Shoot Me Straight: Brothers Osborne Single Review

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“A fun lead single that could be 4 minutes shorter” 6/10

It’s hard not to root for the Brothers Osborne. For the last two years they have been duo of the year at the CMA’s and ACM’s, dethroning the insufferable Florida Georgia Line.

Although not particularly country, the duo represents quality and uniqueness in the mainstream and a great alternative to most of what is on country radio.

With their new lead single I am left questioning some choices that were made. The most obvious question is why the song needs to be nearly 7 minutes long.

The song essentially ends at the 2:30 mark before we get the over 4 minute long guitar solo. This would be fine for a non single album cut or during a live show but for a single it is ridiculous.

In fact, after hearing the song 5 times now I find myself skipping to the next song after the 2:30 mark because the guitar solo is not that interesting. I don’t believe it enhances the song whatsoever.

Lyrically the song is fine with the great line “Lay my 6 foot 4 inch ass out on the ground” but thematically it’s nothing groundbreaking.

Overall I like the song but there are some real problems that I have with it specifically the ridiculous guitar solo. It’s a fun lead single that could be 4 minutes shorter.

I have seen people say that this song can’t do well on radio which I don’t understand considering the radio edit should be under 3 minutes long, it’s uptempo and radio has been fairly receptive of the duo.

I look forward to hearing this song within the context of a full album.

Writers: John Osborne, TJ Osborne and Lee Thomas Miller

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Ranking the Country Chart

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Welcome to the weekly ranking of the top 30 Mediabase Country Chart! For this exercise I rank each song in the top 30 based on grade and then give a grade for the top 30 as a whole.

  1. Tin Man: Miranda Lambert 9/10
  2. Broken Halos: Chris Stapleton 9/10
  3. The Long Way: Brett Eldredge 8/10
  4. Boy: Lee Brice 8/10
  5. Round Here Buzz: Eric Church 8/10
  6. Five More Minutes: Scotty Mccreery 8/10
  7. Make a Little: Midland 7/10
  8. I Could Use a Love Song: Maren Morris 7/10
  9. Ask Me How I Know: Garth Brooks 7/10
  10. Outta Style: Aaron Watson 5/10
  11. She’s With Me: High Valley 5/10
  12. I’ll Name the Dogs: Blake Shelton 5/10
  13. Girl Like You: Easton Corbin 5/10
  14. Yours: Russell Dickerson 5/10
  15. Like I Loved You: Brett Young 5/10
  16. For the First Time: Darius Rucker 5/10
  17. Light It Up: Luke Bryan 4/10
  18. Marry Me: Thomas Rhett 4/10
  19. Stay Downtown: Cole Swindell 4/10
  20. Female: Keith Urban 4/10
  21. The Rest of Our Lives: Tim Mcgraw/Faith Hill 3/10
  22. Legends: Kelsea Ballerini 3/10
  23. The One’s That Like Me: Brantley Gilbert 2/10
  24. Singles You Up: Jordan Davis 2/10
  25. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright: David Lee Murphy/Kenny Chesney 2/10
  26. Written in the Sand: Old Dominion 2/10
  27. All on Me: Devin Dawson 2/10
  28. Happens Like That: Granger Smith 1/10
  29. Losing Sleep: Chris Young 1/10
  30. You Broke Up With ME: 37 year old with 7 Kids 0/10

Grade: 47% F (140/300)

New to the Top 30: Stay Downtown: Cole Swindell

Left the Top 30: None

 

Critics Have a Genre Dilemma

 

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Imagine you are back in school. Your history teacher has given you an assignment to write an essay about Paul Revere’s role in the Revolutionary War. The assignment was due on a Friday and so that’s when you handed it in. You did an admirable job and it’s the best essay you have ever written. There’s only one problem, you wrote about the Irish Potato Famine.

Had the assignment been about the Irish Potato Famine you would have easily gotten an A. You were thorough and explained the causes and effects of the Famine in great detail but you still got a D. Despite your great work, you didn’t do the assignment that was given to you. The teacher was kind to give you higher than an F.

The point of this made up story has to do with the dilemma that we now face in mainstream country music. As critics and fans, we are judging music under the country label that has no resemblance to country music.

Even when the music is good (which it often isn’t) it is usually mislabeled. If you are releasing a song to country radio and selling it as a country song then shouldn’t we judge the work based on that?

Take “New Years Day” by Taylor Swift as an example. I actually find “New Years Day” to be a quality song that is better than a number of songs on country radio. The problem is that it is a pop song, from a pop album, from a pop artist that is being pushed as a “country” single. If it is labeled as a country song it is not deserving of the grade I would give it had it been properly labeled. Also, as someone that listens to very little pop music I find it difficult to review something from a genre I know little about in 2018.

I have seen some blogs go about this problem by simply giving the song a country grade and a pop grade which can be a tricky thing to do. If it’s not a country song and actually requires two separate grades then shouldn’t the country grade be a 0/10? I mean you are admitting that the song isn’t country which is the whole reason you needed the pop grade. Another option is to just review the song/album as a pop review but if it is being labeled a country song and played on country radio should you be doing that? And finally, I have seen blogs just give the song/album a lower grade because it is not truly a country song. But, as I said if it’s not a country song how do you give it any country grade besides a 0?

To be clear I am not saying there is one right or wrong way to go about doing this. I think it’s a very tricky and difficult decision that any reviewer has to figure out for themselves. I do think that the conversation needs to be had now more than ever as country radio drifts farther and farther away from the roots of the genre.

2018 Plans

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Hello everyone, hope you are having a good new year! I am getting back into the swing of things and wanted to share some of my plans for this blog in 2018. There were things that I liked from 2017 and things that I did not. It was my first year running a blog so, some experimentation was necessary.

Community Writing Piece

One of the things that I really enjoyed was the community writing piece. For those of you that are new to the blog, the community writing piece was an opportunity for you the readers to submit your own writing. Whether it was a song, poem or story, you could submit it in the comment section or via email and your writing will be shared in a collective piece. Other readers will get a chance to read your piece/s and comment on the work. I personally feel this was the coolest, most unique feature that this blog had from last year. We read so much about other peoples art over the course of the year and don’t get an opportunity to share our own work. I would like to do this at least once a month and this month I will set a deadline of Friday January 19th to be included in the January piece. Depending on how many submissions I get will determine how often I publish these. The email is criticallycountry@gmail.com

 Spotlighting Artists/Songs

This is a new idea that I had in which I will spotlight an artist or song that is not getting a lot of attention. It will be an opportunity to learn about music that isn’t getting the coverage it deserves. This will also include interviews and music shared to me through PR professionals that I feel is deserving.

Ranking the Top 30 Mediabase Songs

This is a continuation of Re-Charting The Chart. The name was clumsy but I like the idea which is ranking the top 30 songs on the Country Mediabase Chart in order of quality.

General

Finally, in general I would like to be more consistent with this blog in 2018. There were periods in 2017 where I was unable to really commit to this blog and I want that to change in the new year. I want to continue to have great conversations with all of you whether we agree or disagree. The community is why I enjoy doing this and I thank all of you that contribute to the conversation. If you have any suggestions or comments always feel free to share them.