Tag Archives: pop music

Single Review: Thomas Rhett’s “Craving You” (supposedly featuring Maren Morris)

Country rating: 0/10
Pop Rating: 2/10

New music from Thomas Rhett, just what I’ve been waiting for. To be fair, almost anything could be better than the God-awful experience that was Tangled UP, an exercise in being everything but country while simultaneously insulting as many other genres of music as possible with the shit music it produced. Well, “Craving You” is better than that, if only marginally. It’s not completely terrible as a pop song, but I dare you to show me one shred of country influence in this song. Sonically, it’s sort of like Keith Urban’s “The Fighter,” as it has an 80’s pop sound. Lyrically, it’s yet another song about love and sex being compared to alcohol and drugs, so even if it’s not blatantly horrific, it’s bland and forgettable even as a pop song. You would think the inclusion of Maren Morris might make it at least bearable, and in the few lines she gets, her vocal ability does put that of Thomas Rhett to shame, but that’s probably why she doesn’t get more lines–and oh yeah, she’s female–so basically, her part in this amounts to nothing more than that of a glorified backup singer. It’s not featuring her, it’s more like “with a cameo appearance by Maren Morris.” But let’s slap a female name in the credits and that way, when this thing becomes a #1 hit, the programmers and industry executives can point to this as a step forward for women and feel better about themselves.
The best things I can say about it are that it’s better than his previous album and that it doesn’t immediately strike me as being ripped off. Of course, if it were ripped off, it might be better; we all know Thomas Rhett’s original output is far worse than when he destroys the work of other talented artists, “Vacation” being the horrendous exception…but I digress. IN short, it’s a bad pop song being sent to country radio because it couldn’t survive in the genre where it belongs, and with a few insignificant lines for a token female to make the whole thing seem like progress.

Single Review: “The Fighter” by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood

Country Rating: 0/10
Pop Rating: 3/10

I remember when Keith Urban actually tried. Now, there are a lot of traditionalists who have probably hated or at least dismissed Keith Urban from the start. His music always had pop and rock influence, and I can see how many strict traditionalists wouldn’t enjoy it. But there’s no denying his talent as a musician, singer, and songwriter. There was a time when he wrote many of his songs and sang with passion. As a reviewer, I can say without bias that he produced a lot of good pop country throughout his career, and as a music fan, I can say with absolute bias that I owned every Urban album right up through Get Closer. He’s recorded some great music in his time, and if you have any doubt of this, go listen to “Stupid Boy” and “The Luxury of Knowing.”

And then, somewhere around Keith’s American Idol stint, and the single “Little Bit of Everything,” all that talent started going to waste, and Urban’s passion and musicianship was lost in the wake of cringe-worthy pop music and the chasing of money and continued mainstream relevancy at all costs. It’s one thing when Kane Brown or Thomas Rhett gives us bad music, but Keith Urban knows better, and his self-awareness leaves me much more disgusted by “John Cougar, John deere, John 3:16” than by some arguably worse singles from these artists. All of this brings me to his latest effort, “The Fighter,” which may be his biggest insult to the genre and former Keith fans yet.

“The Fighter” has no semblance of country anywhere. It is generic pop music with electronic beats and some of the least impassioned vocals I’ve ever heard from either Keith or Carrie Underwood. Yes, that’s right, I forgot to mention Underwood’s part in this, but that is understandable, since mostly she just repeats the same three lines in the chorus like a bored backup singer. The song itself is about Keith Urban being a fighter for Underwood, who presumably got out of a bad relationship and needs to feel protected. The premise of Keith Urban being this type of guy is unintentionally hilarious, and Carrie Underwood doesn’t work as the character who needs to lean on him either. “What if I fall? What if I cry?” she keeps asking. It’s just annoying and doesn’t seem like her at all. There are some other obnoxious lyrics in the verses; Keith sings, “He never knew what he had, thank God.” So he is glad that she went through the hell of the previous relationship so that she would end up with him. Also, the line “he didn’t deserve you ’cause your precious heart is a precious heart” is just downright lazy ssongwriting. This song should be laughed off country radio, but it’s not even much better as a pop song and would probably be laughed off pop radio, so country is where it will stay. Reiterating why country radio will play it would be beating a dead horse, so I’ll spare you all that. But it’s artists like Keith Urban, who know better than this, can do better than this, and have done better than this, but choose instead to resort to absolute laziness because it will sell, that say more about the state of the genre and the fans who will buy this than anything else. The real tragedy is not that Urban recorded “The Fighter,” but that in 2017, he can get away with recording songs like this because that’s all he needs to do to sell records. This is one of the worst songs of his career, and without a doubt the worst song to which carrie Underwood has lent her voice.

Random Thoughts of the Week: How Country Music Made me a Nicki Minaj Fan

Now, before anyone loses respect for me due to the above statement or decides my opinions about country music are no longer valid, please understand that title for what it was. Also, understand that we all are music lovers first, before genre lines ever come into play. I say this because I have seen comments on other sites saying people who profess love and/or knowledge of other genres do not care as much about country music as those who love country exclusively. So, as ridiculous an opinion as this might be, I felt I should address it before making my main point.

Yesterday, (August 24th),
Saving Country Music
published an article containing some of the preliminary results of a study conducted by McMaster University. The university is studying the open-mindedness of music fans of specific genres to other genres. In other words, if someone listens to mostly country music, are they more or less likely to also listen to other genres? According to the study, country fans rank fourth in open-mindedness among the ten genres studied. The most interesting early finding was that rap, dance, and pop fans are the three most cloes-minded groups. In other words, people who listen to these three genres are not likely to be open to other music. Also, the study highlighted some “asymmetrical pairings” between certain genres. One such pairing was country and pop; country fans are more likely to listen to pop, but pop fans won’t share that love for country. So, those fans who become “country” fans because of Sam Hunt won’t suddenly start listening to Kacey Musgraves, but a country fan who likes Taylor Swift might then develop a taste for Katy Perry.

This explains why, in its effort to please the close-minded pop fans flooding “country” music, country has all but forsaken its roots. Heaven forbid a fifteen-year-old be subjected to the lyricism of Cam’s “Burning House” when she could learn about partying and sex from Luke Bryan’s douche masterpiece “Kick The Dust Up.” Country singers even go so far as to call actual country music boring and paint the fans as close-minded old people, all for the sake of keeping their fickle pop fan base happy.

So if we’re not making Kacey Musgraves fans out of Sam Hunt groupies, what is this wave of bad pop music actually doing? Well, this is what happened in my case. I grew up with country in the 90’s and 00’s. I liked most country and even the pop country of early Taylor Swift. By 2010, country radio was becoming one tailgating song after another. The country that I loved, which used to feature steel guitars, fiddles, and storytelling, now came with hip-hop beats, rap, and lyrics about clubbing. I didn’t know about all the country I could be listening to; all I knew was country radio. In my mind, country had died. I tried to like the bro country and pop country, but I grew more and more frustrated with it until last year, when I decided that if country was dead, I should find something else to listen to. I had listened to so much bad pop music that I welcomed good pop music. Even their club songs are better than country’s club songs. If I have to listen to that anyway, I’d certainly rather hear Nicki Minaj’s “The Night is Still Young” than Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night.” I’ll always love country more, but when your choices are pop and worse pop with a twang, you take pop any day. During that time, I came to appreciate a considerable amount of pop music. I am extremely grateful for sites like SCM and Country Perspective that helped me find good country music again. Country music is still alive and well, and for that, I can be thankfull. Country music is still my favorite genre because it carries lyrics of substance, but as a music lover first, I am glad in a way that I was open to pop. (I guess that’s what comes from being an open-minded country fan.) I am certainly glad that is not all I have the choice of listening to though. These days, I would say I listen to about 80% country and 20% pop. I have always liked a little music from other genres as well, including rock, Christian, and r&b, but country and pop are the two I listen to on a regular basis. Having said that, I still hate most of the crap on country radio because it is bad pop and worse country.

The alarming thing is that my case seems to be more common than it should be. People argue that Sam Hunt or Taylor Swift can bring someone into country, and then this person might suddenly start liking Ashley Monroe and Alan Jackson. This sounds ridiculous on the surface, and now a study has backed it up. Also, pop fans are by definition listening to what is popular; in other words, someone who is introduced to “country” because of Sam Hunt is generally not going to go seeking Ashley Monroe and Alan Jackson. And seeking is what they’d have to do, because God forbid country radio play anything with substance. It seems far more likely, then, that someone who likes Ashley Monroe and Alan Jackson but who doesn’t hear anything except bad pop music on the local country station, would switch the station in exasperation and develop an appreciation for whatever is playing. I imagine there are a lot more people who have Ashley Monroe and Nicki Minaj in their iTunes library than those who have Ashley Monroe and Sam Hunt. Even more than that, there are those who have Sam Hunt and Nicki Minaj, because out of the three, these two are the most similar, which says a lot, (and nothing good) about the state of country music. Country fans are not being created by all this pop influence. All that is happening is that more pop fans are being created in response to the bad excuse for pop music that country continues to produce. By catering to the close-minded pop fans, country music continues to lose its identity in favor of being an inferior version of the music these close-minded fans love.

Tomatoes of the Week: Maddie & Tae

Their debut album comes out Friday, so they will be our featured females.

Random Country Suggestion: Miranda Lambert–“Roots and Wings”

Sadly, this wasn’t chosen as a single and we are stuck with “Smokin’ and Drinkin'” instead.

Non-Country Suggestion: Nicki Minaj: “All Things Go”

One of the results of me being an open-minded country fan.