During the course of my current travels I have been able to enjoy a lot of music. From the French quarter of New Orleans to the bars of Austin. We heard some showy tunes in Vegas, but that city really has no soul. We were only in Houston long enough to spend 58 hours inside the space museum, but unfortunately there was no moon rock. Only copious Boy Scouts. I would have loved to play but I was trying to escape to get here. Austin. This place is my home, I am very much set upon moving here. But a tentative goal for relocation is not what I want to speculate upon, I want to talk about country music.
When it comes to hating music it is important to pick your battles. Many kinds of music are not worth hating. It seems that I hear a lot of people talking a line of bull jive about Justin Bieber. This is sort of pointless. First off he is just a kid. A talented kid. and an adult spending time trying to dissuade his fanbase from adoring him will not happen. I would rather spend time talking about artists I hate who are popular and critically acclaimed. For instance Sting. I find him obnoxious. Dave Mathews. His voice sounds like a strangled chimp/braying donkey. Phish. They don't even write their own lyrics and they are still terrible. If you are that famous and rich it makes sense to pay someone to write decent lyrics. Tom T Hall is still alive, they should hire him. Speaking of Tom T, I want to talk about country music.
I have avoided mainstream country music fairly successfully for the past 16 years or so. Of note is the month I worked at AA Auto in Redmond WA with the guy obsessed with pop-country. I also worked making boat davits with a guy named Swivelhips. He tried to convince me that Taylor Swift was singing country music. Short answer, she isn't. I don't hate her, but what she is singing is pop-rock. In fact much of the mainstream country music is pop rock. I was eating a complimentary breakfast in Baton Rouge and Keith Urban was on TV. a black man filling his coffee said "That ain't country", all I could do was nod in agreement.
One night between Amarillo and Forth Worth Lando decided to listen to the country station. What we heard was hilarious. Between songs that declared with bombast how "country" the singer was and the songs that name drop beer and liquor brands, we heard a true gem. It was a song about getting a party barge, assorted beers and liquors, and how "country" the singer was. The funny thing is that the arrangements are so infused with butt-rock drums and metal guitars that other than a public declaration of "being country" they do not sound country. I find it fairly pathetic that the "country" singers are starting to sound like bad rappers. The similarities are striking. For instance bad rappers often talk about how "gangsta" they are. They also tend to name drop liquor brands. It makes me want to write pop-country hits and I think I have a recipe.
First I will go to WalMart. I will bring a notepad and keep a log of the most common purchases. If anyone asks what I am doing, I will tell them how "country" I am. For instance, I'm so country when I run out of chew, I steal it from my sister, who is also my aunt. It is important for radio hits to hit a broad range of people. So if I sing about meeting a girl at the Waffle House after a night of partying, then going to Walmart, and how country I am, a lot of people will identify. I don't know if you knew this, but I am really country. So country in fact that I love NASCAR. By the way, I am super country. Also, while I am doing various "country" activities such as drinking, I like to try and meet girls who are also really country.
I guess the similarities between pop rap and pop country are not surprising. First of all as far as I know white kids buy more rap than any other demographic. I have spent a lot of time in small country towns and I can attest that the locals are often very into rap and pop country. I remember one evening in Forks when the radio was set on an awful butt rock station. It was so bad that at least 12 people requested it to be changed. Unfortunately a local Forker had picked the station. I found it odd that the out of towners were the ones requesting Waylon Jennings. The local was incensed that we would want to listen to him. I was incensed that we were in an awesome country roadhouse, in a cool country town, surrounded by hard working country people, and we could not listen to classic country. It was depressing. and I am so country that when I want fine dining I go to Sizzler.
Just some of the artists I despise are: Toby Keith, Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, and many others. The reason I listen to country music is the same one Ray Charles gave. The stories. Folk and country music has a long tradition of story telling. Folk music used to be the way people got the news back in the day. Also minstrels would brag about how much mead they could drink and how big of a serf they were. Also all the damsels they would bed. I am so country that when I go to the city people say "Dang, that guy is COUNTRY!"
One of the reasons that pop country is so bad is the production. Of course most of the lyrics are completely vacuous, but the arrangements are obnoxious too. If you were wondering why pop country sounds like mid '80's arena rock, it is because of the producers. Mutt Lange was a butt rocker who moved to Nashville to produce, a lot of other butt rockers moved too. Now pop country sounds like butt rock except for the guy with the over emphasized drawl talking about how country he is. did you remember that I am hella country? You bet your boots! And I like to drink beer! Ha! BEER! Country1 Country girls! WalMart! Trucks! Naked lady mud flaps!
In closing I am really, really country. Buzzsaw.