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.

Derek’s Top Ten Country Songs – September 2014

 

There were quite a bit of music releases this month, so for me to narrow this down to ten wasn’t as easy as I thought.  In my opinion, the best song released this month was Keeley Valentino’s “Burned.” I said quite a bit about the song in my review of her EP, here’s a snippet: Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole song is the fact that Keeley hits such a high note in the choruses. Her high-notes combined with the echoing instrumentation create a sort of haunting emptiness that captures the emotions of the song’s characters.” Without a doubt that was the song that stood out to me the most this month. Number two is Lee Ann Womack’s “Same Kind of Different” which was easily her best song on The Way I’m Livin’. I’m not surprised that women hit the top two marks on my top ten. Female country singers have been releasing a number of quality albums over the past few years, and I hope to see that trend continue. The Phillip Fox Band gets a spot at number three with the impressive Country Fried Rock N’ Roll western tune “Nothin’ Worse Than Weak.” Number four is The Roy’s heartbreaking, yet well-written Alzheimer’s song called “Sometimes.” Rounding out the top five, I have my favorite song from Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Townhis duet with Catherine Dunn called “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.”

The Phillip Fox Band appears again at number six with “Ava Lee”, the upbeat love song about a couple living life in the fast lane, and the man debates if he should settle down and have a future with her. Josh Turner’s new single, “Lay Low” comes in at number seven. Lee Ann Womack shows up again at number eight with “Prelude: Fly.” I was captivated by this track during my first listen and it features some great vocal work from Womack. Keeley Valentino makes another appearance on the list with “Love Will Come Around Again” at number nine. It’s a great song about getting over a break up and preparing yourself for when the next person comes to capture your heart. Finally, concluding the top ten is Wade Bowen with “When I Woke Up Today.”  This fun song is about finding joy in life and remaining positive while the trials of a life on the road take form. It’s a great lead off single for his new self-titled album due out late next month.

Honorable Mentions:

  • “Your Daddy’s Boots” by Dustin Lynch – I really wanted this song in my top ten. It’s easily the best song on Where It’s At and possibly Lynch’s best of his young career.
  • “Sick of Me” by Tim McGraw – Another standout track from Sundown Heaven Town. Great song writing and a good, mid-tempo traditional/modern blend of country music.
  • “Writin’ a New Damn Book” by Phillip Fox Band. A great up-beat southern rock song about marking your own path through life.
  • “Heaven Needed Her More” by The Roys. A beautiful song about getting over a death of a loved one and remaining positive through the heartbreak.

October has a ton of albums due out.  Next month’s top ten list might be even harder!

Album Review – Dustin Lynch’s Where It’s At

Dustin Lynch is a country singer who has the potential to bring some great traditional sounding country music back to radio. His debut single, “Cowboys and Angels,” is perhaps one of the best mainstream country songs in the past couple of years. That song made me very excited to hear more of his catalog. His debut album had other modern country songs I enjoyed like “Hurricane” and “Rock You Sweet”. Dustin Lynch has a nice baritone to it that fits perfectly with a traditional sound of country. Yet here we have a sophomore album that is more like the lead off single, “Where It’s At.” It’s more of Dustin Lynch chasing the limelight through bro-country. As a country fan, nothing frustrates me more than to see an act like Dustin follow crappy trends when there’s a definite niche he fits into that’s unique compared to the mainstream offers.

The Best Songs on the Album

Dustin Lynch wowed fans with “Cowboys and Angels.” It was traditional country music succeeding in the mainstream rock/pop trends. Fortunately, Where It’s At gives us a couple more songs along the same lines as that hit. After seven straight bro songs, Dustin Lynch finally shows us something that’s not shallow and poppy in “She Wants a Cowboy.” This song sounds so much like George Strait and this is the sound in which Dustin Lynch thrives. There are steel guitars leading this song through and through. Lyrically, it’s not too cliché and offers a good amount of depth to listeners. “American Prayer” is a great song of faith and belief in God. It could be read as some commentary on our country, and how our undying faith and prayers will bring some good. And considering the amount of negative images that have come across our news screens from domestic violence and racial tension to international slayings, this a good timely song that isn’t too pandering or cheesy.

However, far and away the best song on the whole album is “Your Daddy’s Boots.” This is a song where Dustin Lynch discusses how great his new wife’s father is and how tough it’ll be for him to fill those boots as a man in her life. One of the values that epitomize country music and set it apart from most other genres is the respect and love for family in songs. This song is a perfect example of what great country music sounds like. Dustin Lynch has a great voice and it shines on this track.

The Worst Songs on the Album

“Hell of A Night”, “To The Sky”, “Halo”, “After Party”, “Where It’s At”, “Mind Reader”, “Right Where We Want It”, and “Sing It To Me” just to name a few. I hate to just gloss over this section, but I feel like there isn’t anything insightful or constructive to say about these types of songs that hasn’t already been said about these types of songs. They’re just another group of songs to add to the large, overflowing pot of late-night bro songs about girls and having sex (or wanting to have sex) with them. To me, it’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t make me angry hearing them; it’s just boring, unimaginative and unimpressive. And the worst part is you have to suffer through most of these before you reach the good tracks on this album.

The Rest of the Album

A majority of Where It’s At are over produced songs with the same themes and clichés that have littered country radio for the past year. The only other song I haven’t mentioned that doesn’t fit that mold is “World To Me,” which describes Dustin’s tiny hometown. It’s one of those hometown pride songs where outsiders can’t see the beauty of such a small place, but this town is the world to the singer. There are some cliché lines or phrases that you might find in many other small town songs, but it’s one of about only four songs here that offer more depth than a nighttime hookup.

Overall Thoughts

I think this a disappointing sophomore effort by Dustin Lynch. With the bro country songs slowly dissipating, there’s a chance we can find some more value on radio if Dustin’s follow-up single is one of the few songs here that have depth. I think Dustin Lynch still has room to grow and reestablish himself as a worthy traditional country man, but that direction will be dictated with his next single or two. I believe “Your Daddy’s Boots” would do extremely well in the mainstream mix and could earn some award show hardware next year if it’s released as a single. “American Prayer” also carries a lot of potential. In spite of the large mix of bad songs here, the meaningful songs on Where It’s At counter that with a strong redemptive value. Here’s to hoping that team Dustin chooses wisely for the next single.

Grade: 3.5/10

Review – Dustin Lynch’s “Where It’s At”

Do I hate this song? Yep, yep. Is this a laundry list song full of bro country clichés? Yep, yep. Have you figured out what’s the most annoying part of this song yet? In between singing something about ball caps and his girl, Dustin Lynch utters “yep, yep.” This happens throughout the song and you will inevitably get it stuck in your head making you beg for mercy that the ear worm leaves your thoughts.

Dustin Lynch came onto the country scene two years ago with his self-titled album release. The biggest single from that album was “Cowboys and Angels” and probably the only time you’ve ever heard of this guy. It was a pretty big hit for him and it was truly a breakout song. It peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart and at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was also nominated for CMA’s New Artist Single of the Year and CMA’s New Artist Music Video of the Year. He released another single titled “She Cranks My Tractor” which only peaked at #29 on U.S. Billboard Country chart (thankfully because this song is terrible and the remix of it is even worse). The album was certified platinum.

So to keep up his momentum and to stay in the mainstream country spotlight, he released the single “Where It’s At.” The song starts off with a bizarre sound. This bizarre sound is the sound of the guitars being put through a machine and distorting it. Or as the mainstream country artists will tell you, “evolving country music.” Everyone is doing it, including Brad Paisley on his upcoming album. Lynch then begins to sing some of the most forgettable lyrics you will ever hear. To summarize them, it’s a bunch of bro country phrases you probably heard on the previous song you just heard on the radio and will probably hear on the song following this one. The lyrics are boring, dull and overdone. I can see why they added the “yep, yep” to this song because that’s the only way you’ll remember it.

In terms of what the song is about, I got nothing. I have no idea what it’s suppose to be about . Your guess is as good as mine. The writers of this song either forgot to add a theme to this song or they copied and pasted a bunch of lyrics from other songs together. I’m going to say they went with the latter. Throw in your generic mainstream country beat and you get “Where It’s At.” Lynch also uses auto-tune at a few points in this song because it’s an “evolution of country music.”

As far as what was good about this song? Hmm… at least there wasn’t a lot of auto-tune used. There was no dub step or EDM used either. A non-country artist didn’t make an appearance. Lynch also wasn’t wearing the trademark backward baseball cap that bro country artists are famous for wearing on the single’s cover art. So instead of going full bro country he only went 95% bro country. That’s all of the good things I have to say about this song.

“Where It’s At” is rising up both the Billboard and iTunes charts, so expect this song to be a popular hit that plays on radios throughout the summer. Why wouldn’t it since its bro country? Another thing going for Dustin Lynch is the “dreamy factor.” In other words, women and girls want to f*@# him. So that  should translate into a lot of sales for this song.

“Where It’s At” is another generic bro country song that contains one of the most irritating ear worms I have ever heard in a song. It’s bottom of the barrel garbage. I didn’t expect this song to join the Zero Club, but Jerrod Niemann just got some company.

Grade: 0/10 (If it wasn’t for the “yep, yep” this song would’ve got a 1.5)