Country Rating: -1/10
Overall Rating: 1/10
You think that negative rating is a joke, or a hyperbole, or at the very least an attention-getting device. No, it’s a reflection of how absurd it is that we’ve reached a point in time where we’re actually calling this country. I shouldn’t even have to comment on this album at all because it is so far out of my lane, so far removed from anything closely resembling music that I feel qualified to speak on, and yet that’s exactly why I’m compelled to call bullshit on this. Merle Haggard, Don Williams, and yes, even the more modern-sounding Troy Gentry are all rolling over in their graves somewhere right now from the knowledge that we’ve massacred country music like this. I dare you, any of you, to listen to anything from this record and tell me how it in any way, shape, or form resembles anything close to country. I dare you to tell me how you’d know, if listening to any one of these tracks, you were listening to a country radio station. It’s even worse than Sam Hunt because hell, at least Hunt was original. Granted, his spoken word/singing crap was and is a terrible idea, but original it was; Walker Hayes is the wannabe who can neither sing nor rap with even half the charisma of Hunt…and shame on country music for allowing itself to be tampered with this way; no other genre has so little self-respect, but country is forever in this identity crisis. God forbid people actually think we’re “too” country, so we let in shit like this.
The first half of this album is absolutely, mind-blowingly, shockingly awful. We start with “Beautiful,” which isn’t the worst thing here, but it’s essentially Walker missing an ex for well, we don’t ever really get too much of a reason except that she’s physically beautiful. So, potentially good idea turned basically into a shallow piece of crap that ultimately says nothing. OH, and I’ve mentioned this, but he cannot sing. “Shut up Kenny” is one of the worst things here–he’s driving around sick of hearing Kenny Chesney’s music because it reminds him of an ex, but instead of, I don’t know, turning off the radio, he just continues to yell at Kenny to shut up. He does contemplate ripping the radio out of the dash, though, which would somehow be easier than turning it off, I suppose. And then we have the ultimate douche anthem, the infamous single “You Broke up With Me.” Worst single of the year no doubt. The narrator here is just a completely self-absorbed jackass, and also, adding to the bad singing and bad rapping, we now have bad whistling. I’ll give “Halloween” credit for the idea it was going for, taking off masks and revealing yourself to the one you love, but the total lack of personality and his complete inability to rap make this pretty unlistenable as well.
And then this first half comes to the ultimate, horrifying conclusion of “Dollar Store.” Now, this, I think, at least knows that it’s stupid. At least I hope it does because if not, this singlehandedly proves Walker’s total lack of self-awareness. I think it knows it’s idiotic, though; it’s essentially a song about being dirt poor and going to the dollar store–“down to the dollar store, buy you whatever you holler for” would be an embarrassing enough line on its own, but someone needs to tell this guy that in country music, we put r’s in “store” and “for.” This song honestly could have been written in an actual country way, minus the stupid lyrics about being a sugar daddy and without all the urban phrasing, and been pitched to someone like Brad Paisley, and we’d all probably enjoy it. As it is, words cannot describe the horror and stupidity of this track…and yet, it’s not even the worst thing on this album.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves because at track 6, and yes, I’m as surprised as you are, we actually find a song that isn’t immediately horrible. Two, in fact. “Beer in the Fridge” is a heartbreak song, and he’s basically fighting a war with himself over whether to drink his last beer. He gave up drinking for the ex, but she’s also the reason he wants to be drunk. He still can’t sing, but I’ll give this song credit for actually being well-written and also for not making him sound like a giant douche. “Beckett” is pretty obnoxious, but again, he doesn’t sound like a complete douche, as he’s describing his child’s innocence and acceptance of people and saying he wishes he were more like that. I find this one pretty annoying and sappy, but it should be given a bit of credit for the idea. I don’t have much to say about “Mind Candy,” as it’s essentially Beautiful Part 2. It’s a terrible song as well, but after some of the earlier tracks, I can’t be shocked by this point…except for the fact he manages to name-drop Willie Nelson here in the most disgusting instance of blasphemy on one of these “country” records I’ve ever heard. Still, nothing can be as bad as what I’ve already suffered through on the opening half, right?
“Prescriptions” arrives to toss that ill-conceived theory right out the window. If this is released in 2018, I will tell you now that it will be the worst single of that year and quite possibly many years to come. This is another douche anthem, and I can’t even believe this is possible, but this guy is even more of a jackass than the “You Broke UP With Me” dude. He opens this thing by declaring that he’s trying to be mature about his break up and seeing his ex with someone else…okay, maybe this is possible given “Beer in the fridge,” but doubtful given “You Broke up With Me.” Then we get the most creepily detailed list of shit he’d like to happen to her…he wants her and her boyfriend to be drunk and half asleep one night, her to accidentally say his name instead of the new guy, them to fight about it, the boyfriend not to be able to get over it even though she promises him that it meant nothing, their entire relationship to crumble, them to seek therapy, and the therapist to have nothing to offer but prescriptions…if that doesn’t say mature, friends, I don’t know what does. OH, I should say that he adds that he was kidding, kinda.
Again, I’ll give credit where it’s due, and after the incredibly hate-filled song we’ve just been subjected to, it’s hard to imagine the next and final song would actually be mature and feature an example of love and kindness. This one is personal to Walker Hayes and describes Craig, a man he met in church who helped them out when the family was struggling and needed money. It’s a good illustration of a man living out his faith, and the personal details do add to this. It’s still not country by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, but this is actually a pretty good song in its rightful genre. It’s also the only example of actual passable rapping, although his singing still leaves much to be desired. Still, it’s the only time you can actually see a bit of personality to Hayes, well, personality beyond that of a completely self-absorbed asshole.
I can’t be fair to this album without highlighting the very few bright spots, and I’ve done that. That said, this is a terrible album and a slap in the face to country music. Walker Hayes is probably capable of more–see “Craig”–but he’s proven by his complete change of character since the Sam Hunt trend arrived that he’ll shape himself into anything that’ll sell. On his previous songs, he actually could carry a tune–it’s like he’s purposely forsaken his vocal ability to do this spoken word crap, and that’s all the more unfortunate because he can’t rap to save his life for most of this record. Plus, it’s not remotely country, and the challenge still stands if any of you want to try and contradict this opinion. Add to all that the fact that he comes off as a douche throughout a good chunk of this record, and yeah, it makes for a spectacularly awful listen.
P.S. And the title is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard…really?
P.P.S. If you want to purchase this, kindly go somewhere else. I love my readers too much to post such a link.