The Inaugural American Country Countdown Awards Oh Balls 2014 – The Most Accurate Review of the Awards

This is probably the most accurate review of the Awards aka a hot mess and yet another reason to drink….

Wait, what? Is this a thing? Why are we here? What is going on? First things first: American Country Countdown is a radio show currently hosted by Kix Brooks, of Brooks Brothers menswear Brooks & Dunn. It has been on since 1973, and was co-created by Casey Kasem (who is still not buried). It is “The longest-running radio countdown show,” according to the opening credits. But this is the very first American Country Countdown Awards. Why? Because it is a re-branding of the American Country Awards, which has a rich history going all the way back to 2010 when it was invented by the Fox Network. This awards show is younger than Icon in the Gulch. It is younger than Glee. It is younger than British moppets Sophia Grace and Rosie, who stole America’s heart with their cover of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.” It is also hosted by Florida-Georgia Line.

So, with all that in mind, tonight’s recap is brought to you by Beer, the official alcoholic beverage of my fridge. Beer: Drink It™. (Please drink beer responsibly.)

We kick it off with Carrie Underwood, a country music person I enjoy. She performs a medley of hits, because they make no bones about how she is here to promote a greatest hits album. I like “Before He Cheats,” one of the only contemporary country songs I know. It is about committing what likely amounts to a Class D Felony, a crime which, in the state of Tennessee, has a potential sentence of 2 to 12 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard are the hosts. They are Florida Georgia Line, which is the musical equivalent of a herpes drip falling directly into your ear. They walk to the stage looking relatively nice in suits, but no, these are tear-away stripper suits, and the poor female attendees have been instructed to rip their clothes away as they ascend up the aisle. It is exactly as classy as it sounds.

“It’s the big year-end party for country music,” they say. Everyone in the audience they cut to is drinking, so points for accuracy. They highlight the bar that is on set, mentioned in this article on HuffPo that was no doubt written by the most frazzled publicist in town. Not mentioned so far but written in that article is that “bro” is a secret word for doing shots. It is why everyone will say “bro” all night long.

Sara Evans presents the award for Male Vocalist of the Year. Oh my god, they literally count them down! It is a ranking! It is a sorority hazing! Luke Bryan is the winner, announced not by the opening of a tacky old envelope, but via Sara Evans flipping around a smartphone. This show is now instantly dated. I love it. It’s like a ’70s avocado kitchen or everything you wore circa 1999.

Bryan immediately performs. So if you paid any attention to who the performers are tonight at the opening of the show, you can probably suss out who the winners are. I did not pay attention and don’t really care to rewind. I don’t know this song, I think it’s called “Amish Rollercoaster.” He brings out Cole Swindell (a name that, as I noted in my recent CMA Awards recap, sounds more like some kind of crime from the Middle Ages). Swindell wears a very nice sports-y fan-boy baseball cap and looks like he probably does a lot of crunches.

Maddie & Tae and Scotty McCreedy, three people who are more famous than I am, give out Group/Duo of the Year. It goes to Florida Georgia Line. They do a whistle song and one of them is wearing camo cargo shorts and red sneakers. You know how poor Scott Stapp has gone crazy? I’m pretty sure it’s because these two burst forth from his skull like Athena from Zeus (if Athena and Zeus were garbage monsters) and nobody bothered to put his head back together.

“Here to rock our world live from the Twitter bar,” oh Jesus Christ, it’s called the Twitter bar, “With a Brooks & Dunn classic, Kix Brooks and Jerrod Niemann.” This recap is also brought to you by Google, because I cannot spell anyone’s name correctly on the first try. Wait, is Ronnie Dunn dead? *searches* Nope. Thanks again, Google!

Emily Kinney (from The Walking Dead) and Chase Rice (from your grocer’s freezer) present Female Vocalist of the Year. The winner is Miranda Lambert. I am pretty sure I like Miranda Lambert and will not make fun of her. She sings her song and gives an appropriately dismissive thank you.

Chris Young and current Miss America Kira Kazantsev (Thanks again, Google!) present the next award: Breakthrough Artist of the Year Presented by Samsung GALAXY.

The Breakthrough Artist of the Year Presented by Samsung GALAXY (Samsung GALAXY: Drink It™) is Kip Moore. Fun fact: Kip Moore means “nap longer” in British English. He’s wearing a white shirt (doesn’t look like a tuxedo shirt though) and undone black tie which is a pretty good costume! It tells a story. The story is he is a fancy man who went to a fancy party and now he’s home and unwinding. What was that party like? Were there other fancy people there? The only better costume would be an undone white tie with top hat and tails on a stool next to him.

Reba! Everyone loves Reba, me included. And Kix Brooks. I am opinion-less on Brooks. She is given the first ever “Nash Icon” award. Nash Icon, as we all know, was a long-running CBS series starring Don Johnson and Cheech Marin.

Brooks says that there is no fooling country music fans when it comes to the sincerity, integrity, and talent of the artists they support, which is debatable (see: Florida Georgia Line), but I will allow it for Reba. Oh God, he brings up her dad’s funeral? Needlessly dark, dude! I mean, what basically just happened is the Fox Network needed one-off content on a Monday night in mid-December, so now Reba McEntire gets to relive her father’s death. Anyway! Here’s Miranda Lambert and (Reba stepdaughter-in-law) Kelly Clarkson! (Confidential to Kelly Clarkson: if you would like me to be your friend, which I’m sure you do, the Scene will give you my number. No pressure.) One of the songs they sing is of course “Fancy” and then Reba comes and does “Fancy” too and “Fancy” is a real good song. Love “Fancy.” This whole show should just be a two-hour rendition of “Fancy.” (Confidential to Fox Network: if you would like me to take over your mid-December programming, which I’m sure you do, the Scene will give you my number. No pressure.)

Star of Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine Melissa Fumero and Thomas Rhett count down Song of the Year. The Song of the Year, the only song ever, the best of 2014, is “Beat of the Music” by Brett Eldredge. He only sings, like, 90 seconds of it, which is fine with me. He thanks the songwriters and also The Bahamas. Not a joke!

Elf on the Shelf Hunter Hayes makes an appearance to announce Album of the Year. It is The Outsiders by Eric Church. To accept the award, Ponyboy and Sodapop come up and recite “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” but then the Socs crash the stage and Bob is knifecrimed to death. Don’t worry, though, everyone stays gold in the end.

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Gone With the Wind, Lady Antebellum appears to sing a song (presumably) about the grace and beauty and lost world of how people used to own slaves. (I will never ever ever ever let go of this band’s name. It’s trash and should make everyone with a soul cringe. The word “antebellum” has a very specific meaning in America, and it is not a meaning to be lauded. Lady Third Reich. Lady Apartheid. It’s okay to be German. It’s okay to be South African. It’s okay to be Southern! But maybe, just maybe, give two seconds of consideration as to which era of a region’s history you want to evoke (see: Prussian Blue). As repulsive as I find Florida Georgia Line, at least they did not name themselves The Plantation Boyz, you know?)

Anyway. Speaking of FLG Line, they are now dressed as “bad Santas” and make testicle jokes and bring Lady Antebellum BACK after the commercial break and man, just everyone should be ashamed of themselves. Pretty soon after Eric Church talks about how albums rock and $0.99 singles suck, Big Machine CEO Scott Brochetta is there to give Digital Single of the Year to Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan for “This is How We Roll.” Nice knowing you, Church.

Vince Vaughn‘s questionable hairline is the big contractually obligated celebrity of the night, and he appears to name Kenny Chesney‘s even more questionable hairline as a Ground-breaker. Hey, look, 20th Century Fox is distributing Vaughn’s upcoming film, Unfinished Business! This, my friends, is what is known as “synergy.”

Sports people. “NASCAR legend Jimmy Johnson” and MLB “Cy Young Winner and MVP Clayton Kershaw.” But I thought it was going to be three people because I misheard “and MVP” as “Andy McPete.” Haha, I like how stiff the baseball guy is. He is so cute and bad at this! Here, I made a Vine. The Artist of the Year, they tell us, is Jason Aldean.

Hank Williams Jr. closes out the show. They call him “Brosephus” but I typo his name as “Jank Williams, Jr.” which seems more fitting. He sings “Da Yah Wannaah Paaahtay?”, the old theme song to old Monday Night Football, a program that does NOT air on Fox. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder. Thanks for reading, you sick masochists. See you next year. (Especially you, Kelly, call me!)

Source: Nashville Scene

Florida Georgia Line’s “Anything Goes” is the Worst Album Ever

I couldn’t agree more. Terrible music, terrible group…please fall off the face of the earth.

Congratulations Justin Moore and Outlaws Like Me, you’re officially off the hot seat. Because right here, right now, I am unilaterally declaring that Florida Georgia Line’s new album Anything Goes is the worst album ever released in the history of country music. Ever. Including Florida Georgia Line’s first album Here’s To The Good Times, including anything else you can muster from the mainstream, including a 4-track recording made by a head trauma victim in a walk-in closet with a Casiotone keyboard and an out-of-tune banjo. Anything Goes can slay all comers when it comes to its heretofore unattainable degree of peerless suckitude.

In a word, this album is bullshit. Never before has such a refined collection of strident clichés been concentrated in one insidious mass. Never before have the lyrics to an album evidenced such narrowcasted pseudo-mindless incoherent drivel. Never before have such disparate and diseased influences been married so haphazardly in a profound vacuum of taste, and never have all of these atrocities been platooned together to be proffered to the public without someone, anyone with any bit of conscience and in a position of power putting a stop to this poisoning of the listening public.

Not to get all old man on your ass, but most of the time I don’t even understand what the hell these dudes are saying. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have their own language, partial to the most grammatically-challenged and stupefying vocabulary lurking in the dankest sewers of the English dialect, but not residing firmly in any specific one of them so no truly proper translation can be obtained. It’s like Pig Latin for douchewads—understood by them and them only. And only with the perfect deficiency of brain cells will their concoction of Ebonics, metrosexual douche speak, and stagnant gene pool rural jargon become anything resembling coherent to the human ear.

florida-georgia-line-anything-goesForget the already ultra-concentrated and extremely-narrow breadth of modern mainstream country music’s laundry list songwriting legacy, Florida Georgia Line has devised a way to inexplicably make it even more attenuated and terrible. “Girl, alcoholic beverage, truck, river or lake”— that’s pretty much the alpha and omega of the Anything Goes building blocks. Most of these songs have more songwriters than they do basic lyrical themes, with an average of four cooks per diarrhetic serving, and one song that boasts five songwriters and still struggles to pen anything that comes close to a complete sentence or a comprehensible thought.

Shiny objects and fire also seem to excite and distract Florida Georgia Line and fill them with a profound sense of wonder, and so soliloquies to these things also show up occasionally, as does the word “good.” They really like that word.

“Got on my smell good.
Got a bottle of feel good.
Shined up my wheels good.
You’re looking real good.”

That verse pretty much sums up this entire album. And no, these are not lyrics to the song that is actually titled “Good Good.” Needless to say, any moments involving depth, sorrow, self-reflection, doubt, or evolved thinking in any capacity have been unceremoniously scrubbed from this project entirely, save for one song, “Dirt,” which only works to anger the blood even more because it proves that these morons are capable of so much more. A song like “Sippin’ On Fire” tries to cobble together some semblance of a love story, but bogs down like all these songs do in focusing on the material objects and consumables inadvertently on hand in situations instead of the honest sentiments being felt between two people. Women and “love” are compared to alcoholic beverages and other material objects, and vice versa more times than I care to count on this album, as if they are interchangeable in stature in the human experience.

Another song that would have been decent if only Florida Georgia Line didn’t figure out how to screw it up is “Bumpin’ The Night.” Despite the title alluding to the listener being in store for yet another demonstration of shallowness, the song displays a compositional depth that is both surprising and enriching, even though what passes for steel guitar is so transmogrified by the EDM production, it’s hardly noticeable. There’s nothing wrong with fun, feel good songs themselves. But in such a void of anything striking even close to variety, an otherwise decent song like “Bumpin’ The Night” suffers demonstrably amongst its peers.

And talk about going to the cliché well too many times, there’s a song on this album called “Angel” that I kid you not is built around the often sarcastically-used pick up line “Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?” Any woman who hears this line coming from any man has my personal blessing to immediately spray them in the face with mace and knee them in the nuts. The idea that these knuckleheads think that this line is “sweet” just speaks to the depravity of self-awareness they suffer from in an irrevocable degree.

There really is a toxic concentration of bad songs on Anything Goes, and it is all punctuated on the final track “Every Night” where the hyper-everything that riddles this album somehow gets heightened even more as Florida Georgia Line explain they don’t need the weekend because every night for them is a wild, raging good time. This personifies the diabolical sameness of this album, where it’s just a contiguous string of carefree party references and virtually nothing else, almost throwing caution to the wind and daring fate to make a mockery of this project over the long perspective of time, if they’re not openly cashing out on the franchise in the face of the obvious dying of a trend.

I would call it country rap, but even that would give this album more definition than it truly carries. I would call it pop, but even that world would not stand for such vacuousness. And once again the listener is left steadfastly perplexed at what Brian Kelley (the short-haired one) actually does in this band beyond singing one verse of “Dirt” and a few random backup lines so heavily Auto-tuned you can’t tell for sure it’s him.

Everybody knows where Florida Georgia Line is going to lead. Scott Borchetta must know it. Their producer Joey Moi, formerly of Nickelback must know it. Their manager Kevin Zaruk, also formerly of Nickelback, apparently knows it, and admitted as much in a recent Billboard interview. “It’s bizarre because I know so many people who say they can’t stand them but listen to Nickelback and go to their shows. This is a band that sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise, and to this day, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a person with a Nickelback T-shirt on walking the streets anywhere in the world. I don’t know what it is, but for whatever reason it became cool to hate Nickelback, and once that trend took off, it exploded. What I’ve definitely talked to [FGL’s] Brian [Kelley] and Tyler [Hubbard] about is that whenever anybody becomes successful in any business, there’s people that get jealous.”

This is the problem. Florida Georgia Line and their fans will read a review like this, and truly believe that jealousy and nothing else is at the heart of the criticism, and will point to their “success” as proof of this. But Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and so many more were wildly successful in their time too, and also faced criticism, but never to the degree of criticism Florida Georgia Line is faced with. The music of these legends withstood the test of time, while artists like Nickelback, Billy Ray Cyrus, New Kids On The Block, and MC Hammer were also wildly successful in their time, but now their music is nowhere to be seen besides as a novelty, or listened to as irony or nostalgia.

READ: Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze” (a semi-rant)

It is Florida Georgia Line’s destiny to go down as a laughing stock, to be the next Nickelback, where their fans hide their T-shirts and shun them, tearing them down just as vehemently and quickly as they artificially propped them up. Their sophomore album and a song like “Dirt” was their one opportunity to change that destiny and be known for something more. But instead they super concentrated what makes them bad as either a last cash-grabbing hurrah, or as a misguided miscalculation that their polarizing nature is due to the insecurities of others instead of a true concern about substance and sustainability. Point to current attendance numbers and call the haters jealous all you want. All one has to do is point to Nickelback as an example of why this doesn’t work in the long term.

Florida Georgia Line and Anything Goes are an embarrassment to country music.

Two Guns Way Down!

Source: Saving Country Music