone responsible for it should feel bad.

Steven Tyler – “Red, White & You”

I’ve come to two possible conclusions about “Red, White, and You.” The first is, as I’ve said throughout the review, that this song is a cry for attention. It’s a little kid kicking and screaming in the toy aisle at the store. The second possible conclusion is that this song is a brilliant parody of every Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, and Florida Georgia Line song ever. I know that the first one is far more plausible than the second one, but I don’t want to imagine that these lyrics actually exist as a real attempt to get on country radio. I know that some of Aerosmith’s singles weren’t exactly deep, but even “Love in an Elevator” seemed aware of its silliness. “Red, White, and You” though?  It’s a cringe-worthy attempt at a real pop country song. It’s a sad joke with no noticeable self-awareness of how low it stoops.

Old Dominion – “Snapback”

Old Dominion is an absolute abomination to country music. They are the pinnacle of Nashville pop and all of the baggage it brings. “Snapback” is a song with superficial, mind-numbingly dumb lyrics that only young teenage girls who spend their days taking selfies while at Starbucks will enjoy. The amount of synth layered throughout this droning song would make the worst of 80s bands blush. And they loved their synth! To top it all off this song has lots of “whoooooaaaa” echoed throughout to remind us just how creatively brain dead Matthew Ramsey and Old Dominion are when it comes to songwriting. “Snapback” doesn’t belong in country music. It belongs in the garbage.

Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On”

There’s nothing else to say about a song that has nothing to say. “Lights Come On” is just noise that fills space, nothing more and nothing less. There is absolutely nothing fulfilling or moving about this song. It’s sole purpose was to net radio play and endorsement deals from the likes of Bass Pro Shops and Pepsi. This is worse than terrible music because at least terrible music makes me feel rage and anger. I just want to passively loathe Aldean more after hearing this. But hey I’m sure Aldean fans will love this after drinking about ten overpriced beers at some overpriced music festival this summer. “Lights Come On” is the equivalent of a light, nagging headache. Just avoid it or have some aspirin on-hand after hearing this song.

Chase Rice – “Whisper”

I hope to hell Chase Rice is recording better music than “Whisper” for his new album because this is just flat-out awful in whatever genre you would put it in. The shortest way I could possibly describe this song to you is “Ride” part two, a song that was basically a prelude to this one and had just as ridiculous production. Rice is capable of more and promises to show more, but until he walks the walk he will continue to be judged by songs he releases like this one. You can’t be a deep artist unless you put out deep music. “Whisper” is the opposite of deep. It’s shallow, vapid and boring. It’s a complete waste of time and you’re better off for not hearing this song.

Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach”

This song is easily on the level of some of the worst songs I’ve reviewed in recent years during the bro country and metro country eras. Just because this is Dierks Bentley, doesn’t mean he gets a pass. “Somewhere On A Beach” is absolutely terrible. If this song was food, it would be McDonalds. It appeals to the lowest common denominator of taste and it sells like crazy. But it has no nutritional value.

Randy Houser – “Song Number 7”

Randy Houser doesn’t sing with any kind of charisma, and the chorus features some awkward, jarring vocal harmonies that strangely pop way after a natural echo would. The production of this song is crap with random intensified drums. I almost didn’t want to review “Song Number 7”, but it’s such a near copycat of Luke Bryan’s hit that it deserves to be put on this platform. Absolutely no effort went in to making this song even a little original. Instead of playing to Randy Houser’s strength as a vocalist and letting his traditional country-style expand, his label has decided to prop him firmly in the shadows of the A-List bros by having him record songs that continue mainstream country down a path of cutting the same, boring song. “Song Number 7” is terrible due to the fact that it has no originality whatsoever.

Jana Kramer – “Said No One Ever”

This is worst song of the year quality right here, folks. The lyrics have an intelligent level hovering around room temperature. It’s no surprise one of the co-writers of this song is the infamous busbee (the other writers are Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Galyon), who is responsible for a laundry list of generic and terrible songs. This song consists of Kramer singing some ridiculous lyric, followed by “said no one ever.” This song is pretty good…said no one ever.

Kane Brown – “Used To Love You Sober”

Overall “Used To Love You Sober” is at best a very ho-hum, boring song that belongs more in pop than country. At worst it’s a terrible attempt at appearing to be sensitive and emotional, when really it’s just another douche anthem that Sam Hunt has championed at country radio over the last year or so. I’m sure fans of Affliction and Ed Hardy t-shirts will disagree with me though. The one surprising conclusion I’ve come to about Kane Brown is that he isn’t definitively the worst artist at country radio, which is pretty sad considering Brown is a boy band reject from The X-Factor.

And of course we wouldn’t forget the odds on favorite to take home Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Song of the Year Award. Every other terrible song from here on out will have the task to try to topple this shitastic song in awfulness. God speed to them because I don’t think it can be done….

Thomas Rhett – “Vacation”

Tangled Up is an album chock full of ideas and sounds borrowed from others. No other song is as indicative of his lack of originality than “Vacation.” There are 14 credited songwriters for this train wreck. 14! But half of those songwriters come from the band War. Rhett wisely credits the band for the song because the beat of the verses is essentially the beat from “Low Rider.” The song is about a party at home, but the partygoers are acting like they’re on a tropical vacation. It’s stupid lyrics that Thomas Rhett poorly raps set to a borrowed beat. Even the second verse where Rhett raps about a Walgreens beach chair and Busch Light sends the same simple life sentiment of Jake Owen’s “Real Life.”

 

Dishonorable Mentions

  • Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” (All I remember is the annoying whistle in the background)
  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” (Beathard is the worst vocalist in country music today)
  • Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” (Just go to pop already)
  • Clare Dunn – “Tuxedo” (Superficial pop noise)
  • Jordan Rager (feat. Jason Aldean) – “Southern Boy” (Aldean wannabe sings with Aldean)
  • Jake Owen – “American Country Love Song” (Remember when Jake tried?)
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” (Any week now it’s going to enter the top 30 in the Pulse and I’ll give it what it deserves)
  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” (Blatant pop music)
  • Dierks Bentley (feat. Elle King) – “Different For Girls” (Outdated and plays to stereotypes)
  • Cassadee Pope – “Summer” (“Hey let’s make a summer song and put summer in the title! Then they’ll know it’s summer.”)
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” (I wish they were still irrelevant hick hop artists)
  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” (Probably his best single. But the rest have all been at rock bottom where this is about an inch above it)
  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” (Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! That’s half of the song)
  • Drew Baldridge – “Dance With Ya” (Thankfully he’s remained irrelevant)
  • Joe Nichols – “Undone” (Joe is a lost cause at this point)

Review – Jordan Rager’s “Southern Boy” is Confusing

southern-boy-cover-art

This post was written by a past guest contributor for Country Perspective. 

These days in mainstream country music, you have to keep a watchful eye on new artists bursting onto the scene. Some try to fight the good fight for country music (Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, Mo Pitney), while others just want to make music that’s “hip” and “connects with the young ‘uns” (Cole Swindell, Kane Brown). Jordan Rager is in the latter camp.

You know how people make jokes that Cole Swindell is Luke Bryan 2.0? Well, now we seem to have a Jason Aldean 2.0 with Jordan Rager. The difference between the two (Cole and Jordan that is) is that Cole looks to Luke as a lifelong friend, whereas Jordan looks to Jason as an idol and influence. Jordan originates from Loganville, Georgia (same state that Aldean is from), and is currently signed to Broken Bow Records (same label that Aldean is on, noticing something?). And really, I hate to judge based off only two songs, but I’m not sure who Jordan is. Yeah, he’s a big fan of Jason, I get it. But what about Jordan? After hearing what was originally going to be his debut single, “Feels Like One Of Them,” all I could gather was that the song was a carbon copy of an Aldean throwaway track. His new single, “Southern Boy” also does nothing to tell me about who Jordan is, which is one of the many things that puzzles me about this song.

When asked about the song “Southern Boy” by the Rowdy’s Jason Scott, Jordan proclaimed, “this song is inspired by losing somebody and you’re not sure how to get through it. You keep carrying on. You stay strong through it.” Based off this description, I was expecting something in the vein of “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell or “Drink A Beer” by Luke Bryan. Instead, this song isn’t about death at all, but rather a mid-tempo number where Jordan is joined by none other than Jason Aldean.

Written by Luke Laird, Barry Dean, Jeremy Stover and Jaron Boyer, “Southern Boy” is performed by Rager and Aldean speaking somewhat as mentors to an imaginary southern boy. The two offer advice to the boy such as never compromise your roots, enjoy Friday nights with friends and always be true to your family. Really with a title like “Southern Boy”, I was expecting something way worse than this, and to be honest there’s really no egregious lines here. The overall problem with the song is that the lyrics are cliché and never really have time to develop into something more. The song just lists off a bunch of checklist traits that are normally expected in a good ol’ southern boy. Really, this song is just a big wasted opportunity. After all, considering that this song has a teacher-student type of lyrical atmosphere to it, and considering that Jordan cites Jason as a major influence, why not just make Jordan the southern boy and have Jason being the one giving advice? You know, turn it into a song that tells advice about how to handle life on the road and all the craziness of the music industry? Pass on advice to someone who actually looks up to you? As this song is, having two males playing the exact same part in the song is completely unnecessary.

Vocally this song has another issue. I’m certainly not against bringing in some help for your debut single, but the problem with this song is that Jason helps a little too much, to the point where this feels more like Jason Aldean featuring Jordan Rager than the other way around. It doesn’t help matters either that the two sound extremely similar to each other, to the point where it can be hard to discern who’s singing at certain points in the song. Leaning on Aldean as a crutch may work for Jordan this time around, but I feel that it’s the wrong choice to make for a debut single. Granted, you don’t have to stand out much to get a hit in mainstream country music, but still I think the average fan is just going to think this is a Jason Aldean song and not even realize this is someone else’s song.

That’s not to say however that “Southern Boy” is without redeeming factors. The mid-tempo vibe actually works well with this song, as it gives both singers a chance to at least try to pour some emotion into this, even if it ultimately comes across as empty. The production also isn’t half bad, and sort of fits a nice rock-country vibe. Other than that however, there’s a lot of wasted potential with “Southern Boy” and I can’t say that it’s ultimately a good song by Jason Jordan.

Grade: 2/10