Tag Archives: Billboard

#1 Country Billboard Song for July 30, 2011

22 Jul

This week’s #1 country song proves that there are no genre distinctions when it comes to today’s popular music. What is it that really classifies a song as country, rock, pop, or even rap these days? Today’s artist are trying to reach out to fans from all genres and are blurring the distinctions that make each genre its own unique style of music that we’ve grown to love. Jason Aldean is doing just that with his current #1 song this week “Dirt Road Anthem,” which was written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert.

I love all of Jason Aldean’s music, such as “The Truth” and the rock anthem “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” but this song has me very torn. In this song about southern pride and country living, Jason throws in raps on the verses and then has very smooth country sound on the chorus. I am huge fan of most music, from rock and pop to country, so when they mix a little pop into country such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood I love it, but mixing rap into country is a whole different story. I have nothing against rap, I just think that country and rap should not be mixed.

Matt Bjorke of Roughstock gave “Dirt Road Anthem” a 4.5 star rating, saying “Jason Aldean knows he’s not a rapper and this isn’t a style of music that he’ll continuously do…but as for a new song with a different sound, it certainly works.” (Source: Wikipedia) I sure hope this is not a trend that will catch on. I think people like all types of music and may even like country and rap, but when you are listening to country such as Jason, you want to hear country and when you’re listening to rap, like Kanye West, you want to hear rap. I think it’s a huge mistake to mix the two permanently, but if this is just a one time thing for Jason, maybe it was a good move on his part to bring him a new audience that never would have listened to country before.

Jason is not the first country artist to dabble in adding hip hop influences into country. Toby Keith’s singles “Getcha Some” and “I Wanna Talk about Me” had spoken parts that sounded a lot like rap. Other country artists that have experimented with rap are Trace Adkins and Sugar Land. What are your thoughts on this? I can’t decide if “Dirt Road Anthem”  is worth a download or not. I love Jason’s voice on the country parts, but I’m not too fond of the rap parts and feel like he is just speaking instead of actually singing and, as a result, the song loses all its momentum in my opinion.


#1 Country Billboard Song for May 7, 2011

9 May

I’ve been very fascinated studying the Top Country Billboard songs, both as a songwriter myself and as a country music lover. Sometimes I wonder what really gets a song up to that glamorous #1 spot each week. As a songwriter, these are songs that I am looking to and pursuing as I follow my dream to that #1 spot.

Kenny Chesney’s “Live a Little” found its way to #1 for the week of May 7, 2011 and was written by David Lee Murphy and Shane Minor. I find that this song has a message that people can relate to, but doesn’t say it in a unique way. I find nothing fresh or new about this idea of “stressed out running late…..I need to live a little, have a little fun” It’s very vague with no real story line and no real hook that grabs you. The guitar intro sounds cool for a few bars, but gets annoying after listening the same lick over and over again. This is all just my opinion, but this is not a song that I would run out and download and I feel like in a month from now, no one will even know what song this is, so why is this song worthy of the #1 song in the country?

I’m not the only one that feels this way about this song. Here are few critics from Wikipedia who agree:

“Giving the single a “thumbs down”, Karlie Justus of The 9513 thought that Chesney’s singing sounded disinterested; she also thought that its subject matter was too similar to other songs of his, and that it had a very similar melody to his 2005 single “Keg in the Closet.”

Kevin John Coyne of Country Universe gave the song a C grade, saying that the song starts with a “pure pop/rock intro” and then transitions into acoustic country but eventually “disintegrates to generic Chesney: loud but not assertive, cute but not clever, upbeat but not uplifting.”

Here is what countrycharttalk.com had to say about the song: “Live a Little,” the third single from Kenny’s current album Hemingway’s Whiskey, is a safe and predictable up-tempo with a simple message:  “Live a little, love a lot…. Have some fun.”  Sound familiar?  Possibly because half of Kenny’s hit catalog trumpets that same message?  Or because the melody sounds like a carbon copy of “Keg In the Closet”?

Ok so let’s look at the positive side. Roughstock.com said about the song: “It starts out with a compressed sketch of work-induced stress, followed by a simple “I gotta get my priorities straight” that sounds just about as honest and real as can be. From that, we get an equally simple chorus about living a little, having fun and a second verse about fun on a Friday night. Maybe a couple of the details are things you’ve heard in a Kenny Chesney song before (yes, even a single line about the beach), but they don’t feel like a mere rehash.”

So as you can see, most of the reviews are negative, so why do country music listeners and country music radio love this song so much that it shot up to that number one spot? Is it the familiar melody? The simple message of live a little and have some fun? Or is it just because it’s Kenny Chesney’s signature sound and performance? What do you think?