Least Favorite Singles of 2010

26 Dec

It’s the time of year when the country blogosphere is flooded with everybody’s lists of the best and worst singles of the year, and now I proudly throw mine into the mix.  I want to end this year on a positive note by writing about some of the best singles of the year… so let’s get this out of the way first.

I’m not necessarily saying that these are the worst singles ever released in 2010, but these are the ones that got on my nerves the most, or that just turned out to be the biggest disappointments.  Yes, I know that many of these songs were substantial hits, but really that fact says nothing about their quality.  In most causes, it merely secures their place on this list through my being overexposed to them. 

I know that not everyone will agree with my choices.  If you disagree, you’re welcome to say so, but please mind your manners.

So here we go, in no particular order:

Justin Moore, “Backwoods”

(Released in 2009, but peaked in 2010)
Imagine having a conversation with a friend who dislikes country music.  You could build the strongest possible case to convince him that country music is the best… and then you could nullify your entire argument just by playing this song.

Toby Keith, “Every Dog Has Its Day”

The metaphor is poorly executed from beginning to end, but it’s the “fat dog, skinny dog…” rattle-off part that nearly drives me to self-injury.  Now that Toby’s the head honcho of his own record label, there’s nobody to keep him from releasing whatever godawful tripe he chooses.

Brad Paisley, “Water”

Brad Paisley is known for his clever novelty hits, but his cleverness standards have really been slipping over the past year.  With only simple and boring descriptions of scenes involving water, this has got to be one of the dullest summer songs ever heard (and that’s saying a lot).  And of course, it’s Paisley, so country radio played it and overplayed it until they had thoroughly beaten it into the ground.

Jason Aldean, “Crazy Town”

Who says a song about chasing stardom in Nashville couldn’t be good?  Lacy J. Dalton gave us a great one with “16th Avenue,” and Trisha Yearwood struck gold with “Wrong Side of Memphis.”  But “Crazy Town” is done in by several fatal flaws, most notably: (1) It’s clogged up with inane details and throwaway lyrics (2) Too much shouting, not enough singing.  It’s obnoxious loudness with no real meaning.  The result?  Darn near unlistenable.

Rodney Atkins, “Farmer’s Daughter”

The vocal is weak as ever, and the storyline is pathetically predictable. It’s main purpose for even being released is just to tempt fans into buying the repackaged version of Rodney’s It’s America album (Thanks, Curb Records).

Darius Rucker, “Come Back Song”

Though vocally gifted, Darius hasn’t found a whole lot of worthy material in the course of his country music career, and this has got to be one of his worst yet.  Yeah, pal, I sure feel for you having to sleep all alone in your king-sized bed, and pouring your coffee down the drain because ‘you didn’t know you needed her so.’  Sorry, but I think your “Come Back Song” just might have the opposite of its intended effect.

George Strait, “The Breath You Take”

How sad it is that a George Strait song should find a place on this list – sad, but not undeserved.  “The Breath You Take” is a misguided pairing of trite lyrics with a super-syrupy string-laden arrangement that makes it sound like a funeral dirge.  As far as King George songs go, this one is weak.  Really weak.

Reba McEntire, “Turn On the Radio”

Go ahead, Reba fans – Grab your torches and pitchforks.  Here is another critic to dares to criticize your idol for not acting her age.  Yes, it is catchy, but what really keeps me from enjoying it is the fact that it’s clearly a thinly-veiled attempt at staying commercially relevant.  No, I don’t want her to sing about backaches and menopause, but I do want to hear her sing material that is mature enough to be worthy of an artist of her age and talent.  She needs to quit dumbing it down.

Brad Paisley, “This Is Country Music”

Well, what do you know?  Our reigning Entertainer of the Year is this list’s first repeat offender.  On his current single, a laundry list of cliches meets a dull melody and weak chorus, and everybody loses.  Instead of highlighting what makes the country genre special, Brad ends up exemplifying much of what’s gone wrong with it in recent years.

Jason Aldean, “My Kinda Party”

Jason Aldean joins Brad in the two-strike club.  How one-dimensional can he get?  This dud of a single is nothing but overblown rock guitar riffs and a set of lyrics recycled from “She’s Country.”  “Ol’ Hank” is having a fit in his grave right now.

Gretchen Wilson, “I Got Your Country Right Here”

Of course, the list of one-dimensional backwoods party anthems would never be complete without the obligatory Gretchen Wilson inclusion.  On this single, Gretchen indulges her affinity for name dropping Southern rock icons, while continuing to rehash the same tired old “Redneck Woman” concept that ceased to be interesting several comeback attempts ago.

Tim McGraw, “Felt Good On My Lips”

The lyrics are dominated by inane descriptions, and the “Oh-oh-oh”s and “Whoa-oh-oh”s only elevate the song from just plain boring to downright irritating.  The disjointed melody makes “Felt Good On My Lips” sound like two entirely different songs slapped together.  As for Tim’s vocals, you can barely even hear them over all the gimmicky studio wizardry on this track.  Easily the worst single of Tim’s career.

Craig Morgan, “Still a Little Chicken Left On That Bone”

Painfully stupid lyrics feebly attempting to make some sort of a point.  All I can say is “Ouch.”

I’ve had my turn; Now it’s yours.  What were your least favorite singles of 2010? 

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Posted by on December 26, 2010 in Commentary


6 responses to “Least Favorite Singles of 2010

  1. Zack

    December 26, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Despite my love for Reba's strong vocal delivery, and the song's quick rise to 'guilty pleasure' level for me….. I must agree that "TOTR" was among the worst of the year. (This coming from a MAJOR Reba fan, so we're not all catty ;)I will say that Brad's "This is Country Music" and "Water" were among the worst for me this year….. and Underwood's "Mama's Song" wasn't exactly the best for me (though I have come to love it, thanks to the video).

  2. Zack

    December 26, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    Looking forward to your "best of" list! :)And, BTW, "TOTR" went #1, not sure how I feel about that yet.

  3. Anonymous

    December 28, 2010 at 3:16 AM

    Imho, you analyzed these really well. Some were ok but I wouldn't buy the album for them. The Jason Moore "backwoods" song made me wonder. What was so good about the mud stuck truck for which he needed a chain? He was stuck for lyrics.The brown chicken brown cow is amusing for the bwown chiki bwow wow pun the first time one hears it. Then no more. It would be wonderful to hear some truly good country music sometime soon.Ben, I too am looking forward to your "best of" list.

  4. Ben Foster

    December 28, 2010 at 4:12 AM

    Well said, Anonymous. "Stuck for lyrics" would have been a great phrase to use in a review! Thanks for the comments, everyone.

  5. Anonymous

    December 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Like Zack, I too am a HUGE Reba fan, and I am happy that you won't be silenced by crazed superfans. I'm always quick to criticize those batshit crazy Carrie Underwood fans, but I've come to realise lately that Reba's fans aren't much better. It makes me ashamed that people respond to even the slightest criticism of her as if the critic had spat their grandmother in the face and pushed her down a hill.'Turn on the Radio' blows so hard that Reba can't even be bothered to remember its name (she CONSISTENTLY calls it "Turn on Your Radio").

  6. Steve F

    December 28, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Seems like Reba is trying too hard to be trendy with "Radio". And that's a shame, Reba has more than enough stature where she should be SETTING the trends, not following them.Bring on the "Best of" list Ben, I'm looking forward to it as well!


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