Continuing TOP TEN country hits this week.
3. Chillin’ It, by Cole Swindell (oddly prophetic name)
I don’t know if I’ve been avoiding writing about this soon-to-be forever classic “Chillin’ It,” because I dread it or because I don’t want it to be over. Maybe this song more than any of the others manages to simply speak for itself in such a way that my desperate analyses are really futile. Is Cole even trying? Did he ever think about putting the “g” on the end of that word? Cole doesn’t even care. This really is one of the worst songs you could possibly hear. Here’s some proof, a little screen grab from a document I keep running on my desktop continually:
Let me begin.
This song, like all of those on my “most unlistenable” list, has the affectation of a poor man’s T-Pain. It’s like, almost auto-tuned, and trying to assimilate r&b vocal rhythms slowly and repetitively, and it’s just fucking embarrassing. He starts by describing how he is driving around in his ragtop:
I got my shades on, top back,
Rolling with the music jacked,
One on the wheel, one around you baby
As Andrew nicely pointed out as I drove him home the other night, forcing him to endure this blasting horror on account of how I had just bought him a jell-o shot (sorry Andrew I like that detail) “This song only makes sense if you are doing exactly that thing.” This sums up a pretty hilarious and backwards piece of this puzzle – most music is meant to inspire some kind of empathetic or at least empathic experience – you hear it, and you can imagine someone else’s perspective or use it to take yourself into a different scenario. This, however, is the exact opposite, in which you can only listen to it when you a replicating the song’s setting as precisely as possible.
I swore that this song mentioned a “rag-top” by name, but maybe it only implies that the speaker is in a vehicle with a removable top. I guess this makes more sense because I always thought it would be so weird to conjure up the imagery from the most well-known country song featuring one of those cars, “Red Rag-Top,” in which Tim McGraw awesomely endorses abortion as the most appropriate and unregrettable response to an unplanned teen pregnancy (as much as I adore the song, I don’t think most contemporary stars want you to conflate their new cruising hit with that discussion)
Oh man, oh man! I just went to re-read the lyrics, and there were some I hadn’t even noticed yet and I can’t stop laughing:
Little sun left to burn in the blue sky,
Shining of the cross hanging from the mirror of my ride,
Breeze blowing in, your hair blowing round
You’re scanning through the stations looking for that country sound
The good stuff iced up in the back seat,
Nowhere to go, nowhere to be
One of my favorite things is waiting for the Necessary Christian Allusion to be suddenly remembered and then unceremoniously jammed into a stanza about drinking and driving and pre-marital heavy petting.
He carries on to talk about “killin’ it” and “chillin it,” basically like I just said, driving down a road and hoping to get in on some groping. “Sure enough,” he bets, they are gonna get “tangled up.” It really makes me shudder.
And he does that for the rest of the song, reminding everybody to not spill their drinks as they drive/fuck, carrying on like a brain-damaged R. Kelly and splicing in BANJO LICKS instead of some digital tambourine/guitar-y sound for the vocal/instrumental back & forth. That’s what makes this “country” instead of really, really shitty r&b/pop: they use a banjo stupidly, this flat faced dork is allowed to make noises on screen and for some reason fabricate the reality that hot bitches in their own rag-top trucks are gonna wanna pull up on the side of the road and touch his penis, and, I don’t know, I guess that’s it. Do not listen to this.
4. When She Says Baby, Jason Aldean
I’m really disappointed because somehow I have actually managed to not ever hear this song yet. It’s hard to tell at first, because it’s so irresistibly unoriginal, flat, and undynamic, and Jason Aldean’s voice is so vapid and boring that I feel like I could have heard this song four hundred times and just not really noticed. There is only one dynamic, which is vaguely loud.
The song honestly doesn’t even have a hook. It has no memorable guitar lick that even pretends to be catchy. It’s totally pointless, but people apparently love it so much they want to roll around in it on the ground in a pile of dead leaves, because no one’s ever getting any money or power as long as we keep glorifying the ideals touted in songs like this.
I guess the dramatic thrust of this song is that “LIFE SUCKS” but he has this kick-ass girl who looks at him with “her eyes.” While he is being ground down by the endless futility of working desperately hard in a system from which he cannot escape and fruitlessly and constantly confronting the meaninglessness and pain of this human life, she just “runs her fingers through [his] hair” and “says baby” and this makes him forget, and then willingly continue to toil, ceaselessly and joylessly, in order to merely survive in this cold world. I wonder what her eyes are like? Are they Ronald Reagan’s eyes, that he had surgically removed and then charmed, so they could be replicated and then placed in the skull-sockets of thousands of robot enchantresses, and thus doing so, keep the impoverished enslaved? Well, probably not. There just some woman’s; it’s not important.
Do not listen to this song, please.
5. Stay, by Florida Georgia Line
This is funny, because there is also a hip pop song these days called “Stay,” it is by Rihanna. This is not the same song.
I also have largely avoided this song, and it makes me realize that actually, the top ten of country are really the few that I find absolutely unlistenable and the worst in this sea of terrible, terrible things. What is WITH this! It’s so hard to understand, because I can at least buy that some people like stupid songs (I do!) catchy hooks (I do!) and memorizable lyrics (I do!), but I do not get how you can enjoy something this bad. So I’m forced to just watch the video and analyze this in real time.
The boy members (probably the only members) of Florida Georgia Line look like an exaggerated nightmare version of the Christian Rock Stars who were on posters in my teenage-youth-group Sunday school classrooms. They have like, denim vests with studs on the pockets, distressed and ripped? They have bleached goatees and eyebrow rings? They ALWAYS wear vests and have stringy hair and inexplicable hats? They have like a lot of jewelry on? Do you get what I’m getting at? God they look like idiots, and that’s what they sound like, too. A nightmare version of 1990s, early 2000s Christian rock. It’s exaggerated and it’s not quite as dark.
Let me just talk about the beginning of this video, which is maybe alluding to tornadoes that have happened recently? They have this thin, randomly attractive girl hanging out pretty sadly in front of the rubble of an airstream trailer that has been apparently set on fire and then exploded behind her, or has been stepped on by some walking sea beast. After surviving this disaster, the girl has managed to maintain immaculate lip gloss. God I wish country music would get over lip gloss.
This adorable and surprisingly happy, unstressed dog brings this lame girl a broken cell phone from the rubble. She reacts in no way whatsoever to this incredible, shocking feat of absolute devotion. She just ignores the dog and calls some shitty boy. Then she goes to his house somehow. Explaining this video is like trying to explain this dream I had last night where me and Loretta Lynn and a ghost solved the mystery of Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder. I bet you’d rather hear about that.
While this distraught girl goes looking for this dude to talk about how her trailer fell down when a monster stepped on it, our 90s Christian crooners are swaying around in a half-demolished living room and looking like they have some intense gastro-intestinal distress and heartburn. Really, they keep clutching their chests and squinting. Go to the bathroom guys, you are the band! They can wait!
Apparently the girl has brought her dog along to see this dweeb, and they get out and look at him, and apparently are like, “Hey a monster stepped on our house.” But then he just ignores them? And is like, “GTFO I don’t care, you were apparently a major B to me and the audience is just supposed to infer that somehow and infer that you deserve this.” Then she goes to a motel, and tries calling everybody she knows? Jesus, this guy is a dick! She doesn’t have a house! Why won’t he at least like, lend her $50 or let her use his working telephone?
Then we get the Band guys singing this SICK rock show in the trailer park at night, in which they throw all of the trailer furniture in a pile and set it on fire. I guess it’s a metaphor, or something. (UGH It’s so loud, I can’t take it, is it please over yet? Almost. I guess it was a metaphor?) Next the girl, unable to find a place to stay, tried going back to her busted down trailer, only to find that she doesn’t even have any furniture anymore because this dumbass band has just lit it all on fire. At least her dog is ok??? I don’t know what the hell this girl did to the dickass dude on the other side of the trailer park, but jesus, I’ve had some pretty fucking bad experiences in the past with people I’ve been involved with, and I still don’t think I would burn all their things up after their home had collapsed due to a natural disaster.
Note: The girl KIND of looks like Joey from Dawson’s creek! And I don’t even mean Katie Holmes; she just looks like Joey.
GOD DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS.
6. Friday Night, by Eric Paslay.
Isn’t it funny that his name is KIND of like “Paisley,” but it’s not? Whatever. This song is about how he doesn’t want to be a lame Monday morning to this girl, but rather he wants to symbolize to her the trappings of a loose-and-free Friday night, which include being “barefoot” (ALWAYS! This is like the new “hair” for symbolizing coded feminine sexuality – not showing men your hair, but taking your shoes off in their car?), a “sweet ride,” a “jackpot hot spot” (Lol?!?) AND a “Candy apple rag top.” Again! With the rag top! Basically this is exactly the same song as the terrible, terrible fake R&B one, except this one is emulating late nineties rock-pop, with a hook played by a full high pitched string section like they used to do all the time. At least he tries to make a clever device for the song, by using the day of the week thing, and it sort of has a melody, except for when he sings?
Do not listen to this.
7. Compass, Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum made a Levi’s ad.
8. Rewind, Rascal Flatts
This is a combination of numbers 3, 4 and 6. Don’t listen to it.
9. Bottom’s Up, Brantley Gilbert
In the video for this song, Brantley Gilbert pretends to be the owner of an old timey brothel/speak-easy and a gangster who wears a perplexing and yet also repulsive mixture of modern and period clothing. The sex-workers he employs refer to him as “B.G.” in high pitched voices as they get ready to throw a traditional whisky whore-gy out in the humid forest, either before or after robbing a bank. I don’t know.
10. Wasting all these Tears, Cassadee Pope
No, she doesn’t know how to spell her name, and no, the nineties classic by Tori Amos is called “Silent all these Years,” not “Wasting all these Tears.” Listen to that instead.