Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eric Church's 'The Outsiders': Risk Taking without Meaningful Content

Let's start with the positive. I applaud Eric Church's musical risk taking in his new single 'The Outsiders'. The instrumentation is certainly off the beaten path. He has rap, southern rock, country, and metal all mixed into one bizarre salad of a song. There are surprising and exciting transitions that on first listen kept my attention for the entire 4:14, despite my almost immediate disappointment with the lyrics.

I'm so sick of songs about "who we are" that it's doubtful I'll ever embrace this one. He may be celebrating to his rough and rowdy fan base, but it isn't interesting. The review on Taste of Country says "This isn't the thinking man's song like the best from "Chief". 'The Outsiders' runs on adrenaline and testosterone." I wish Church had chosen to do it all, the adrenaline, the testosterone, and the thinking. He's capable of it.

My dislike of 'The Outsiders' aside, I think this single bodes well for his next album. In the context of popular country music, "Chief" is a work of art, but the more I listen to it, the more I hope that his next album will have more of an edge. Listening to "Caught in the Act", his live album, I get the Eric Church growl that's missing from "Chief". If releasing a harebrained song like like 'The Outsiders' is his way of telling us "Watch out! I'm doing some crazy shit!" then good luck Mr. Church. I hope you pull it off.

Click the link below to read Taste of Country's review. They also have a link to the song. 

You can also hear "Outsiders" on Spotify. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Band Perry's Nice Little Ditty about Murder/Suicide

I've been listening to The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two" for a few months now. I can't think of a song that I've struggled with in this exact way.  It's a beautiful and, for country radio, interesting song, but at the same time, it makes me uncomfortable.

Every time I hear the song I ask a question. Would anyone put this song on the radio if it was sung by a man? The implication in the lyrics is that if her husband leaves her, she would kill him and die herself, one way or another.

I had female coworker years ago who told us that when they first got married she took her husband's gun, held it up in front of him and told him that if he ever cheated on her she was going to shoot him. We all chuckled and told her she was nuts, assuming that she would never really do something so crazy.  Would we have laughed at all if her husband had been the one holding the gun? No. We would have told her that we were very worried for her safety, that he sounds unhinged. The murder/suicide phenomenon when a husband or boyfriend is the shooter is too common to just dismiss.

There are many lovable men in this world, including my wonderful husband, but no lover or spouse is worth the sentiments in this song. "Better Dig Two" is written from the perspective of a woman who has a loose grasp on reality. I certainly hope that this song hasn't given young women misguided notions about romance and love.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No More Shuffle While I Shuffle Down the Road

I have taken up exercise. Yes, you heard right, this poster child for the sedentary suburban lifestyle has gotten off her couch and started to run down the street like there's something chasing her.

My dog looks confused. "What's up with the ugly shoes, Mama?"

At first I made a playlist of energetic, catchy songs to keep me going, but soon that playlist became repetitive and I lost interest.  My new approach is something I highly recommend to anyone who loves music and has a big music collection. Load an album you haven't listened to in a while, or a new album, and listen to it front to back, old style. I've been doing this for a couple of weeks and not only has it kept me engaged during my work-outs, but I've rediscovered some wonderful songs that have languished, unsynced for sometimes years.

Today I'm not feeling great so I just took a leisurely hour-long walk and listened to Jamey Johnson's Guitar Song. Have you heard "Cover Your Eyes?"
Click on the link for a video. You can forward 44seconds through Jay Leno to the song.
 Johnson can make a happily married woman feel like she's in the middle of heartbreak.

Another album I enjoyed jogging to is Miranda Lambert's Revolution. The song that stuck in my mind after that run was "Airstream Song". Nothing like a song about escape and adventure to keep you moving when you're running around the burbs. I couldn't find a decent recording of her singing it live, so here's a fan-made video. Hope you can skip the ad. I could.

The best album I've ran to lately was Metallica's Black Album. If you haven't listened to that one front to back lately, it's a masterpiece. The worst album, and I forced myself to listen to the entire darn thing, is Jason Aldean's new Night Train. In general, I like Jason Aldean. Night Train is just outright boring, but I'll save that for another post.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bombs Bursting in Air, Boom Boom

Ah Luke Bryan, you make my patriotism go Boom Boom.

Why does Luke Byran need to apologize for this performance? With all of the butchering of the Star Spangled Banner at sports events, I applaud him for making a cheat sheet.

That is all. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Koo Koo for Kenny or Just Plain Ole Crazy?

I've been following 94.7 QDR's Koo Koo for Kenny contest over the last few days. Fans proposed a crazy activity that would be in exchange for tickets to Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw's Brothers of the Sun Tour, probably the most sought after tickets of the summer. I'm assuming the radio station received many proposals and chose the ones they thought were the most entertaining.

The first three of these acts seemed appropriate, a young lady died her hair blue and has committed to keeping it that way for 18 months (too long but it's unlikely they can hold her to it), a man was taped up on a telephone pole and sang Kenny Chesney songs, and a woman bobbed for tickets in a kiddie pool filled with key lime pie. (I have no idea how long the links above will be active.)

Today the game changed, and a man had large images of QDR's ACM and CMA awards tattooed on his calves in exchange for front row seats. You read correctly, tattoos in exchange for concert tickets. I'm surprised the radio station actually went along with this as it's so extreme and permanent.

As much as I would love tickets, especially front row seats, for The Brothers of the Sun Tour, I wouldn't get a tattoo in exchange for those tickets if the tickets included a nightcap with Tim and breakfast in bed with Kenny.

The tattoo artist should have hidden an image of a Darwin Award in his design. Enjoy the concert,
Sir. Hope that laser tattoo removal doesn't sting too much.

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw singing Rock Star

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kudos to Carrie for Coming Out in Support of Gay Marriage

I am so glad that Carrie Underwood came out in support of gay marriage. You would think that Nashville makes everyone who isn't a conservative member of the Republican party wear a gag by the silence of more liberal country music stars. Brad Paisley has played at the White House, but recently, Willie Nelson has been the only one out there willing to open his mouth. 

Underwood explained her support for gay marriage during an interview with the Independent in the UK. You'll have to slog through a good bit of British condescension (country fans are "wide assed bible thumpers") to find her comments.


Then they came out with this article, discussing how her comments will affect her popularity in the US and elsewhere. I'm not concerned.


 Carrie Underwood is going to do just fine without the support of a few people who decide which singer they are going to listen to according to politics and religion. Music either speaks to a listener or it doesn't and unless a singer says or does something outrageous, fans don't abandon them. I don't agree with all of Trace Adkins political views, but like his music and will buy it regardless of what he says on Fox News.

I think celebrities get in trouble with fans when they say something that is obviously disrespectful, be it disrespectful of their fans, a racial group, a religion, the president, or the nation. Although I'm sure many of her fans disagree with her on the subject of gay marriage, Underwood didn't attack them or their churches. She only talked about herself, her church, and her opinion. This is no Dixie Chicks incident.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Country Music Saves 99.9% of the Day in Costa Rica

After landing in Costa Rica and driving for three hours on windy, steep roads full of truck traffic and bridges only one car wide, I was near tears by the time we checked into our hotel, Leaves and Lizards, in the Costa Rican rain forest. The multitude of bugs that checked into our hotel room with us because we left a door open for too long pushed me completely over the edge.

When we sat down for dinner, alone in a large open-air dining room surrounded by the black of night, the sounds of country music were like a sign from God that things were going to start looking up and I was going to survive this family vacation.

So what were they playing at Leaves and Lizards, you ask? They had two albums on shuffle. Sugarland's Incredible Machine, and Brian McComas' 2003 self titled CD.

I had never heard Brian McComas. Now that I have, I'm 99.9% sure that his song "99.9% Sure (I've never been here before)" was the best possible song for the moment.

It ended up being a great trip, but apart from pictures and memories, the only souvenir I have is Brian McComas' almost ten year old album downloaded from itunes.

A couple days later in the dining room. All smiles.