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The Worst Band In America

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No band in America makes people with decent taste want to punch themselves in the face like Florida Georgia Line, the Nickelback of country music.

Exhibit A:

Ebola causes you to leak fluids from your body’s orifices and bleed internally until your body starts to slowly shut down. Then you die from a combination of low blood-pressure and organ failure. If you have the misfortune of being an American who catches this vile disease, the media will ruthlessly invade your privacy and reveal every minute detail of your life to the public. This is a horrid fate for anyone unfortunate enough to catch this terrible malady.

And I would gladly endure it all so long as I never again have to suffer the experience of sitting seven rows back from the stage while Florida-Georgia Line and Jason Aldean gleefully danced on the grave of one of the most purely American forms of art to the tune of cheers from 9,999 very intoxicated people.

Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line looks like country music’s take on Scott Stapp, with his flowing hair and affinity for bare skin and crosses. While on stage he and Brian Kelley and the rest of the band all sported one of their own band’s T-shirts. Yes, they’re an entire band of “that guys.” Hubbard also handled most of the band’s singing duties, including occasionally dropping into a rap-like cadence while Kelley stood around playfully strumming an acoustic guitar that’s nowhere to be heard in the mix. Congrats bro-country, you have your Limp Bizkit.

Florida-Georgia Bizkit’s performance came to a giant apex of overtly stitched denim, explosions and smoke when the band launched into their current hit song “Dirt.” This is not said lightly, but “Dirt” might be the single worst song to be a No. 1 hit in the history of country music, though we’re about 5 years away from Axl Rose going country in a cash grab. Accept it, America: We’re getting a pedal-steel version of “Patience” and the country audience is gonna eat it up.

“Dirt” contains lyrics like “We all came from it” and “Build your corn field, whiskey bonfires on it” and for the love of everything I swear it’s like the people who love these songs don’t realize that none of them are actually farmers. It took everything in me to not turn to the dad sporting Puma branded golf gear and point out that driving a truck does not autocratically make one the Marlboro Man. Oh, and the band played “Dirt” twice just in case you were wondering how hard they were pushing the single.

Exhibit B:

Congratulations Justin Moore and Outlaws Like Me, you’re officially off the hot seat. Because right here, right now, I am unilaterally declaring that Florida Georgia Line’s new album Anything Goes is the worst album ever released in the history of country music. Ever. Including Florida Georgia Line’s first album Here’s To The Good Times, including anything else you can muster from the mainstream, including a 4-track recording made by a head trauma victim in a walk-in closet with a Casiotone keyboard and an out-of-tune banjo. Anything Goes can slay all comers when it comes to its heretofore unattainable degree of peerless suckitude.

In a word, this album is bullshit. Never before has such a refined collection of strident clichés been concentrated in one insidious mass. Never before have the lyrics to an album evidenced such narrowcasted pseudo-mindless incoherent drivel. Never before have such disparate and diseased influences been married so haphazardly in a profound vacuum of taste, and never have all of these atrocities been platooned together to be proffered to the public without someone, anyone with any bit of conscience and in a position of power putting a stop to this poisoning of the listening public.

Shiny objects and fire also seem to excite and distract Florida Georgia Line and fill them with a profound sense of wonder, and so soliloquies to these things also show up occasionally, as does the word “good.” They really like that word.

“Got on my smell good.
Got a bottle of feel good.
Shined up my wheels good.
You’re looking real good.”

That verse pretty much sums up this entire album. And no, these are not lyrics to the song that is actually titled “Good Good.”

Florida Georgia Line is serving the same role for music critics as Guy Fieri does for food critics: as the prime example of why we can’t have nice things. Of course, the people who like Florida Georgia Line and Fieri, who I basically assume are the exact same people, don’t care. They are happy to spend $25 on a terrible burger covered with Guy’s Fiery Awesome Sauce and then drink 13 Michelob Ultras while listening to the worst music this nation has ever produced, a genre about trucks and rural life and being tough for a bunch of people who live in Round Rock or Cobb County who wouldn’t know corn from wheat or a bulldozer from a combine.

And is it my role to be a snob and look down on these people? Yes. Yes it is.

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  • DrS

    Do they have any songs about partying at the beach? Those nu-country songs drive me around the bend.

    • DW

      PCB baby!

      • KadeKo

        If PCB is good enough for Early Cuyler, it’s good enough for me.

  • c u n d gulag

    I’m no great fan of Country music, but I do love the really classic stuff – up until the 80’s, when they “Rock&Rollified” Country music.

    Jayzoos, imo, almost all of the “New Country” over the last 30 years sucks!

    My late friend taught Country Music History as a subject at the college where I was an Adjunct in Theatre back in the late ’90’s. And he turned me on to some really great obscure old Country Music.
    When I asked him if there was any new stuff like that, he rolled his eyes, and said, “Not really. You have to look around a bit to find something really good.”

    Sure, there’s exceptions to sucking, but those are few and far between.
    It’s like looking for a grain of wheat in a field of rye.

    But, then, maybe some of you more familiar with Country can give me some links to some great new songs.
    Please.

    • cleek

      Gillian Welch, Tift Merrit, Robbie Fulks, Alison Krauss (first four albums), Del McCoury, etc

      • NobodySpecial

        Basically, look towards the genres entitled ‘Bluegrass’ and ‘Americana’ and you will avoid all things bro-country.

        • Origami Isopod

          And “alt-country.”

          • DrS

            Yeah…I worked at a record distributor (what’s that gramps) for a short time after college, and it was clear things had changed when Willie Nelson was now considered alt-country

      • Richard

        And Marty Stuart, Sturgill Simpson, Moot Davis, Lee Ann Womack, Billie Jo Shaver, Rodney Crowell, many, many more. Its very easy to find good country music being made these days, its just not the stuff on country radio or the country charts

        • DrS

          Emmylou Harris

          • Kathleen

            Mary Chapin Carpenter

      • ChrisS

        Personally, I can’t stand Robbie Fulks.

        • Origami Isopod

          Yeah, a lot of his lyrics are, uh, “problematic” to say the least.

          • I like Fulks a good deal when he is at his best, i.e., the Georgia Hard album, but I can easily see why one would dislike him.

            • Origami Isopod

              Actually, Georgia Hard was too pop for me. I like his older music… but that’s also where you find the truly obnoxious songs like “White Man’s Bourbon.”

              • Scott Lemieux

                White Man’s Bourbon.

                Yeah, I like Faulks but that got deleted from my iTunes after 1 hearing. I like Georgia Hard, though.

                • I thought Georgia Hard was a really first rate evocation of 60s/70s mainstream country with great songs. It also notably avoided anything like White Man’s Bourbon or Fuck This Town.

      • cleek

        “first four albums”

        ?

        wow, she has more records than i knew about. make that “up until 2001”. she got really ballad-heavy after a while.

      • Sturgeon’s Law is in full force with Country, but the good stuff is really good. To this list I would add Laura Cantrell, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lucinda Williams (of course), Kasey Chambers…

        And of course there are people like Lyle Lovett and Dwight Twilley who’ve been around the block and are sometimes over looked. And unless you are a serious fan, I’ll bet that there is a whole lot of stuff from the 50’s and 60’s that you probably don’t know (and that I don’t know) that’ll charm the boots off you. I’ve found that the Bob Dylan XM program, Theme Time Radio has introduced me to an alternate universe of country music that is pretty exciting.

        • Origami Isopod

          I don’t know that I’d call Kasey Chambers “country.” She’s more folk-pop, not that there’s anything terrible about it. See also the Be Good Tanyas.

          • Jackov

            Chambers is much more country/alt. country/70s country rock than folk pop.

    • Kim Ritchie, Lynn Miles, Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell

      • Origami Isopod

        Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer, Hayes Carll, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Justin Treviño, Karen Poston, Li’l Mo & the Monicats, Kim Lenz & the Jaguars, Erin Hay, The Mavericks, The Derailers, The Countrypolitans (don’t let the name fool you), Red Meat, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Cherryholmes, The Cox Family, The Gibson Brothers, The Old 97s, Hillbilly Hellcats. Nanci Griffith’s older stuff, pre-1990s (though her Other Rooms CDs of cover songs are also good). Also, earlier Neko Case, such as the CD The Virginian. Patty Loveless’s bluegrass CDs.

        Not intended as a complete list.

        Oh, and if you like some satire with your twang, The Austin Lounge Lizards, and Tom Heinl.

        • nixnutz

          See that’s actually a pretty good list of Country music that I like less than Brantley Gilbert and Randy Houser. My heart will always belong to Rose Maddox and Faron Young but I don’t have time for that stuff.

          I do love Earle’s version of “Willin'” though.

        • Robert M.

          In an odd bit of synchronicity, I have Neko Case’s Austin City Limits album playing right now. It’s pretty fantastic.

        • busker type

          Allow me to suggest The Sweetback Sisters

    • Joshua

      Country isn’t really rockified anymore. It’s thoroughly pop at this point. And all the lyrics in every song by every artist is about the exact same thing. Pickup trucks, being a real redneck, loving the troops, etc.

      • STH

        Total autotuned pop crap. I just googled and found that Florida Georgia Line is responsible for that gawdawful “you make me want to roll my window down” piece of tripe. Yes, worst band ever.

    • Did bro country happen because people wanted to hear more eagles songs, but didn’t want to risk listening to a station where they might have to hear the occasional hip-hop or rap? Is it white flight on the radio dial?

      • tsam

        No, it happened when it got fashionable to be a dirty, hairy, stinky, fat redneck like the Duck Dynasty assholes.

        • cleek

          that started in the 60s with Merle Haggard and Waylon and Willie and Hank Jr, etc.: outlaw country. but they were actual rednecks and they were actually rebelling against the slick and watered-down country that was replacing the authentic country stuff that they grew up on.

          today’s crap is as sanitized and homogenized as a Martha Stewart’s Punk Rock Halloween Party. it’s the exact mindset that the original outlaw country singers rebelled against.

          • mark f

            This is not quite right. Outlaw Country was less about being a “redneck” than just making honky-tonk and western swing music like the pre-Nashville era. More or less a rejection of centralized mass production in favor of artistic control. Nashville seized on some of the optics, I guess, but the sound doesn’t have much in common.

            • cleek

              but there was plenty of ‘long-haired country boy’ and ‘all my rowdy friends’ attitude in there (tho those particular songs came a bit later).

            • advocatethis

              What’s ironic was is that although outlaw was a reaction to countrypolitan, Chet Atkins, perhaps the lead purveyor of slick country as both a producer and player, is almost universally revered by country fans of all stripes – though that’s probably more a reflection of his status as a country guitar picker more than as a producer and singer/songwriter.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                i think that reverence for chet atkins comes from the fact he was apparently a really decent guy

      • Might be part of it.

        A lot of young people today listen to hip hop and country has kind of taken the place of pop music for the older demographic.

        That’s why most of it sounds like bad 70s/80s pop.

        • sparks

          Ugh. Glad I gave up on country when I was a teenager.

      • matt w

        White flight from the kind of station that plays the Eagles is unpossible. There’s a reason Vernon Reid called AOR “Apartheid-Oriented Radio.”

        Seriously, I swear the radio stations I grew up listening to in Pittsburgh* would play Hendrix and no other black musician. Maybe they would occasionally play “Drift Away” and that song by the Chambers Brothers. Once or twice “I got you.” They wouldn’t even play War.

        *Before I leapt ship to the college stations and the new-wave station which frankly was also white as hell.

        • witlesschum

          The AV Club had a great article about this with regard to alternative so-called stations in the late 90s, pointing out that their programmers would play Eminem and the Beasties, but no other hip hop. At least at that time, radio programmers were still happy to play Living Colour’s big hit and, of course, Lenny Kravitz was huge, but the whole “no hip hop, unless it’s by white guys” was really glaring. Because most alternative fans I knew at that time had Tupac CDs on the next page of their giant CD wallets from Smashing Pumpkins, or at least had Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul next to their Beasties discs.

        • Manny Kant

          Listening to classic rock radio in the DC area in the late 90s and in Philly more recently, that’s pretty much right, although I’d say they definitely played “Low Rider” by War, aand Thin Lizzy (whose lead singer was black, at least), and maybe occasionally something by Sly and the Family Stone or Bob Marley, and maybe “Dock of the Bay”. But that’s about it.

          It’s outrageous, really.

          • tsam

            Especially outrageous since the bulk of rock n roll was actually stolen from black people and channeled through a pretty white boy from Memphis to sell to white people.

          • matt w

            Yeah, I missed Thin Lizzy. They even made it into an ad for one of the stations. But you can really count the black artists they played on two hands at most.

            (Though, tsam, that story about Elvis is drastically oversimplified to say the least; I recommend some of Greil Marcus’s writing about how amazing Elvis’s Sun work was. Or just listen to Elvis’s Sun work.)

          • J. Otto Pohl

            Phil Lynott’s mother was Irish and his father Guyanese.

          • J. Otto Pohl

            I always wonder why Zamrock never took off in the US. It certainly had the right sound. My guess is that foreign bands from outside Canada, UK, Australia, and Ireland just about never got any exposure on American radio. The only exceptions I can think of are a few Reggae artists and the Sukiyaki song.

            http://jpohl.blogspot.com/2014/01/faces-of-africa-zamrock-survivors.html

        • J. Otto Pohl

          Country Western music including newer stuff like Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and the Dixie Chicks is very popular here in Ghana. But, I have been unable to find any Ghanaian country bands. There is a lot of Afrikaans Country Western music out of South Africa, however, the only Black African Country band I have found has been these guys from Swaziland.

          http://jpohl.blogspot.com/2014/01/african-country-music.html

      • Tracy

        The mopes making bro-country today were making hair metal 20-odd years ago.

    • c u n d gulag

      Thanks, folks!

      Keep ’em comin’! :-)

      • Hogan

        You might want to get caught up with Loretta Lynn.

        • rea

          Talk about your unlikely successful collaborations–Jack White and Loretta Lynn . . .

          • That is such a good album.

          • tsam

            Seeing things like that validates my romantic notions of music and art, which is why I’m so so glad they exist, because my romantic notions are just as silly as everyone else’s romantic notions.

          • DrS

            Heh…for a split second I pictured Loretta Lynn and Jack Black

          • rhino

            Jack White. What an infuriating man.

            Just when I find him at peak-ridiculous, he busts out something like this.

    • There are a lot of pretty good artists on Bloodshot Records. Robbie Fulks lives there. He also just toured with the Mekons…

    • nixnutz

      My taste in country music is strongly biased towards stuff from the 40s and 50s, I like Merle Haggard largely because of his association with Roy Nichols, but I like this super stupid bro country better than almost everything that’s come out post-1958.

      I particularly like to listen to Dee Jay Silver‘s mix show out of Nashville, it’s just the right serving size, half an hour of extremely dumb country with extra beats, once a week, and that suits me fine.

      I do like most of the alt types you guys are naming, and I listen to Tom Russell all the damn time but I have no problem with Florida-Georgia Line, Aldean or Big Smo.

      Although I can definitely imagine getting sick of it in a hurry if my exposure to it weren’t entirely by my own choice, also I find the whole country identity thing typified in “Round Here” fascinating and probably wouldn’t if it weren’t exotic.

      None of which is to deny that it’s terrible but if it’s not Lefty it might as well be this.

  • NobodySpecial

    Protest.

    Nickelback had musical talent that they brutally suppressed in favor of sales. (Exhibits A and B.)

    These guys? Plug and Play moppets. You could literally replace them with any of 100 American Idol rejects with properly placed tattoos and acquire the same lacquered output.

  • Todd

    But look at how proactive they are! You are overlooking the positivity of their inherent dynamism, as displayed onstage by a synergistic call to an atavistic experience. Pseudo-authenticity is the new black.

    • petesh

      [golf clap]

    • Lee Rudolph

      I’m reading LGM while a seminar speaker (coming into my office via the internet) is denying being a post-modernist. And then you come along. There is no justice. (“We are talking with words, like the lay people do. But” etc.)

  • Marc

    It’s difficult to beat Yes and the Grateful Dead in the “incoherent lyrics” department.

    On the other hand, they both did exhibit some actual musical talent in their, well, music.

    • NobodySpecial

      What, you didn’t find lyrics like this tremendous?

      Here is my heart
      waiting for you
      Here is my soul
      I eat at Chez Nous

      Genius, I say.

      • rea

        A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,
        And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,
        And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar,
        Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour.
        And assessing points to nowhere, leading ev’ry single one.
        A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun,
        And take away the plain in which we move,
        And choose the course you’re running.

        Down at the edge, round by the corner,
        Not right away, not right away.
        Close to the edge, down by a river,
        Not right away, not right away.

        • Alan Tomlinson

          I too find the lyrics of these two bands to be an acquired taste(that I did not). That said, I believe that Jon Anderson is on record, as it were, saying that he chose words primarily for their rhyme rather than for their meaning.

          Cheers,

          Alan Tomlinson

        • Malaclypse

          I see your Yes, and raise you a Robyn Hitchcock.

          She was sinister but she was happy
          Basically she was the Jeanne Moreau type
          Sinister but she was happy
          Sinister but she was always pleased to see you
          And her living words
          Were her dying words
          She said “Yeah”

          She was sinister but she was happy
          With a cheery smile and poison blowpipe
          Sinister but she was happy
          Like a kind of spider half-inclined to free you
          Her lopsided grin made it so hard to win
          She said:
          “Alright you are — and your promises
          Are just promises — but a sinister little
          Wave of a hand goes a long, long way
          In these troubled times”

          She was sinister but she was happy
          And you can’t say that of everybody can you?
          Sinister but she was happy
          Like a chandelier festooned with leeches
          And she rolled along
          Till she came on strong and she said:
          “Alright you are and your promises
          just are promises — but a sinister little
          Wave of a hand goes a long, long way
          In these troubled times.”

          • Owlbear1

            Seasons crying no despair
            Alligator Lizards in the air in the air
            do doot doo do dooot do do doot dooo

            • tsam

              There’s danger on the edge of town
              Ride the King’s highway, baby
              Weird scenes inside the gold mine
              Ride the highway west, baby

              Ride the snake, ride the snake
              To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
              The snake is long, seven miles
              Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold

              The inimitable Jim Morrison.

              • rea

                Out on the vast and subtle plains of mystery
                A split tongue spirit talks
                Noble as a nickel chief
                Striking up an old juke box
                And he says:
                “Snakes along the railroad tracks.”
                He says, “Eagles in jet trails …”
                He says, “Coils around feathers and talons on scales …
                Gravel under the belly plates …”
                He says, “Wind in the Wings …”
                He says, “Big bird dragging it’s tail in the dust …
                Snake kite flying on a string.”

                The even more inimitable Joni . . .

    • I think Ronnie James Dio could give them some pretty stiff competition.

      • busker type

        True story:
        Ronnie James Dio came to my high school as a motivational speaker in about 1996.
        All I really remember was one kid getting thrown out of the assembly for shouting “Ozzie” over and over, and that Dio kept getting sidetracked from his core message(“say no to drugs”) and drifting into the more interesting subject of “hey kids, here’s some funny stories about the old days, when I did a LOT of drugs”

      • Holy Diver
        You’ve been down too long in the midnight sea
        Oh what’s becoming of me

        Ride the tiger
        You can see his stripes but you know he’s clean
        Oh don’t you see what I mean

        Gotta get away
        Holy Diver

        Shiny diamonds
        Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
        Something is coming for you

        Race for the morning
        You can hide in the sun ’till you see the light
        Oh we will pray it’s all right

        Gotta get away-get away

        Between the velvet lies
        There’s a truth that’s hard as steel
        The vision never dies
        Life’s a never ending wheel

        • It doesn’t mean anything, but man I love the way it sounds.

          • tsam

            Haha! I know exactly what you mean. I loved that song when I was a kid.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        His stuff for ELF before he joined Rainbow was pretty good.

  • tsam

    No band in America makes people with decent taste want to punch themselves in the face like Florida Georgia Line, the Nickelback of country music.

    1: Everyone needs to get off Nickelback’s nuts. Seriously–listen to the radio, they are far far far from the worst thing out there. You will NOT give AC/DC, Kiss, Skynard, Nugent, and all these pop-hop dummies a pass and hack on Nickelback.

    2: I want to punch THEM in the face, not myself. I didn’t write the lousy country crap.

    • I can’t say I ever liked Nickleback, but yeah, there’s a lot worse out there.

      I must be the only person of my generation that never liked AC/DC. Their vocals were always fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Doesn’t matter which lead singer. I know they had more than one.

      • tsam

        I don’t like them either, but for some reason they get all the hate out there, despite being on the radio constantly (meaning most of the people who say they hate them really don’t). I fucking HATE it when it’s fashionable to hate something or someone with no good reason. Nickelback isn’t a pretentious, Creed type band, they don’t write jingoistic dogshit fuckery like Kid fucking Rock, they don’t do the outrageous and offensive publicity stunts, they just play plain, boring rock music. So the hate is totally unjustified, and the love for shit bands that turned music into a stage show and made MTV a thing like Kiss and Alice Cooper is completely unjustified as well. I don’t have a real problem with AC/DC, either, but they aren’t any better than Nickelback.

        People can be so fucking stupid about music. It really grinds my gears.

        • Linnaeus

          I liked Kid Rock better when he was a rapper. Haven’t listened to him since he made the turn to country-ish rock. But that’s not saying a whole lot.

          • tsam

            He was. I even like a few of those songs. But this flag waving redneck shit he’s doing now makes me all stabby and hatey and such.

          • Who the hell told Kid Rock that he was allowed to call himself that?

            • tsam

              The same guy who advised Kanye to call himself Yeezus? I don’t know. The whole self-promotion thing in hip-hop is the turdiest thing I’ve seen in a long time and I’m 26 years old.

              (no I’m not, I’m 45)

            • He calls himself that because no one would even pirate a track by Kid Rap Metal.

        • NobodySpecial

          Alice Cooper is several orders of magnitude better than any of the other bands listed in that post. Not to mention his band backed Lou Reed on Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal. Very talented band, with better songs.

          • STH

            At least Alice Cooper always had a sense of humor, especially about himself.

            • tsam

              ALICE COOPER Says SARAH PALIN Is ‘Totally A Breath Of Fresh Air’

              I’ll just leave this here.

            • tsam

              He also made the list of Hollywood Republicans, along with other brilliant minds such as Pat Sajak, Jessica Simpson, Sly Stallone, Meatloaf, Tony Danza, Jon Voight and Chuck Norris.

              Just sayin’

              • Origami Isopod

                I hadn’t known Meatloaf was a Rethug. I’ll never think about Eddie in Rocky Horror Picture Show the same way again.

                • tsam

                  You didn’t see him butcher The Star Spangled Banner at a Romney rally?

              • matt w

                And James Brown and Johnny Ramone. You can have shitty politics and great music.

                • tsam

                  It’s NOT FAIR

          • Scott Lemieux

            his band backed Lou Reed on Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal.

            Dick Wagner, R.I.P.

        • KmCO

          Yep, or when people don’t seem to understand that their own subjective preferences are a reflection of their own personal experiences with the music and not objective, unimpeachable standards. I mean, yeah, it’s hard to argue that Nickelback is on par with, say, King Crimson in terms of sheer quality, but I won’t argue with someone who personally likes Nickelback better. It’s not my place to do so. People’s preferences are always–always–subjective and personal.

          • tsam

            And that’s OK. But when they turn into a trope and it’s fashionable to hate on them, we have a real problem.

            I will always place Pink Floyd at number one all time greatest rock bands, but I certainly don’t expect everyone else to. Some people probably think Nickelback is the best band ever. Their prerogative, not mine or anyone else’s.

            • Pink Floyd? Really? Such joyless music, and really just blues riffs played real slow. Somewhere– I think in Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer talks about the foolishness of seeking profundity in popular music. Now, of course ol’ Norman didn’t really know shit about music, and of course he said a lot of extraordinarily stupid things, many of which he probably believed. Even so, I can’t listen to something like The Wall and be reminded of Mailer.

              • tsam

                Well, there are a couple of reasons.

                The note progressions are exactly what I would do if I were creative enough to actually write music correctly.

                David Gilmour is THE reason I picked up a guitar 20 years ago. He is my all time favorite guitar player.

                Much of it is blues riffs slowed down, and much of it sounds much more complicated than it is, but the female vocal harmonies, the keyboard riffs and leads, the galloping bass lines on songs like Sheep…just “speaks” to me.

                • advocatethis

                  If for nothing else, Pink Floyd’s existence is justified by 4 and a half minutes of Clare Torry.

            • KmCO

              I second tsam on Pink Floyd–I love, love, LOVE Floyd. My favorite of their output is their pre-“Dark Side of the Moon” material. “A Saucerful of Secrets” is particularly beloved by me.

              • tsam

                WORD. We’ll show these philistines what REAL MUSIC IS ABOUT!!

              • Scott Lemieux

                I like Meddle more than Dark Side.

                • tsam

                  I really like “One of These Days” but Dark Side is still the seminal piece for me. For all of rock music, actually. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times and will listen hundreds more.

                • advocatethis

                  For years Dark Side was my touchstone and I shaded Wish You Were Here because it didn’t strike me as being as dynamic. Around twenty years ago that shifted for me and now Dark Side sounds thin to me, while I appreciate Wish You Were Here in large part because of those slowed down blues rifts. Gilmour is one of the more tasteful and restrained rock guitar soloists.

                • tsam

                  I don’t get thin out of Dark Side at all. “Time” alone is a fantastic song, musically and lyrically, and contains THE best guitar solo ever recorded. (IMO, of course)

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I mean, Dark Side is excellent, but I prefer Meddle and WYWH. I listen to Animals just as much but I don’t really want to claim that it’s better.

              • nixnutz

                I like them pretty well up until Meddle too but a Pink Floyd fan complaining that AC/DC fans take their rock music idols too seriously is straining credibility.

          • advocatethis

            I don’t mind so much if people rag on a band as the worst ever, even if it’s a band I like. What gets my goat is when they insist that if you don’t love, adore, and just flat out worship a particular act then you have no right commenting on or even listening to music in the first place.

            (Yeah, I’m looking at you, you Zappa, Beefheart, Velvet Underground, Big Star acolytes.)

            • tsam

              This.

              Beatles fans can be guilty of this fuckery too.

              • Brien Jackson

                I mean, objectively speaking, if you don’t like the Beatles you’re about six kinds of fucked up.

                • SatanicPanic

                  People don’t have to love every song, because I think half their output was crap (the other half was genius), but saying “they suck” is a sure sign that someone is an irredeemable hipster.

                • tsam

                  If there isn’t at least a few Beatles songs that you really like (frinstinz: “While My Guitar…” and “Sgt Pepper’s….”), you really are at least a solid 4 kinds of a fucked up–maybe even six.

                  EDIT: And “Come Together”. Where the fuck was I on that one?

                • Meh. They never really did it for me.

                  Sure they had some good songs, but most of their early stuff was bubblegum and then they went off into psychedelics and eastern religion.

                  Talented? Certainly. Influential? Undeniably.

                  Doesn’t mean I have to be a fan. I thought rock and roll was supposed to be about individuality? But I’m supposed to like the same band everyone else likes?

                • KmCO

                  I like the Beatles from Rubber Soul onwards, but let’s face it: they were fairly overrated. They’re frequently lauded as the greatest rock band of all time, but IMO there are many bands out there that were better. I actually like the Beatles’ solo careers better than their output as a band (I love me some George Harrison).

                • The Dark Avenger

                  C’mon, Elenor Rigby, for Christ’s sake.

            • Origami Isopod

              That’s annoying regardless of whether it’s a band, a movie director, an author, or a comics artist. There are some rough gradients of quality, sure, but different things speak to different people, and nobody is obliged to like what you like.

              • tsam

                Except for roast beef sandwiches. If you don’t like those, you’re dead to me.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Send white lilies. I like white lilies.

                • advocatethis

                  French dip roast beef sandwiches

                • Davis X. Machina

                  North-Shore-of-Boston roast beef sandwiches. With sauce. And cheese.

                  I’d kill for a Riley’s (RIP) Big One right now….

                • ChrisS

                  Clark’s Alehouse in Syracuse (now closed, but soon to reopen in a new downtown location) is a fantastic place.

                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/clarks-ale-house-syracuse

                  Fresh carved roast beef sandwichs, NY sharp cheddar, thick slices of red onion, and two condiments: brown mustard or horseradish.

                  Plus dozens of rotating beers including cask conditioned ales. Can’t wait for the reopening.

                • cleek

                  Beef On Weck/Wick

                  roast beef on a Kaiser roll that’s been backed with coarse salt and caraway seeds on top (aka a Kimmelweck roll), served with au jus.

                  a western NY specialty.

        • mark f

          Nickelback might not be the most objectively awful band around, but their hooks, production value, and singer’s voice are just pseudo-hard rockish enough not only to not consign them to niche radio, but to make the band pervasive. Obviously sub-Nickelback imitators like those “Lips of an Angel” guys are more terrible, but I don’t hear them every time I go somewhere with piped-in music.

        • Brett

          Amen. There’s a fucking “herd” aspect out there with a lot of music critics, whereupon once something is designated as the Thing to Hate Upon, they then compete to come up with the sickest burn to hit them with. Fuck that shit.

          Oh, fuck it. I like a couple of Nickelback songs.

          • tsam

            I still like “How You Remind Me”, which I believe was their breakout hit.

        • witlesschum

          In general, I agree with your point that stuff gets hated for less than good reasons, but on the specific I’m with the crowd, Nickelback is atrocious and their vocals are what pushes them over the top from their contemporaries for me. And Hero is jingoistic shit anthem. But there’s a lot of horrific music of that type that the Onion called hunger dunger dang music.

          The band I’ll stick up from that was Seven Mary Three (the Cumbersome guys), who made a pretty good album after the one with their hits on it called Rockcrown.

          Kiss or Cooper are certainly meh, but I like AC/DC. Some of that bluesier Bon Scott stuff deserves an extra listen or two, also.

          • tsam

            When I’m out drinking or even playing in a band, AC/DC is the BOMB. I love playing it, I can sing it, and it lights up a crowd. That’s a top priority for rock music–be fun. I’m just tired of being told ” … ” is a shit band and you suck if you like them–the corollary as stated above–best band ever, like them or you’re stupid is just as true.

            I just don’t think it’s fair that Nickelback turned into the butt of every bad music joke when they’re not even in the same dimension as some of the other shit that makes it on the radio and stays there for some inexplicable reason. I don’t think Nickelback earned that.

            • witlesschum

              Well, I do think they’re absolutely in that dimension.

              But I know what you mean that they didn’t earn it. They were unlucky in timing in that they were around for the end of hunger dunger dang, when people were really getting sick of it and they’re popular enough that lots of people know who they are. My co-worker was listening to a similarly shitty song at her desk today and I had no idea who it was by, turned out to be Fuel who I vaguely make by had heard of and maybe I’d heard the song? Also, who’s ever met a passionate Nickleback fan who’ll defend them? Only in YouTube comments.

              • tsam

                And I get what you’re saying about the dude’s voice. He sounds like he’s trying to squeeze out a giant poop and I get a laugh out of it. Maybe they are that bad. I’m just more indifferent to them than anything, but I can see why they make people cringe.

          • The difference between Nickelback and the other dumb butt rock bands mentioned above is that they’re not really fun. All of their big hits are glurgy sentimental nonsense.

            • tsam

              Well, except for Rockstar, which is actually kind of funny, and the video has some strange cameos–like Wayne Gretzky and Lupe Fiasco…?

              Otherwise, yeah, I don’t wanna look at this photograph.

      • Origami Isopod

        I’m not “into” them in particular or hard rock/metal in general, but their most popular songs were a whole lot of dumb fun.

    • Joshua

      I feel like KISS’ inherent awfulness has been part of the point of that band since at least 1979.

      • My problem with KISS is that they don’t seem want to let everyone else in on the joke. That’s a pretty big problem for a band that wears clown make-up while playing songs about blowjobs.

        • tsam

          There cannot be any possible better way to summarize KISS than what you just said.

          + why aren’t YOU a music critic instead of the snobby hipster douchebags that I encounter every time I try to read a music review?

        • J. Otto Pohl

          If they had made Peter Criss the lead singer they could have been a decent Country band. Go take a listen to Hard Luck Woman.

    • Linnaeus

      You may have a point with Kiss and with Nugent. Skynyrd is, I think, overrated at times, but is not at Nickelback level. I gotta differ with you on AC/DC.

      • KmCO

        Skynyrd has one or two genuinely great songs.

        • Linnaeus

          Which is why I think they’re overrated.

        • tsam

          I’m sure they do, but that verse in Sweet Home about the guv in Birmingham gave me such a reflexive hatred for them that I would rather listen to the Chipmunks Christmas music that those scumbag assholes.

          • KmCO

            Sweet Home Alabama is a revolting song, and I can’t handle more than about two seconds of it at any given time. But Tuesday’s Gone? Great song.

            • Linnaeus

              I was always partial to Gimme Three Steps.

            • ScottRS

              The good news about Sweet Home Alabama is that if you can get the band to play it, you can instead sing the lyrics “Werewolves of London”.

          • rea

            The meaning of the lyric is a little different than your take on it:

            In Birmingham, they love the governor (boo boo boo)
            Now we all did what we could do . . .

            They’re saying that there are good people in Alabama who did what they could to oppose segregation, even if those idiots in Birmingham liked Wallace.

            I’ll refer you to the Drive-By Truckers “Ronnie and Neil” song for further explication.

            And of course, the pro-gun control lyrics in some of their songs are pretty refreshing, coming from an Alabama band . . .

            • tsam

              The “boo hoo hoo” part just gets me every time. When their albums have the Confederate flag on the cover, I’m done with them for good and won’t be having any of this explaining away lyrics that piss me off.

              • John not McCain

                Do any of the pre-crash albums have the flag on them? None of the front covers do but I’m not gonna swear anything about inner sleeves. As far as I’m concerned nothing post-crash is real Skynyrd.

                And just for the record, actual rednecks hated Skynyrd (and the Allmans) for being dirty, filthy hippies. They didn’t get embraced by rednecks until the 80s.

                • tsam

                  I’m not sure about any of that, but I’ve decided that I hate them and won’t be convinced otherwise. NOW GET OFF MAH LAWN AND GET A HAIRCUT

            • They are actually from Florida.

            • Linnaeus

              They were from Jacksonville, Florida. So I didn’t quite get the Alabama thing.

              • cleek

                they wrote it in response to two Neil Young songs, “Southern Man” and “Alabama”.

                • Linnaeus

                  I knew about “Southern Man”, but not “Alabama”.

              • rea

                They’d made their records in Muscle Shoals.

            • Except that they are a Florida band.

              • And from this comment, you can deduce that I had not refreshed the page prior to Erik and Linneaus’s comments at 12:14 before I chimed in with news a half hour past it’s sell by date.

      • tsam

        No problem with AC/DC themselves. It’s their rabid fans who think they’re something other than a plain blues/metal band that piss me off. Some people treat them like The Beatles or some shit. They weren’t pioneers, they didn’t change anything. They’re damn good at what they do, I’ll certainly admit that.

        • Linnaeus

          Oh, I totally agree there. They’re a good hard rock band. That’s it. And that’s fine.

          • tsam

            It’s totally fine. With rare exception, the Rolling Stones were nothing more than a good rock band with blues roots. They have some real masterpieces, like Sympathy, Gimme Shelter, Paint it Black, and a WHOLE LOT of bubblegum crap.

            • nixnutz

              You say “bubblegum crap” like it’s a bad thing.

              • Origami Isopod

                Agreed. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

              • tsam

                I said no such thing. I can listen to 3 chord fun music all day long and not feel the least bit guilty about it.

                Latest not-guilty pleasure: Miranda Lambert/Not My Mama’s Broken Heart.

                • StuckinOz

                  I just looked up that Miranda Lambert song on youtube and the ad at the beginning of the video was for Florida Georgia Line’s new album. I liked the Lambert song, though!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, fuck Chuck Klosterman (who recently compared Simmons/Stanley to Ray Davies, fer Chrissakes) and everyone else who wants us to pretend that Kiss wasn’t terrible.

      • KmCO

        I dislike Klosterman for his pretentious style and his weird apologia for self-destructive cults, not for his subjective preferences in music.

      • tsam

        Simmons and Stanley can be best compared to K-Street senators. They know precisely shit about rock and roll and they played a large part in turning it into what it is today, a visual medium with music as a backdrop.

      • drkrick

        KISS (and in particular Simmons – everyone else was more or less along for the ride) succeeded on their own terms as few bands or businesses ever do. Part of the goal was making a boatload of money, which is understandable for a guy who experienced the kind of poverty he did growing up. But the bigger part of it was earning that money by delivering massive, flashy, low-demand entertainment for adolescents and the adolescent at heart. God knows there was never any artistic ambition there, which they made no bones about, but they were as good as anyone at what they were trying to do. There’s nothing stopping the kids who liked them at 14 from moving on to something better if they were inclined to.

        I find writers who try to pretend there is any art in there amusing, not infuriating, as I suspect Simmons does.

        • Hogan

          Willow [reading graffiti]: Kiss rocks? Why would anyone want to . . . oh. I get it.

        • Halloween Jack

          I don’t fault KISS for making a fortune by playing butt rock while trotting out numerous cheesy gimmicks; that was basically every 70s thirteen-year-old boy’s dream. (It was certainly mine.) The unfortunate side effect of that, though, is that it inflated Gene Simmons’ already considerable ego, and Simmons is one of the biggest creeps in rock, and that’s saying something.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Mike Judge casting him as an ambulance chaser was particularly inspired.

        • The Temporary Name

          God knows there was never any artistic ambition there, which they made no bones about

          They do have a couple of concept albums behind them. You think Simmons wouldn’t have enough ego to claim the status of artist?

          Mmm, juicy collaborations with Lou Reed…
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_from_%22The_Elder%22

      • SatanicPanic

        KISS to Ray Davies? Christ what an ass

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          it seems like the kind of thing one should read for oneself just to see how klosterman went about making that particular comparison… but naaah

  • Then there’s what I call the “standard male country singer voice” that all the new Nashville acts seem to have adopted.

    It’s like they’re all trying so hard to sound masculine that it’s forced.

  • Joshua

    How could this band possibly be worse than Madison Rising?

    • Madison Rising recanted when they became adults.

      • GeoX

        I think you’re thinking of Prussian Blue.

        • KmCO

          Sounds right. The Prussian Blue girls, IIRC, denounced their mother’s views and became neo-hippies. Madison Rising was created this past year and is an entirely different thing (although arguably just as lame). I have not followed them as I do not have a penchant for masochism, so I don’t know if they’ve gone anywhere since their debut.

          • tsam

            Unless Madison is a euphemism for penis, I’ll have none of this rising business.

        • rea

          Yeah, he’s thinking of the preteen girl neo-Nazi Holocaust denial band Prussian Blue. Madison Rising are the guys who do awful rock patriotic songs–so bad they got their version of the Star Spangled Banner booed at a NASCAR event (as memorably reported here), and yeah, they might well be worse than FGL.

          • Halloween Jack

            They also provided the theme song for Sarah Palin’s latest bottom-tier-cable-channel show. Of course.

          • Here’s that abomination, via Deadspin. It is truly appalling. Nothing says “patriotic” quite like destroying the national anthem.

    • tsam

      Isn’t Big and Rick the “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” dopes? If so, they’re the worst of all time.

      • Origami Isopod

        Big and Rich, I believe.

        • tsam

          Oops–You’re right. Big and Bich.

          • rea

            I believe that’s spelled with a “t”

            • tsam

              I’ll not dignify them with a correct name spelling.

      • nixnutz

        They did kick a lot of this current stuff off, they did the country rap stuff with Cowboy Troy, and also with Lil Jon, they wrote and produced a lot of extremely corny stuff but they seem to have been left behind in this more “authentic” bro-country wave.

        The version of “Live Forever” they produced for Billy Joe Shaver was OK and probably a sincere effort to make him some money, but it was entire unnecessary since several superior versions already existed.

  • mark f

    The best thing about Florida Georgia Line is that their name and pictures preclude me from having to ever hear them in order to hate their music.

  • Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line looks like country music’s take on Scott Stapp

    Ugg. Shove it in the next Antares rocket and walk away. And on the topic of yodeling tossers, Creed is the proper comparison for truly shitty bands. Nickleback is merely meh.

    However, I was very relieved to learn that this band’s Dirt isn’t a cover of the Alice In Chains song. That would have had … unfortunate consequences.

    • matt w

      The only “Dirt” for me is the Stooges song.

      …wait, are we talking about the mixing of the two dirts? /ancient blog history

      • Four Krustys

        Lou Reed libel! (Plus he also did “Downtown Dirt” and “Dirty Boulevard”. Guy had a lot to say about topsoil.)

        • matt w

          I had completely forgotten about that Lou Reed song. It’s a scabrous enough song but the Stooges song is still The One.

  • Mellano

    Say what you will about the tenets of “stick a boot in your ass,” at least it’s an ethos. This concert sounds like Sesame Street for grown-ups.

    • tsam

      + 100 Walters and 1 nihilist.

    • GeoX

      Except that Sesame Street is good.

  • Gwen

    I think a big part of what makes an act stand the test of time is an element of authenticity.

    I know that Taylor Swift gets a lot of criticism; she’s #5 on the Dallas Observer’s listicle “Top 10 Biggest Douchebags in Country Music.” But to me, at least, T. Swift seems to be authentically a slightly-vapid pop princess, and somehow she’s “keeping it real” even if “real” involves going through three boyfriends per week. I recently saw in a tabloid her exes complaining that she likes to talk about her cats on dates. A lot. And I thought, “aww, that’s just adorable.”

    OTOH, I have no idea how anyone could authentically be as big a douchebag as FGL, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and Blake Shelton claim to be. It’s all just obviously an act. It’s scientifically impossible that anyone could be that stupid.

    Right?

    Right?

    Someone please tell me I’m right.

    • Gwen

      And there’s nothing wrong with singing about trucks and getting drunk, just do it in a way that is original or emotionally compelling!

      One of my favorite songs of the year so far is Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane,” for crying out loud. But rather than posing as a bro who is all about good times, the song is about a guy who is emotionally vulnerable and hurt. And that really gets me going.

        • rea

          Little Feet–Still Willin’:

          I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
          I’m drunk and dirty don’t you know, and I’m still, oh I’m still
          Oh out on the road late at night
          I see my pretty Alice in every head light
          Alice, Dallas Alice

          Now smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
          Baked by the sun, almost every time I go to Mexico, and I’m willin’
          And I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
          Had my head stoved in, but I’m still on my feet
          And I’m willin’, oh I’m willin’

          And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
          Tehachapi to Tonapah
          Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
          Driven the back roads so wouldn’t get weighed
          And if you give me weed, whites and wine
          And when you show me a sign and I’ll be willin’ and to be movin’

      • Brien Jackson

        Dierks Bentley is quite possibly the only reason I still flip by country stations on the radio occasionally.

        Brad Paisley has some fun songs too.

    • tsam

      I don’t know–Toby Keith, Chuck Norris, Todd Akins…they can be that stupid.

      I don’t think there is a credible, objective measure for authenticity, but to me, as long as someone has a clear understanding of who they are and what they do, I’m totally fine with it. If you’re singing songs about pickup trucks and beer, you don’t compare yourself to Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan. If you just want to play music and make people happy and not really say anything, that’s totally fine. In fact that’s what most music is, really.

      I used to think Garth Brooks was a major douche until I saw him on Saturday Night Live. He was funny, made fun of himself and even participated in the homoerotic “Mango” thing, which I thought was hilarious. So while I don’t like his music, I came to think he has a pretty good handle on his place in the music business, and that’s just fine with me.

      • The Dark Avenger

        I saw him about 2+ decades ago live, I wasn’t a country fan, but I went to see him with a distant relative who likes country, and I can tell you that he walks the walk. We waited 2 hours for her to get an autograph, and during that time I could see that he was cheerful, patient, etc., with his fans, a prince among men, as my grandmother would say.

        • tsam

          That’s the read I got…and as far as I’m concerned, he can play whatever pop/country hybrid he wants.

        • Brien Jackson

          True story: Right before Friends in Low Places blew up, he had signed up to do a county fair gig in our little podunk Ohio town. Of course, once he became a megastar not long after everyone figured that was off, and the organizers called his booker to give them a contract buyout number yada yada. So like two days later they get a call back from Garth Brooks himself saying that he had no intention of backing out of any shows he’d signed up for just because they weren’t big enough, and that his tour was going to help cover the cost of extra security, parking lot workers, etc. He did autograph sessions for hours before and after the show, and generally was a downright decent guy.

      • Kathleen

        I respect him a lot because he respects his fans and works very hard to put on a great show. Also, he caught some flack back in the 90’s I think for a song he performed about domestic abuse.

        • The Dark Avenger

          The Thunder Rolls.

    • burnspbesq

      The quality of Ms. Swift’s work isnt the biggest problem.

      The biggest problem is that she has sucked all the air out of the room, and made it impossible for an entire generation of great young female country/folk/bluegrass/Americana artists to get exposure. Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, Ashley Monroe, Holly Williams, Sierra Hull, Caitlin Rose, Kacey Musgraves … Even “established” artists like Natalie Maines and Allison Moorer are struggling to get out of the Swiftian shadow.

      • Ahuitzotl

        Im not actually clear how thats her fault – she just goes and does her thing, right?

        • rea

          Ah, but she was mean to the cute little English boy, just because he liked indy music that was way cooler than hers (despite being in a boy band himself)(shit, 60 years old and I can quote Taylor Swift lyrics from memory–being around teenagers rots your brain).

      • tsam

        Before her it was Carrie Underwood, before her Shania Twain…Has this not always been the case?

      • Scott Lemieux

        Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, Ashley Monroe, Holly Williams, Sierra Hull, Caitlin Rose, Kacey Musgraves

        Lots of good stuff here, and let me also cite Brandy Clark.

      • nixnutz

        I guess I’m still a little surprised that Kacey Musgraves isn’t as big as she could be, although I think she’ll get there. Her album was #1 country but with half-a-million sales. I can’t really see how Swift’s cross-over success is anything but an advantage to her though.

  • Origami Isopod

    That second reviewer is …. not a good person.

    Not to get all old man on your ass, but most of the time I don’t even understand what the hell these dudes are saying. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have their own language, partial to the most grammatically-challenged and stupefying vocabulary lurking in the dankest sewers of the English dialect, but not residing firmly in any specific one of them so no truly proper translation can be obtained. It’s like Pig Latin for douchewads—understood by them and them only. And only with the perfect deficiency of brain cells will their concoction of Ebonics, metrosexual douche speak, and stagnant gene pool rural jargon become anything resembling coherent to the human ear.

    • witlesschum

      Well, someone doesn’t just skip over the stupid quotes. I mean, hating Florida Georgia Line seems just fine, but hating them at this volume and length? It’s weird and I’m not surprised about the ungood peopling.

  • I lean more Bluegrassy and Honkytonky-ish. Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell (seconded, thirded), earlier Nanci Griffith (she calls her music “folkabilly”), Tim O’Brien, anything with Jerry Douglas in the band, Sarah Jarosz (a new entry). I have to say I’ve always liked Lyle Lovett’s small band stuff, especially his first, self-titled album, Road to Ensenada and Step Inside This House.

    • My tastes are probably influenced by my wife, who is a pretty fair mandolin player in various bands. Her friends and colleagues make pretty much the same complaint Erik makes in his post — mainstream stuff sucks currently.

      I’ve also gone to quarter horse competitions/shows for most of my life. There is always a CW sound track playing between events when people are exercising their horses. I’ve noticed that they don’t really play anything newer than the 1990s. I can see why.

  • ChrisS

    Last year I was lucky enough to see Marty Stuart (and Superlatives) play a stripped down acoustic set at a small college theater (with maybe 100 people). It was pretty goddamned amazing. He was of the no-hat country acts.

    Commercial country is just that. Since the mid-80s or so, the producers and record companies have whittled it down to a dozen or so song types that a significant percentage of their market enjoys listening to (mainly because it makes them feel good about their lives (Hey! I drive a truck too!). They’ve pretty much put it on auto-pilot since then. Whenever a song gets too stale, they just have one of their songwriters on salary crank out a few versions of a new one based on the previous template, find a new party-guy that fits the look, polish it up in a few hours with studio musicians, sit back and the count the money.

    • cleek

      exactly like Top40.

  • I did my residency in Nashville back in the 1970s. They had all these bars up and down Printer’s Alley (right near the old Opry) with amazing live music. You could go with some friends, buy a two dollar pitcher of beer, and sit for hours. That scene is pretty long gone.

  • Downpuppy

    At the Jiminy Peak Mountain park this summer, they were continuously playing the absolute worst country muzak I’d ever heard. Most of us can get away from the stuff, but the poor kids that worked there suffered horribly.

  • A couple of years ago I saw a show at the Oprey, and although there was one guy who sang a song that rhymed “Have you forgotten” with “bin Ladin” for the most part it was pretty great stuff. All of those Nashville cats can flat-out play, for one thing. For another, that stage and that tradition are taken really seriously by the performers, and that came through.

  • DrS

    Now wondering just what it would take for me to willingly go to a Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar

  • Brien Jackson

    “Florida Georgia Line is serving the same role for music critics as Guy Fieri does for food critics”

    Florida Georgia Line wishes they were worth putting it the same breath as Fieri. At least the latter has a legitimately interesting television show. And I’m not shitting you: I checked out Fieri’s restaurant in the Horsheshow Casino in Baltimore, and the pastrami burger was fandamntastic.

    • KadeKo

      A good TV chef (like GF) makes me think “Hey, I could try that! I might be able to pull it off!” It stirs my ambition in the kitchen.

      I have a nephew in a band. Myself, I have very little talent, so I have the luxury of not needing to play things that only other peole like.

      Nothing from GF Line makes me think, “That’s catchy enough I want to learn it.”

  • randomworker

    @NobodySpecial Re: Nickleback – Sorry for the delayed response. I was in the middle of Hail to the Thief and didn’t want to click over.

    So exhibit A I’m thinking “kinda like Metallica but without that…something…” and then get to exhibit B and lo-and-behold it’s a Metallica cover!

    I do agree with you there is a lot of schlock out there and Nickleback is not the worst of it.

    Florida Georgia Line. Oh wow.

    We were discussing music over at Drums place yesterday. I was one of the Nickleback haters but yeah, there were lots more deserving of my hatred than them.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/why-do-republicans-hate-beatles

    Regards!

  • KadeKo

    In country music you can understand every word, so if someone writes one more song about driving around in a pickup truck it will be cogitated and understood, by a fanbase which doesn’t throw out its history.

    That makes the failure of storytelling in country a much bigger problem

    Rock? A great solo can make the listener forget the bleh lyrics. Pop? All it needs is to be catchy.

    See: Every song about heartbreak in country music. You write a new song and the audience is already subconciously wondering if it’s gonna tweak them the same way that “Walking After Midnight” does. That’s a high bar to clear.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Every song about heartbreak in country music. You write a new song and the audience is already subconciously wondering if it’s gonna tweak them the same way that “Walking After Midnight” does. That’s a high bar to clear.

      “Walking After Midnight” is a pretty counter-productive argument for your thesis. It’s only Patsy Cline’s “great solo” voice that allowed this listener to forget—nay, never really take in—the more-than-bleh lines “a weeping willow, crying on his pillow, maybe he’s crying for me” for going on 50 years. Not until this summer, when, in an effort to wring a last bit of fabulous blues and country-and-western out of the Family Soprano before she goes over completely to the Dark Sideopera (last month they flew her from the East Coast to Austin just for the pleasure of hearing her operatic chops!), I downloaded the tablature and lyrics, did I finally have to confront that terrible, terrible image unmediated by Patsy Cline’s high-tweak performance. (If the song has been covered by Florida Georgia Line, I don’t want to know.)

      • KadeKo

        Zeroth, thanks for reading this thread I got very, very late to.

        First, you have a family soprano? Dang I’m jealous.

        Second, I bow to your expertise. I just know what I like, and my exposure to Cline’s hits began at an early age. I’ve always had a sniffer out for newer, “faker” country. I even lived through the era where it seemed there was a song about CB radio on the playlist of WHN every hour.

        Can I sell you on the merits of other old-school heartbreak songs like “Sweet Dreams”, or a Hank Williams such as “Oh Lonesome Me” or “Chains”?

        (Funny, though, I like to think I can tell which singers have the talent to sound good in that “countrypolitan” manner, like Patsy, from those who were overwhelmed by the following “Nashville” treatment. But there’s a place on my shelf for the Buck “Honky Tonk without the Molasses all over it” Owens also.)

        Last, I don’t know if anyone tried to cover it of the “a cat can look at king” variety. I have a few names I consider country “pop tarts” and don’t want to name them for fear of summoning awful covers.

        • KadeKo

          PPS I guess I’d amend that to, “a singer of note (rimshot) can sell a less-than-perfect lyric with the idea of emotional honesty”.

          In country, you need that emotional honesty idea, even if you fake it.

          In rock, exuberance and a hot solo or incredible groove and / or riff will serve, especially if you can bring it live.

          In pop, you can do a deadpan vocal, and catchiness will suffice, because my idea of the pop idiom is not live-performance based, it just has to divert my ears as a recording.

          (PPPS I wouldn’t call my posts theses, just ramblings.)

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