I like country music. I really like country music and always have. And I can even like some of the awful new country crap that they play on the radio now. This isn't to say that the powers that be in country radio programming don't have their heads up their ass and that they've outdone themselves in shoving horrid tripe down our throats while ignoring most of the good stuff going on all around us. They have, in spades.
But, I like the occasional bad country kitsch. I like silly hooks and punny songs and clever, silly word games. I like fun songs and sometimes even over-sincere, over-melodramatic songs. I totally own that. But can we at least ask that it be done well and can it not be the only thing they put on the damn radio? Travis Tritt and Toby Keith do both extremes well. Melodrama or fun puns, they both excel and can sing and write a fucking song, and do them well enough that we can forgive the way they dress and, if in a generous mood, perhaps even their haircuts.
Kenny Chesney I can't forgive.
Had he been a one hit wonder, then you could not hate him and wouldn't have to be baffled at his inexplicable celebrity, but really, who buys his albums and why? Ok, we know it is marketing and music execs who want the blandest most broadly sellable moron with the greatest minimum of talent to tell adolescents they should listen to and purchase, and someone sold on something bland at twelve often continues into adulthood on such whitebread diets that these stale toast 'talents' can continue on into something one might call a career (I call it a plague). But come on people, he looks like a twelve year-old tomboy in unimaginative JC Penny's cowboy drag and sings like a youth pastor. If he had pigtails and more testosterone, freckles, and attitude, he'd be Pippy Longstockings. He started off interesting enough and had a few likable songs, but instead of progressing into something of a mature artist, his songs have become more innane and vapid as he has gone and his image has taken a similar trajectory. When your fashion has progressed from dressed up for a 4-H dance to metrosexual lesbian cowboy, how far have you gone really?
Ok, so maybe I am being mean here. Kenny Chesney has had a few ok songs and deserves a level of fame, but not as much as exposure as he has been given. I had to listen to mostly crappy new country junk played off scratched cd's for twelve hours straight while working, so I got a little grumpy.