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Waylon Jennings would roll over in his grave within 30 seconds of hearing Jason Aldean’s last single. Country has been in a slow downward spiral for a while. Most of today’s “country” stars are just pop-stars in cowboy hats and wranglers singing somebody else’s lyrics with a non-descript, generic, and sometimes fake (Keith Urban) southern twang. I don’t know when the downward spiral started, but I have a feeling Billy Ray’s “Achy Breaky Heart” might have given it a kick start.
Country got its roots and experienced its heyday because of authentic artists singing about what they knew. Today it has deteriorated into song after song of the same recycled bullshit portraying some pop-culture version of what “country” life is like. Jason Aldean is the culmination of country music’s descent into a pop hell. The fact that he even mention’s George Jones’ name in “Dirt Road Anthem” is the musical equivalent of pissing on his grave. Hey Jason, if you really are “swerving like George Jones” then I hope you veer off the road and smash into a fucking tree. He cites his musical influences as George Strait, Hank Williams Jr., and Alabama yet he comes on stage in designer jeans while crooning a 3 minute song about his kind of party. You know what my kind of a party is? A blanket party, where Jason Aldean is the guest of honor.
I can respect any artist doing their own thing but, if Aldean wants to create some bastard child genre of country, hip-hop, and Justin Timberlake he should stop trying to convince his of his small town authenticity. Listening to him sing about the simple life is like hearing Vanilla Ice rap about his life on the hard streets of suburban Miami. He might as well be reading off a teleprompter. My distaste for this new generation of country artists has nothing do to with the actual songs but rather the motive behind it. Country is the most popular genre of music in America right now and money talks. Pretty face and good voice? Check. No musical ability required. If Taylor Swift had been born 10 years earlier she would have been Brittany Spears. Country is where the money is right now so that’s what she did. Alan Jackson’s “Gone Country” pretty much sums the whole situation up.
Of course hipsters feel this way about the music they listen to…but I’m not a bleeding heart hippy who thinks that popular music is evil. I’m all about artists becoming superstars. Who the fuck wouldn’t want to make their millions that way? But they should do it by virtue of being awesome not by becoming a puppet for record labels and music radio to market to the ignorant masses. Country used to stand alone as honest genre of music but it has become part of the popular music monster. The billboard top 100 list is still categorized by genre but, usually the top 10 could be lumped together and titled “Shit People Will Buy This Week”.
There’s no real solution to the problem. As long as this is what’s selling then that’s what we’ll get. I don’t like it but this is America and money is king, and that’s how it should be. There is one shining knight on the horizon though, Justin Bieber is going country to. Rescue us Biebs (*chugs whiskey*starts crying*)