Friday, April 15, 2011

Brantley Gilbert, "Country Must Be Country Wide"

Weren't you just thinking that country radio could really use more songs about how cool country life is?  And that it would be nice if such songs bore little resemblance to actual country music?  Neither was I.  But that seems to be what Brantley Gilbert thinks, since he so loves writing formulaic songs on that very topic, some of which have been delivered to country radio via Jason Aldean (Think "My Kinda Party" and "Dirt Road Anthem").

In some ways, "Country Must Be Country Wide" attempts to re-create what worked about "Hillbilly Bone."  Like that Blake Shelton hit, it portrays the country lifestyle as being inclusive in nature, while also emphasizing its increasing ubiquitousness.  Where it goes wrong is in trading the personality and clever novelty elements for all the usual formulas, such as namedropping.  "In every state there's a station playin' Hank, Willie, and Waylon," Brantley sings.  But let's be real - They're not playing Hank, Willie, and Waylon.  They're playing Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, and Jason Aldean.

"Country Must Be Country Wide" may very well serve its intended purpose, which was likely to provide Brantley with a raucous set-opener to get the crowd on their feet at his shows.  It's also entered the country chart, whereas his two previous singles both failed to chart, so it might even be some sort of a hit.  But as an artistic endeavor, it's generic, disposable, and totally interchangeable with any other rocked-up backwoods cliche-pile on country radio.

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