2014 was seriously one of the best in recent memory for country music. But, no year is truly perfect. Bro-country may be finally on the demise, but there were a few floaters this past year that we couldn't quite get to go down. These stinkers represent the embarrassing side of mainstream country. Hopefully, as country continues to improve, this list will be less significant, but this year it still contains a lot of big songs. Cover your ears, kids, here are the 5 Worst Songs of the Year.
First, here are some dishonorable mentions. These songs sucked, but didn't quite reach the magnitude of suckage that the top 5 did... so, congrats?
"Somethin' Bad"- Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood (still love them, but this was bad)
"Bottoms Up"- Brantley Gilbert (his album wasn't terrible, but this song was)
"Chillin It"- Cole Swindell (Drunk On You sucked the first time)
"Sun Daze"- Florida-Georgia Line (the only "J's" I wear are Justin Boots, you poser morons)
"Leave The Night On"- Sam Hunt (NOT country. Not even a little)
"Small Town Throwdown"- Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, and Justin Moore (What kind of farm grows Daisy Dukes? Creepy.)
"Girl In Your Truck Song"- Maggie Rose (Let's fight sexism in country music by totally bowing down to the stupid standards that bro-country holds its women too. Not a good look by an artist I have enjoyed before)
5. Lookin' For That Girl- Tim McGraw
I was pretty hard on this song back in the early weeks of 2014, and rightfully so. Thankfully, it never really became a monster hit, or I would have hated it even more. Tim McGraw actually put out a pretty solid effort in 2014. Sundown Heaven Town was a better than average pop country collection, and "Meanwhile Back At Mama's" was his best radio single in quite some time. "Lookin' For That Girl" was an extreme black mark on the year, however. I'm not sure which part of this song was worse: the autotune-heavy production that sounded like a T-Pain reject from 2009, or the lyrics that sound off-putting when Chase Rice or Tyler Hubbard deliver them, but downright creepy when a grizzled old Tim McGraw says them. If Tim McGraw really does or says the things in this song, he's gonna be winning To Catch A Predator long before he wins Entertainer Of The Year. Thankfully, this wasn't reflective of Tim's whole body of work, and this swing-and-a-miss attempt at relevancy will probably be long forgotten. (Full review here)
4. This Is How We Roll- Florida-Georgia Line & Luke Bryan
This song was a giant smash hit in 2014, and it was one of the most epic failures in country music history. If we simply judged on sales alone, this thing would be in the Hall of Fame. But, we also grade on artistic merit and ingenuity, and this song had neither. It really could have been higher on the list, but I fell like they phoned this crap in so hard that it's a disservice the artists who took suckage to a whole new level. Florida-Georgia Line and Luke Bryan do what they do best in this song, which is sing bland, uninspired lyrics about the same three topics (beer, trucks, girls) while acting like idiotic frat boys in the process. They are so blissfully unaware that everybody is laughing at them too. They joke about their "dance moves" and overuse of the word "bro", never realizing that while tasteless suburban teenage girls and their brain-dead mothers worship them, literally EVERYBODY else is making fun of them. I guess they look at their bottom line and couldn't care less, but for those of us who want to stand for something, we can all agree that this is the bottom of the barrel for country music. (Full review here)
3. Burnin' It Down- Jason Aldean
Ugh. I felt dirty the first time I wrote about this, and I do again now. This song is lazy, boring, and gross. Jason Aldean, the least sexy human being on the planet, mumbles his way through this song with the personality and zest of an adult in the Charlie Brown universe. The lyrics that he wobbles through are nasty, over-sexualized cliches that somehow he thinks will lead to various relations of the adult variety. Anyone who finds a sweaty, red-faced Jason Aldean lying naked in a bed, listening to Alabama (oh! He's country! I GET it!), and sipping on Jack Daniels as sexy probably gets a little excited checking out People Of Walmart as well. All of this mess is set to a backing track that is not even a little bit country, and not very exciting or dynamic for pop as well. It would best be described as "ho-hum". Of course, the song was a huge hit, but it didn't help Jason's battered image. Jason needs to look in the mirror and make some changes. He is talented enough to stick around, but as bro-country circles the drain, he better come up with a new act or he will be an afterthought. (Full review here)
2. Ready Set Roll- Chase Rice
I'll be honest... I kinda like Chase Rice. Remember when I said that Florida-Georgia Line and Luke Bryan were blissfully unaware that they are the butt of all the jokes? That's an understatement compared to this guy. His Twitter posts are the combination of frat-boy intellect with charming ignorance. He really thinks he is the coolest guy in the room. He really thinks he can build a long, successful, and meaningful country career off of dumb songs for ditzy kids. As long as this guy is around, I will never run out of material for rants about bad music. "Ready, Set, Roll" is the dumbest of the bunch in 2014, ripe with overused cliches, pitiful arrangement, and lyrics that objectify and disparage real women. The trifecta of bro-country! This guy put out an entire album of garbage like that, so we may have more to make fun of next year as well. However, chances are as country radio improves, Chase Rice will have to evolve or disappear. He doesn't have the decent foundation of good music that Luke and Jason built, nor the sheer multitude of fans that Fla-Ga Line has accrued, so we may be already seeing the last of this frat-boy. So long Chase. May the hotties be slutty, the beers be ice-cold, and the trucks be jacked up wherever you soon call home. (Full review here)
1. Drink To That All Night/Donkey- Jerrod Niemann
In my original review for this song, I said that one bad song wouldn't tank a good career. Boy, was I wrong. Jerrod Niemann was once one of my favorites. "Lover Lover" was one of the most interesting debut singles I've heard. "What Do You Want From Me" was a great ballad. "Only God Could Love You More" was an underrated song in my book. Even "One More Drinkin' Song" was funny and silly without being dumb. But, somewhere along the way the dollar signs and neon lights were just too distracting for one to ignore, and Jerrod took a drive down the wrong road. Now, others have done this and came around ok. Blake Shelton went pretty deep into it, but he hung on. Chris Young put out "Aw Naw", but has recovered nicely. Dierks Bentley has some stinkers, but he didn't nosedive either. What happened? Jerrod Niemann simply took it too far. "Drink To That All Night" was a plain and simple pop/rap song. NOTHING about it was country. Most of his fans have come from people who liked his creativity and easy-going songs. When he put this sell-out number on the charts, he gave up some of the most loyal fans out there for the fickle, here-today-gone-tomorrow crowd. Sure, the song did pretty well on the charts, but it seemed like Jerrod spent more time defending it than promoting it, didn't it? Then, he made a decision that he will most likely regret for the rest of his career. When he released "Donkey" as his next single, he torpedoed his chances at real country fans taking him seriously. So what? Real country fans don't take Florida-Georgia Line seriously either, and they are doing just fine! Well, they have songs that may be garbage, but they are fun and catchy. "Donkey" was neither. It wasn't funny, it wasn't catchy, and it wasn't "so bad it's good". It was just bad. Even the silly pop kids could see that. It flamed out in the most epic of flame outs, and now Jerrod's career is in limbo. There hasn't been much noise from him since "Donkey" and High Noon performed terribly on the charts. Sturgill Simpson outsold him on a tiny little label with NO radio play, while Jerrod was on a major label with a big hit on his hands. "Drink To That All Night" and "Donkey" tie for the Worst Song of The Year because together they destroyed a fairly promising career. Normally,I take this spot to tee off on a dumb pop country song, but this year, I'm actually sad. Jerrod Niemann is better than this, and now he may have lost his big chance. In Nashville, you are only as good as your last hit, and his was an epic flop. This guy isn't the enemy. I saw him perform at a Waylon Jennings/Hank Cochran tribute concert for charity and he was fantastic. Listen to "Old School New Again" and tell me this guy isn't the real deal. I don't know if Jerrod will ever see this, but I hope he does. Jerrod, listen to the lyrics to that song. Be that guy again. I know that a guy who has Lefty Frizzell's name tattooed on his arm isn't some pop-country poser. I hope we get the old Jerrod back, and soon. So, this year, the Worst Country Song of The Year isn't here simply because the song(s) was bad. It's here because it was put out by one of the good guys, and we know he can do better. I'm earnestly looking forward to see what Jerrod does next, and hope he comes back on the right side of the battle for real country music again.. (Full review here)
"Old School New Again"
Wash the bad taste out of your mouth and check out the 10 Best Songs of The Year and the 10 Best Albums of the Year! Have a great 2015 and remember to Keep It Country, Kids!