Archive for June, 2015

Random Tuesday musings, 24.6.15

June 24, 2015

The adage of “never read the comments” is proven once again in spades here. I swear, some people…

“My name is Ozymandias, Taco Cabana Hater of All Taco Cabana Haters! Look upon my hate, ye non-hipsters, and despair!”

It sucks that TC’s raising prices on all their egg dishes, but I still don’t get the hate. Is there better Tex-Mex? I suppose so, but for what it is and even on its own merits Taco Cabana is damn good.

You see the same hate toward Whataburger in the comments, and I don’t get that either. People act like all fast-food joints are equally bad, and they’re not.

(Speaking of which, if you like Whataburger and haven’t tried the avocado bacon burger yet, you are missing out. It’s gotten to be my favorite non-breakfast Whataburger thing.)

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I really get tired of this line of “reasoning” for country not sounding like, well, country:

I suppose if the current country artists only ever listened to Waylon and George and Tammy and Loretta, then their music would sound similar, but like me, they grew up listening to everything so it’s all influenced their music.

I don’t see that as a valid excuse. You longtime readers know I listen to a lot of heavy metal anymore, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Maiden, that sort of thing, right along with the classic and Texas country. But if I was going to call myself a country singer I would leave the metal on the bus and bring the country music on the record.

Yes, that sort of thing can be done. Consider this, from Aaron Watson:

If you look at the chart right now, you see me, and then you see a guy like Sam Hunt. Now a lot of people would assume that a traditionalist like me would not like Sam Hunt. But I’m going to surprise you. I have his record, it has some really cool moments, there’s some really good songwriting in that record. It’s also the most un-country record I’ve ever heard—I’ll be honest about that.

So Aaron Watson has Sam Hunt’s album and likes it, but he sounds nothing like Sam Hunt. And then there was the Dixie Chicks’ response via Natalie Maines when they were asked to remix “Landslide” for pop radio:

“We listen to those other stations, and we’re fans of that other music…but we’re trying to bring country back to country.”

I don’t see why that’s not how it should be done….

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Thursday music musings, 11.6.15

June 11, 2015

What do you want to bet Brad Paisley doesn’t even know what he said here?

And during a recording session, in country music, that [having a bar in the studio] doesn’t detract from anything. That just helps the experience, I think. It’s not like we’re doing intense, complicated jazz. You don’t need to be completely 100 percent present. It’s just country music, folks.

Just country music. You don’t need to be…present. It was pretty subtle, but that Brad Paisley quote suggests to me that he’s more or less just phoning it in anymore. Of course, it was more obvious actually listening to the music, but I was pretty shocked to see him come right out and admit as much. It may be true that you “don’t need to be completely 100 percent present,” but if you’re not, then why the hell aren’t you doing something else that you can be bothered to be wholly present for?

Granted, maybe he wasn’t completely wrong. I am given to believe that George Jones recorded at least a few of biggest hits blasted out of his gourd, and surely he wasn’t the only one. But of course, there are myriad differences between the likes of George Jones and a hack like Brad Paisley, not the least of which was that George Jones — to the best of my knowledge, at least — was never dumb enough to actually come out and admit that he was intentionally running on autopilot.

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I really don’t understand what Billy Currington has against sad songs. Hell, anyone with any knowledge of country music knows that’s part of the genre’s entire foundation. It’s just such a load of unmitigated bullshit. I remember Aaron Watson told Saving Country Music not long ago, “I want my music to be a positive influence on people, that helps people get through some tough times.”

And with that, he still sings songs like “Bluebonnets.” Because he knows there are more of us who like to hear those kinds of songs than Billy Currington and his simplistic-minded ilk like to think. I guess it’s Currington’s voice to waste on songs like “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer,” but it’d be nice if he’d lend it to, shall we say, more challenging material.

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Lots of consternation about Keith Urban’s new single, with the title “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” And granted, it’s bad — even worse than the title might imply, in fact. It’s quite possibly the most cliche-packed song ever written — even more so than Aaron Watson’s “Hey Y’all.” But unlike the Watson song, this one was apparently written with the writers being entirely serious, with not a bit of satire intended.

But I could have told you years ago that this was where Keith Urban was going to end up. He has never once shown any fidelity to country music beyond the extent he could make money characterizing his flavorless mush of music as such. And he has constantly defended the direction in which country music is going by using the same tired arguments about evolution that everyone else is using. Sure, he can play guitar, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

“Country music has no shortage of talented instrumentalists — Jerry Reed, Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Keith Whitley, and the list goes on.

“And none of them ever had to have their place in country music justified by their instrumental talents. There’s a reason for that.”

And you have to wonder if any of the people involved here had any idea how Mellencamp hated the John Cougar moniker. After all, he did get rid of it at his earliest opportunity….

Monday music musings, 1.6.15

June 1, 2015

Via Country California, Brad Paisley says something stupid. Again.

It’d be fun to see Steven Tyler have success in this town. You know, how much fun would that be to hand him a CMA award for something?

What does one even say to that? Maybe it would be fun, but, y’know, only if he recorded actual country music. And based on what I’ve heard so far, I’m not hearing it. The only thing I’ve heard is just more of the weaksauce that so much of mainstream country has turned into. Not that I would have expected something on the level of, say, Jason Boland and the Stragglers or the Turnpike Troubadours, but it’s like Tyler’s not even trying. Sure, it wasn’t as bad as what Bret Michaels served up, but like I’ve said elsewhere, if that’s gonna be the bar for quality we might as well just nuke the Grand Ole Opry and be done with it. I’ve said before that every time Paisley opens his mouth I lose a little bit of respect for him, but at this point I really don’t have any left to lose, between all the dumb things like this that he’s said and the shit fit he threw right after his latest album came out. One of the commenters at Country California described Paisley as “the ultimate company man who will blindly support whatever the system pumps out,” and from that Taste of Country interview shows such a description to be painfully accurate.

Also, it makes me sad that no one mentions Dan Seals in these lists of people from other genres going country. He ended up having a more legitimate country music career and leaving a better mark on the genre than, say, Bon Jovi or Julio Iglesias….

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Oh, good grief, not this line of crap again…

Grunge, Nu Metal, and Post-Grunge may be acquired tastes, but they were so necessary when one considers how shitty 80s rock was, when showing off was more important than writing great riffs and hooks.

No offense, but I’ve always had a very big problem with this opinion, best summarized by this comment I saw at Engine 145 a few years ago that I blogged about here:

…A ton of great music was released in the years ’87-’91-ish, but all anybody remembers are the cheesy video like “Cherry Pie” or “Seventeen.”

What great music? Well, off the top of my head…

  • Guns ‘n’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (1987)
  • The Cult, Electric (1987)
  • Metallica, …And Justice For All (1988)
  • Queensrÿche, Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
  • The Cult, Sonic Temple (1989)
  • Pantera, Cowboys from Hell (1990)
  • Judas Priest, Painkiller (1990)
  • Queensrÿche, Empire (1990)
  • Megadeth, Rust in Peace (1990)
  • Metallica, Metallica (1991)
  • Guns’n’Roses, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991)
  • Ozzy Osbourne, No More Tears (1991)

And all that (with the exception of the Metallica self-titled album) is just from my iTunes library. I’m sure there are at least that many more. And, of course, we haven’t even gotten into all the great stuff that came out from, say, 1983 to 1987 from the likes of most of the above plus, say, Dio and Iron Maiden. Every era has its share of crap, but the fact that all the good music from this era has seemingly been forgotten (or at the least glossed over) by everyone but hard rock/metal aficionados is a real shame. Maybe grunge did need to happen, but it certainly would have been nice if it hadn’t made people discount the good stuff that came out during the 1980s. I really don’t know what was worse about the grunge movement, all of the above or the fact that mainstream rock as a mass-appeal genre and radio format never really progressed beyond it.

On second thought, I suppose in the big scheme of things the latter such isn’t really a big deal anymore, as — just like with country music — there’s still good stuff to be found, just not on the radio. It’d be nice if you could still hear it on the radio, though…