The Hodgepodge: RIAA Certification, Streaming, and the Changing Face of Music Consumption

On Monday February 1, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) changed how the organization will certify albums and singles. The change reflects digital streams of songs and albums for an artist in addition to sales. Prior to the change, an album or song was certified Gold when 500,000 copies were sold, Platinum at 1,000,000, and Diamond at 10,000,000. With the change, the RIAA will take into account both video and audio streaming, and have decided that 1,500 streams is equal to 10 song sales or one album sale. Simple math then tells us that 750 million streams alone will earn an artist a Gold certification.

With the adjusted certification process, 17 albums achieved Gold or Platinum status on February 1. Three of the 17 albums were country albums: Brett Eldredge’s Bring You Back (Gold), Miranda Lambert’s Platinum (Platinum), and Sam Hunt’s Montevallo (2x Multi-Platinum).

From a business standpoint for the RIAA, this is a good move to keep with the changing tide of how consumers are listening to their music. Streaming is only growing and it’s important for music groups like the RIAA and Billboard to stay relevant with their reporting. However, reactions to the change have been mixed. Country artists are loving the news. One big challenger of the new rules is Top Dawg Entertainment’s, CEO Anthony Tiffith. TDE is the label for Kendrick Lamar, whose critically acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly has now been certified Platinum due to the inclusion of streaming. Tiffith tweeted that he won’t acknowledge the certification until old school album sales earn the album its Platinum rating.

One theory I have for the push back could be due to the low streaming payouts to artists/labels vs physical/digital album sales. Last April, The Guardian published an article with an infographic breaking down artist payouts among various streaming services in comparison to standard album sales. The infographic is organized to show how many units must be sold or streamed in order to achieve a monthly minimum wage income.

For instance (based on the numbers on the linked infographic), for an artist signed to a label to earn a monthly minimum wage from Spotify with a $0.0011/stream payout, there would need to be 1,117,021 streams for a monthly wage. At that rate, $1,228.72 is earned each month. And looking at RIAA’s rule of 1,500 streams per album sale, a streaming total of 1,117,021 is equal to about 744 albums sold (rounding down). By comparison, 744 albums sold per month via iTunes will earn a signed artist $1,711.20. And 744 albums per month sold physically in a retail store will be $2,053.44 for a signed artist.

Now these aren’t concrete numbers as to how streaming services directly compare to actual sales. Keep in mind that the numbers on the graphic are 10 months old, and the math I applied based on RIAA criteria may not be direct snapshots of how a company like Spotify may pay out an artist. Some of the numbers gathered from the article were assumed or generalized numbers based on typical business practices between labels and artists.

What this does give us, however, is a small baseline in which to judge a service like Spotify, arguably the most popular streaming service, in regards to actual album sales. I can understand a label CEO being against the inclusion of streaming in regards to albums sales when payouts from streaming are lower than album sales.

With the RIAA accepting streaming, it further solidifies the consumption mode of music, giving more importance to the notion of fair payouts. Streaming services are not going away, and as more and more music associations and organizations restructure themselves to include streaming, streaming needs to continue to fine tune itself to be accepted across the board. Streaming has a lot of push back from the music industry because they see the technology as a threat. But even cassettes scared the music industry back in the day.

For those against streaming, one bright spot is the resurgence of vinyl records. The growth of vinyl is nearly double than the growth in streaming subscriptions. Vinyl’s growth, aside from the novelty aspect, shows that consumers want physical copies of their music along with digital files. Never before have there been this many outlets to consume music. CDs, vinyl, digital downloads, radio, and streaming. Streaming’s skyrocketing popularity cannot be overlooked.

Like it or not, on-demand streaming has immersed itself into our musical culture. The impact streaming can have for an independent or budding artist is crucial. However manufactured his rise was, Kane Brown’s internet popularity earned him a deal with Sony. Maren Morris’ EP was an online only release, now she’s also signed with Sony and is getting the iHeartMedia On The Verge treatment.

Slowly we are seeing the industry adapt to streaming’s popularity. RIAA’s move to include streaming in album and single certifications is just another step in the long road ahead. I don’t think RIAA’s current rules are an absolution (nor do I think they’re perfect), and we may see them further adjusted to improve how the organization looks at streaming. Labels and radio are slowly looking into streaming and internet trends to capitalize on what’s popular with consumers. This is only the beginning of the music industry’s adaptation to streaming, and we may in fact be on the brink of a year in which we see major shifts in response to streaming’s popularity. There’s quite a bit to still work out on both ends of the spectrum, but I think major changes are on the horizon.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • The following albums are all being released tomorrow:
    • Dori Freeman‘s self-titled album
    • Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20
    • Charles Kelley’s The Driver
    • Freakwater’s Scheherazade
    • The Infamous Stringdusters’ Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Addison Johnson‘s I’m Just a Song EP will be released on February 9th.
  • Cole Swindell announced his second album, You Should Be Here, will be released on May 6th.
  • Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay will be released on March 2nd, exactly one year after Finlay’s death. Finlay was a songwriter in Texas and owner of the Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos. He is credited with jump-starting the careers of George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Randy Rogers. Rogers will duet with Sunny Sweeney on the album, along with James McMurtry, William Clark Green, and many others covering Finlay-written songs in his honor.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Luckenbach, Texas” Waylon Jennings. Is there a better opening lyric than “The only two things in life that make it worth livin’ is guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women”?

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

“Bullet with Butterfly Wings” Smashing Pumpkins. The Smashing Pumpkins just announced a new tour this week. A friend in high school made me a mix CD of her favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs and still listen to that mix quite a bit. I love this song.

Tweet of the Week

Stout’s record, Dust & Wind, was self recorded and released last September. You can listen and purchase to the album on Bandcamp.

YouTube Comment of the Week

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.57.21 AM

This was commented on the video of Jason Isbell’s performance of “Flagship” at the Grand Ole Opry. I completely agree with this! Isbell performed the song with his wife, Amanda Shires, playing her violin and providing great harmonies. Click on the link for the video of the performance.

The Hodgepodge: Red Dirt Favorites

Reckless Kelly

Once again, I found myself in a busy work week, and a long weekend of traveling and shutting out the rest of the world didn’t help either when it came time to write this week’s feature. I have no ideas simmering this week, so today I’ve decided to list a few of my favorite Red Dirt/Texas songs and albums. I’ll link most songs discussed and embed to the page, but I encourage all of you to listen to these and seek them out. I’m a big Red Dirt country fan and continue to expand and discover new songs and artists on a fairly regular basis.

Just to reiterate, these are my personal favorites. This list is not a top songs or “best of” list. And as always, I’d love to hear other recommendations if I overlooked a favorite of yours on this list.

Some Favorite Red Dirt Albums

Reckless Kelly’s Wicked Twisted Road – The title track of the album is probably my favorite Reckless Kelly song of all time, but this whole album is great. With hit after hit like “Seven Nights in Eire”, “Motel Cowboy Show” and “Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More”, Reckless Kelly delivers a solid album from start to finish. If you’ve never really listened to this band before, Wicked Twisted Road is a great place to start.

Wade Bowen’s Lost Hotel – Just as a simple country album, regardless of region or radio popularity, Lost Hotel stands as one of the best. Bowen delivers some powerful vocal performances on a few well written ballads and balances them with excellent upbeat country songs. Without a doubt, Lost Hotel is Bowen’s best album.


Seth James’ That Kind of Man – Seth James is a background player in Texas country, but his lone solo album is a constant on my iPhone. James has one of the best singing voices I’ve heard, delivering songs with captivating and powerful vocals. For a short time, James was also a part of Cody Canada’s new band, The Departed, where he and Canada swapped vocal leads on the band’s album Adventus. But James’ solo album is one to listen to over and over again.

Turnpike Troubadours’ Diamonds & Gasoline – This is an album loaded with great song after great song from the Oklahoma country band. Opening with “Every Girl” immediately followed by “7&7” sets a great mood and proves that country music can be fun without mentions of fireball shots. The album also includes a title track that tugs at your heart and the intriguing story of “The Funeral.” Diamonds & Gasoline is an album that doesn’t get old.

Some Favorite Red Dirt Songs

“Hank” Jason Boland & The Stragglers – An excellent country protest song about the state of country music. As great as the song is, it’s poignant with the hook line “Hank Williams wouldn’t make it now in Nashville, Tennessee.” That’s just a sad thought.

“Oh Tonight” Josh Abbott Band feat. Kacey Musgraves – Back before Musgraves’ big break, she collaborated with Josh Abbott on this love song. Her inclusion here is welcome and adds a great layer to the song. Both Abbott and Musgraves offer up great vocal performances on a great production.

“Alabama” Cross Canadian Ragweed – I’ve become a huge fan of Cody Canada’s over the past year, digging into the Ragweed discography along with The Departed. He’s written and recorded many songs I love, but this rocking love song stands as one of my favorites.

“Lost and Found” Randy Rogers Band – This breakup song from The Randy Rogers Band is one of their many great songs. I love the melody of the song and Rogers’ vocal delivery pulls at your heartstrings as he realizes how he messed things up in the relationship.

“Used To Be” The Great Divide – Written by Red Dirt founding father Tom Skinner, “Used To Be” reminisces of the way things used to be in a small town. Between the great upbeat lead guitar riff and the lyrics, “Used To Be” may be the quintessential Red Dirt song.

“Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah” Reckless Kelly – For those who think Tyler Farr is redneck crazy, let me introduce to Crazy Eddie. This song is absolutely absurd, but it’s so over-the-top that you can’t help but enjoy it. If you want to write a ridiculous break up song, this is how it’s done.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Tomorrow, The Turnpike Troubadours will release their new, self-titled album.
  • Eric Paslay has hinted at new music which will be revealed tomorrow.
  • Tim McGraw has announced the title of his next album, Damn Country Music. 
  • Next week, Don Henley will release his first solo album in 15 years. Cass County will hit the shelves on September 25.
  • Sunny Sweeney and Brennen Leigh sang a song together at a recent acoustic show in Austin, Texas.  “But If You Like Country Music” finds two men at the far ends of the political spectrum finding common ground in Merle Haggard. It’s a fun, witty song that you can’t help but enjoy.
  • Toby Keith’s newest single off 35 MPH Town is called “Rum is the Reason.”
  • Jana Kramer has a new album due out October 9 called Thirty One. The album features her current single “I Got The Boy” as well as her previous single “Love.”

Today in Country Music History

  • In 1923 country music’s first big star, and most influential singer/songwriter, Hank Williams, is born in Mount Olive, Alabama.
  • Reba McEntire makes her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in 1977.

Today’s Country Music history facts come courtesy of RolandNote.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Your Cheatin’ Heart” – Hank Williams. In honor of Hank’s birthday, it only seems appropriate for today’s throwback song to be one of his best. Hank recorded “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in one of his last recording sessions before his death at age 29. The song’s release immediately following Williams’ death propelled him to an instant success.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week


Foo Fighters – Songs From The Laundry Room. This four-song EP was originally compiled and released strictly for Record Day 2015, but Grohl and company re-released it for mass-consumption this month. Songs From The Laundry Room consists of demos of early Foo Fighters’ songs recorded in the early 90s, one cover of “Kids in America” and a previously unreleased song called “Empty Handed.” If you’re a fan of the Foo Fighters, this is a great EP to add to your collection.

Tweet of the Week

This fake “Drunken Martina McBride” twitter account is one of my favorite parody accounts. She pulls no punches when it comes to calling out bros on their stupidity.

An iTunes Review To Which I Shake My Head

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This was for Brett Eldredge’s Illinois. I listened to the album, and I don’t quite know where this reviewer heard “that true country sound” because I sure didn’t. Some crappy lyrics throughout the album, especially on “Drunk On Your Love” which is one of the dumbest, unoriginal songs ever. And don’t even get me started on that awful disco song he sang with Thomas Rhett.

The Hodgepodge: The Resurgence of Vinyl & Why I Love It

Record Player

It’s no secret that music sales have seen a dip in recent years. This is especially the case when it comes to albums. Unless your Taylor Swift, artists struggle to get albums sold and as a result more emphasis has been put on singles. Another reason singles have been getting more emphasis than albums is streaming is now the most popular way listeners consume music. In 2014, on-demand streaming, both video and audio, was up 54%. This was no surprise to me. What was a big surprise to me however was the other format that experienced a gain in 2014: vinyl. What? People still listen to vinyl I thought? Indeed they do as vinyl experienced a gain of 54% in sales in 2014. In 2014, 9.2 million vinyl was sold compared to 2013 when 6.1 million vinyl was sold. These were the only two format to experience gains in sales. Digital album sales and digital song sales were both down 9% and 12% respectively.

As a 22-year-old person, I only remember back to cassettes being a thing. And that was when I was really young. For the majority of my life music was consumed either via CD or through digital means. With vinyl experiencing its highest sales since 1991 (Soundtrack started tracking sales then), this resurgence both perplexed me and intrigued me. In an age where digital music was right at your finger tips I didn’t see the need for vinyl. I chalked this up to just hipsters being hipsters and told myself to just move on. But I couldn’t do that. I found myself still intrigued as to why people love vinyl. I noticed a lot of the artists I listen to put their music out in vinyl too. For me this was a strange and new format.

Now being a history buff I was well aware of vinyl and how it was the way music was put out decades before. I worked briefly with vinyl as a radio DJ at my alma mater. When I say it briefly I mean one time and then never again. It was so much easier just queuing everything up digitally. Even CDs were much easier to work with than vinyl. By the way kudos to DJs back in the 60s and 70s who had to spin vinyl on the radio. That wasn’t easy work. So the point is that was the only taste of vinyl I had in my life up to this point.

I began to research online about why people love vinyl and why people have begun collecting it again. The most common reasons I came across were the sound quality, actually owning the music and the album format. Nostalgia was another reason listed, but obviously that couldn’t apply to me. The sound quality reason is a pretty hotly debated topic among audiophiles and casual listeners. Some people swear up and down that the sound of vinyl is much better than the sound of digital. Others say the exact opposite. As for my take, it depends on a variety of factors, but mainly it comes down to the vinyl pressing quality and the quality of the device you play it on. For the most part though, I don’t sense a huge difference between the sound on digital and the sound on vinyl. Your experience may vary.

The other two reasons certainly appealed to me. As I’ve said numerous times here on Country Perspective, I’ve found myself buying more albums than singles now. I used to just buy singles solely, but now I hardly ever buy singles. It’s made me understand why Garth Brooks wants his music not to be sold individually. Most true artists want you to listen to the whole album and really you should have to listen to a whole album to understand a song. A perfect example of this is Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly. Each song tells a different part of the story being told and you have to listen to it from beginning to end to fully grasp it. As for owning the music, I’ve always been strictly against stealing music online. I’ve always bought my music legally. But buying it digitally certainly isn’t the same as buying a physical album. It’s just another file on your computer.

So with this all in mind I dove into the world of vinyl. I only bought two albums at first to make sure I enjoyed the format enough to continue my collection. I made sure to buy two albums I love too, as they could always be nice collectibles. The first two vinyl I ever bought were Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and AC/DC’s Back in Black. Now you know how much I love Sturgill’s album, as it was Country Perspective’s 2014 Album of the Year. Back in Black to me is one of the best rock albums ever. Each song is simply great and it’s an album I can put on and listen to anytime, anywhere and enjoy it. Soon I bought another one. Then a couple more. Before I knew it I had myself a growing collection. Now I’m kind of addicted to vinyl. It’s crazy.

Why do I love this crazy format? Well more than anything it combines two of my favorite pastimes: listening to music and collecting stuff. From an early age I’ve always like to collect stuff from rocks (not my dumbest collection idea) to books to baseball cards (this is dumber than collecting rocks). I’ve also always liked looking at album cover art and the writing credits, things that are more emphasized in vinyl covers. Another pro of vinyl collecting today compared to yesteryear is most come with a CD and/or digital download copy of the album. You get two, possibly three formats, for the price of one. That’s a pretty good deal to me. And no it’s not just hipsters buying vinyl nor are you a hipster for buying vinyl. It’s a niche hobby for people who have a great passion for music for the most part (there are some hipsters, but they’re avoidable). Digital is still my main format, but vinyl certainly has a place in my heart now too. It’s made me have a greater appreciation for music and I look forward to growing my collection even bigger.

If you’re interested in getting into vinyl too feel free to reach out and I would be happy to answer any questions. There are also many great forums across the Internet that will answer your questions. Also don’t forget that Record Store Day is this Saturday! You can find out more information on that here. One more thing: For those wondering, this is my favorite vinyl record for multiple reasons:

Blackberry Smoke Vinyl

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers will release their new collaborative album Hold My Beer next Monday. You can order the album at this link. I’m pretty excited about hearing this one, as everything I’ve heard from it so far has been great. Two talents like Bowen and Rogers getting together for an album is something that doesn’t happen too often. I’ll definitely have a review on this one.
  • Texas country artist John Moreland will release his new album High Tulsa Heat next Tuesday. This is another album I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about and as someone who isn’t real familiar with Moreland’s work, I’m intrigued to give it a listen.
  • I think next week is Texas country release week. William Clark Green is also coming out with a new album next Tuesday and it’s titled Ringling Road. I’ve seen a lot of critics praise this one too. Can next week get here already?
  • The only mainstream release slated for next week is Brett Eldredge’s new single “Lose My Mind.”

Throwback Thursday Song

Sunny Sweeney – “From A Table Away” – I heard this song come on my local radio station this past week and forgot how great this song is. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear it on the radio. Why Kelsea Ballerini is on the radio and not Sweeney is beyond comprehension. Well I actually know why. But still Sweeney rocks and blows most on the radio away.

Non-Country Song of the Week

Sam Cooke – “Chain Gang” – You know that funky, upbeat sound of Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn”? He ripped it off from Cooke’s “Chain Gang,” which is a way better song. Just give it a listen. It sounds exactly the same as the rhythm of “Chain Gang.” If I’m in charge of Cooke’s estate, I would be working on a law suit plan right now.

Tweet of the Week

You hear that Cole Swindell and Chase Rice? You’re creeps. Listen to Lindi Ortega.

Two iTunes Reviews That Will Make You Face Palm

Rhett Crash & Burn Stupid Comment 1

Rhett Crash & Burn Stupid Comment 2

Double the stupidity this week! These were both left under Thomas Rhett’s new single “Crash and Burn.” Apparently the first reviewer has never heard any of Rhett’s music that preceded his latest single. The second reviewer is just a moron. When Rhett’s career crashes and burns I hope he takes these two fans with him.

Schedule Note: There will not be a past pulse post this week. Between the large amount of album releases and covering the 50th ACM Awards, I just didn’t have time to do one this week. It’ll return next week. However I have a review coming out tomorrow of one of my favorite country albums of 2015 you don’t want to miss.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

The Hodgepodge: Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” & Country Radio’s Hypocritical Line Drawing

Little Big Town Girl Crush

Country music radio in 2015 could be best described as regressing, in disarray and disillusioned. It looked like in the latter half of 2014 and very early 2015 that country radio may actually be improving and regaining substance. We even got a positive score for the first time ever for The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music in January. Ever since then things have regressed so much that I’ve lost a lot of hope I had for mainstream country music improving in 2015. Zac Brown Band, Jana Kramer’s “I Got The Boy,” and Carrie Underwood’s “Little Toy Guns” are the only bright spots amongst new material released in 2015. Everything else has been generic, mediocre R&B or down right terrible.

This leads me to Little Big Town’s latest single “Girl Crush.” While many critics praised Little Big Town’s 2014 Pain Killer, I considered it generic, 80s pop rock material. I had no idea what people heard with this album and why it got so much praise. Sure it looks great next to the likes of Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean. But in the whole scope of things it’s a fairly forgettable album to my ears. Anyway back to “Girl Crush.” This is the one song where I agree with many in that it’s actually a good song. I wouldn’t call it great, but it’s good and is a big improvement over many songs playing on country radio right now.

Karen Fairchild’s smokey voice and the airy instrumentation work well in this song. Of course the main allure of this song is its subject matter. On a casual first listen this appears to be about a woman falling in love with another woman, a rare country song about a homosexual relationship. You’ll realize though upon multiple listens that it is indeed not about a lesbian relationship. Instead it’s about a woman being jealous of another woman who is with the man she loves. It’s a jealous lust towards the other woman, not a lust for the woman herself. Anyone who takes the time to listen can figure this out easily.

When “Girl Crush” entered the top 30 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart on March 14, I was glad to see it. Then the following week it fell right out of the top 30 and has even dropped more since then. What gives? I speculated last week that it could be because country radio finds the song to be too risqué to play on country radio. This is ridiculous for the reasons I spelled out above of course. Then this post drops on For The Country Record. Vickeye Fisher, who runs FTCR, wisely reached out and had a current music director for a country music station in Texas “pull back the curtain” on country radio and what is happening with “Girl Crush.” The music director, identified as TexMex, wrote this in the piece:

When I first came in contact with the song, LBT’s record label sent me a hard copy to listen to. There it was in BIG letters on the front “GIRL CRUSH”… I am not going to lie, at first I thought, probably no chance this makes the air and chuckled to myself. I listened to the first couple lines and again thought to myself, “Wow!! How does LBT think this makes the air?” And then, when you are least expecting it… BAM!! They hit you with the hook. It is a jealousy song, lyrically crafted by an obvious wordsmith and something of a genius. I think LBT knew this would be the reaction of many. What they couldn’t have predicted, and neither did I, was that people would still complain about the song’s “obvious” lesbian meaning. What? Did you listen to the song all the way through? Do you not like songs about women being jealous of a mistress? This is the foundation of female country music subjects most of the time.

To my surprise, after explaining the song to more than a handful of people, every one of them responded with basically the same thing (paraphrased): “You are just promoting the gay agenda on your station and I am changing the channel and never listening to you ever again!!”

As a result, despite TexMex’s pleads to keep it in heavy rotation, the song was pretty much reduced to barely getting any plays. I’m sure this same thing happened at several other radio stations across America. Now we all know why “Girl Crush” has been dropping on the charts: hard hearing country fans and radio bosses who refuse to see that this song for what it is.

Now before I go on to make my greater point let me address a few things here with my argument. This is not about gay rights and where I or anyone else stands on the issue. Here at Country Perspective we do not engage in talks about political issues, as it’s unproductive and not related to the topic always at hand, which is music. Another thing I see many critics and fans pointing out is how “Girl Crush” was intended to be controversial and that this was all planned. Little Big Town has even retweeted on their Twitter account tweets about how the song is being pulled off radio for political reasons. They may very well have planned this whole thing, but none of us can know for sure. However I will point this out: Have you ever known Little Big Town to be controversial or to engage in this kind of territory? I certainly haven’t and that’s why I believe this wasn’t planned. I believe Little Big Town for once actually stumbled upon a song with clever lyrics. So basically I believe Little Big Town didn’t plan for this to happen, but now that is is they’re rolling with it because nobody turns down free publicity. (If you want to see a planned “outrage,” see Brad Paisley’s little leaking stunt on Twitter last year)

Now to my overall point, where I point out how hypocritical and stupid country radio is, along with some of its listeners. Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit that is Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze.” This song enjoyed a nice run in the top ten of the Billboard Country Airplay chart and reached the very top. It’s still recurrent even at this moment. Yet this song contains the following lyric: “I sit you up on a kitchen sink/Stick the pink umbrella in your drink.” For those country fans out there who were too slow to understand “Girl Crush,” I’ll spell this lyric out for you. It’s a guy sticking his penis into a woman’s vagina and screwing her. Not to mention the entire song is about getting hammered and stoned. Where are your complaints country fans? Why didn’t you pull this song off radio for being too risqué, country programmers? All yeah you wouldn’t.

You could pick out almost any song off of Florida Georgia Line’s 2014 album Anything Goes and call it risqué. But country radio kisses their feet like they’re gods. Florida Georgia Line and host of others have been churning out these songs that encourage drinking and smoking for the past few years, yet no complaints. It would take me forever to point out all of these songs, so I’ll point out another song that was highly popular on the radio, but wasn’t considered too risqué to play: Tyler Farr’s 2013 smash hit “Redneck Crazy.” It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and got overplayed as hell on my local country stations. Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics from this song. Here’s the chorus:

I’m gonna lean my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn’t come here to start a fight, but I’m up for anything tonight
You know you broke the wrong heart, baby,
And drove me redneck crazy

Or what about these lyrics?

Did you think I’d wish you both the best,
Endless love and happiness?
You know that’s just not the kind of man I am
Yeah, I’m the kind that shows up at your house at 3 A.M.

This is the modern-day version of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” or as I call it, “The Stalker Song.” That song I can at least laugh at it and mock it for its overall stupidity. But if I hear “Redneck Crazy” it sends me into a rage. It’s a song about a whiny douchebag who can’t get over being dumped and has to resort to breaking or threatening to break numerous laws to make himself feel better. He threatens violence, destroys property, trespasses and stalks a girl in the middle of the night. How is this song not considered too dangerous to play on country radio? For all of the fathers out there reading this, would you want your daughter mixed up with a boy like the one in this song?

The point is this: “Girl Crush” is nowhere near being a “risqué” song and it’s being labeled as such. Meanwhile country radio gleefully plays songs that encourage bad behavior, from excessive drinking to stalking to guys getting girls drunk enough so they can get in their pants. Country radio listeners and programmers are just fine with these type of songs. They’re drawing lines where they shouldn’t and not drawing lines where they should. It’s a damn joke. Rejecting “Girl Crush” shows they’re nothing but hypocrites with a double-standard. This really isn’t a surprise though and I’m sure this controversy will blow over soon. I think the main thing to take away from this is it’s yet another reminder of how country radio is a very crooked and political place. There’s so much more going on than meets the eye and it’s a problem that continues to grow out of control.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Josh Turner is set to release his first new album in three years next Tuesday. Turner or his team have yet to announce a name for the album, which is kind of odd. This album may be pushed back. We’ll have to wait and see.
  • Darius Rucker is releasing a new album next Tuesday and it’s titled Southern Style. Based on the track listing confirmed by Windmills, it doesn’t sound good at all. One song is called “Half Full Dixie Cup.” Perhaps a candidate for Country Perspective’s 2015 Worst Album of the Year award?
  • In an interview with Radio.com (highly recommended read), Jason Isbell said that they’re shooting for an early July release date on his new album. It would be the first one since his critically-acclaimed 2013 album Southeastern.
  • Brett Eldredge is getting ready to release a new album this year. The first single from it is called “Lose My Mind” and will debut on iHeartRadio on April 21, impacting country radio shorty after. No word on an album release date yet, but Windmills has tracked down a number of possible tracks on it.
  • Jason Michael Carroll will be releasing a new album on May 5 titled What Color Is Your Sky. It was funded through Kickstarter and will be his first album in four years. He also just released the first single from it, “God Only Knows.”
  • Now I want to address two albums that were set to come out this week, but have been delayed. The first is Montgomery Gentry’s new album. The name of it is Folks Like Us, with the album’s title track being the lead single from it (currently at #59 on the top 60 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart). I originally saw it was pushed back to April 21, however a recent interview by the group with Billboard indicates otherwise. From the interview: “Troy and Eddie have finished their upcoming album (which will be their first in four years) and are hoping to have the record in the hands of fans this summer. “As of right now, we’re getting such good response with the single that we’re going to wait and let it breathe at radio for a little while before we release the record — which tentatively is going to be in June sometime.””
  • The other album that was set to come out right around now was Easton Corbin’s new album. The name of the album is said to be It’s About To Get Real. I dug around and the only clue I could find for a release date was on his Wikipedia page, where it says the album is set to be released on May 19. However there was no source cited. The only other information I could find about it is an interview he gave with The Roanoker. This is what he said about it in the interview: “It’s natural as artists to grow over the years,” he said. “What you experience changes, and the music follows.”

Throwback Thursday Song

Alan Jackson – “Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Up Tempo Love Song.” This song just feels appropriate to post because it still rings true today. Can we get Jackson back on the radio?

Non-Country Album of the Week

Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly may be my favorite album of 2015 so far. It’s definitely the best hip-hop album, with Lupe Fiasco’s Testuo & Youth just behind it. This is an album that gets better every time you listen to it. The funky beats, the gripping lyrics and even all of the guests on the album work flawlessly. Snoop Dogg actually sounds good! I haven’t said that in a while. If you’re a fan of hip-hop you definitely need to hear this album.

Tweet of the Week

I’m guessing this is Sunny responding to Gary Overton stepping down as the head of Sony Nashville?

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Face Palm

Michael Ray Fan

This week’s ridiculous iTunes review was sent in by reader Ben, who found this review under Michael Ray’s new single “Kiss You In The Morning.” Rebekah used real country in CAPS, so that must mean it’s true! Thanks for the great submission, Ben!

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

 

Country Perspective’s Best Country Albums of 2014

We have reached the end of 2014 and over the course of the year we’ve reviewed a lot of great country music. So in case you just found the site or don’t remember all of the great country albums we’ve reviewed, you’re in luck. Here are the links to every album we rated an 8/10 or higher over the course of the year. These are the albums we give a solid recommendation or more for you to listen to. Keep in mind this site started in May, so we won’t have every single great album. For example we never got around to reviewing Dierks Bentley’s album or Don Williams’ album, two albums that would have definitely made this list. So if there are albums missing that you love, they were most likely not reviewed. Others of course may have not been rated high enough to make it. I’m also including our album of the year candidates in case you missed those too. One more thing: only albums are included, no EPs. So without further ado here are Country Perspective’s most recommended albums of 2014.

10/10 (Album of the Year Candidates)

Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music 

Shovels & Rope – Swimmin’ Time 

Karen Jonas – Oklahoma Lottery 

Lucette – Black Is The Color 

Tami Neilson – Dynamite! 

Sunny Sweeney – Provoked 

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold 

Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy 

The Secret Sisters – Put Your Needle Down 

9.5/10

Angaleena Presley – American Middle Class 

Micky & The Motorcars – Hearts From Above 

Stoney LaRue – Aviator 

9/10

Wade Bowen – Wade Bowen 

Matt Woods – With Love From Brushy Mountain 

Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’ 

BlackHawk – Brothers of the Southland 

The Roys – The View 

Jason Eady – Daylight & Dark 

Mack McKenzie – One Last, One More 

Bonnie Montgomery – Bonnie Montgomery 

8.5/10

Jon Pardi – Write You A Song 

Ray Scott – Ray Scott 

Mary Sarah – Bridges 

The Buffalo Ruckus – The Buffalo Ruckus 

Rich O’Toole – Jaded 

Corb Lund – Counterfeit Blues 

8/10

Eric Paslay – Eric Paslay 

Phillip Fox Band – Heartland 

Terri Clark – Some Songs