Friday, November 19, 2010

Brad Paisley, "This Is Country Music"

Having just claimed been named CMA Entertainer of the Year for the first time in his career, Brad now gives us what is quite likely his most artistically significant career effort to date.  "This Is Country Music" is a strikingly ambitious offering, the likes of which have never before been heard on country radio.

Gotcha.  Actually, it's anything but.  "This Is Country Music" is basically every tired old country music cliche and pandering formula that we've come to despise, all wrapped up in a neat little package.  Cancer?  Check.  Jesus?  Check.  Soldiers?  You got it!  Brad's has it all covered here.  Apparently, artists are forbidden from singing about such topics but... (Get ready for the most boring hook ever)... "This is country music, and we do."  He ends by rattling off the titles of a few classic country songs, likely missing the irony in doing so, as it only invites unfavorable comparisons.

Brad is known for being witty and clever in his lyrics, but he's developing a tendency to build that repertoire on songs that aren't as clever as they like to think they are.  What's more, Brad is currently at the apex of country radio stardom, so he is in a positition where he could give us something better than this, and likely have it still be a hit.  I weep over the knowledge that country radio will immediately pounce all over this blatantly stupid song, and that they will play it to death.

Now let me think of something nice to say about this song.  It is aided by Brad's signature mix of traditional-meets-contemporary musical stylings.  Therefore we are left with a record that is musically pleasing but lyrically deficient, and in this case the deficiencies are simply unforgivable.  Brad would do better just to scrap these lyrics altogether, and leave this as an instrumental track.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)