The Worst Albums & Songs
(This article was printed in the January / February 2010 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
Each year we are surprised at the music that comes out of Nashville. Some of it is rather good and tasteful. Where others makes you stand up and ask "WHY?" Why did you waste the time and energy recording this - this garbage?
Just remember as you read the following article, that the average fan of country music only gets to hear approximately less than 1% of what is available.
So, out of all the albums sent to us in 2009, this is our list of bad albums and singles...
We begin at the bottom with Jeff Cook's Ashes Won't Burn. Granted when Jeff was with the super group Alabama, he was good. That is because he was able to mix his talent with the talents of the other band members. In this album, we truly find out what kind of solo entertainer Jeff is. This album featured several previously recorded hits mixed with several songs that Jeff wrote or co-wrote. In the end, the album wasn't all that good.
We continue our list with Tammy Cochran's 30 Something and Single. Tammy is a rather talented entertainer. However, she just can not let go of one song, "Angels In Waiting." A real entertainer will move on to new and better songs while leaving their signature song for live performances. This is not the case with Tammy. It seems that she just can not release an album without this song! Therefore, it brings this album down and is added to our list.
Where as Corey Crowder's album Gold And The Sand is filled with great songs. It's just that Corey does not have the vocal versatilely to bring these songs to life. If these songs were released so other entertainers could record them, perhaps Corey could immerge on the country scene as a talented song writer, rather than a singer.
We continue with Jason Boland & The Stragglers in Comal County Blue album. This album contains a few good songs mixed with a bunch of fillers. Jason's baritone vocals entice the listener. However, it seems like they are holding back. They need to push it - to the max.
Where as Broke Down Cadillac's Somewhere in America is more of the 'let's put together two average talented people and see where they go.' It's as if the record label needed someone, any one, to record and they said 'hey let's record these guys.' Their sound is California meets New York City with no hint of the basis of country music. It's a waste and we wish record executives would stop it.
We come to Howard Lips' album Real American Country. This album is a perfect example that anyone can record an album, but not everyone should. We'll leave it at that.
Which brings us to another example of that with Michael Scott's Bring It On. We usually don't judge an album by it's cover, however, we had to on this one. This one was all about the cover and not the music. Michael is more of a want-to-be then an actual entertainer. Therefore, his album hit our list.
Our next album comes from Eilen Jewell with Sea of Tears. This album may be full of beautiful songs, however, like many other entertainers, Eilen does not have the vocal talent to bring these songs to life. It's as if she set her vocals to monotone and left them there. The biggest complaint that we have with most artists is that the music is simply beautiful. Then they mix it with the vocals and it goes from a beautiful song to something that makes you gag. If you want to become an artist, make sure your vocals are there. Don't try to mix outstanding musical arrangements with garbage vocals.
Sam Gary is another example of having a set of limited vocals. His album, Look-In For Answers should read "I have no vocals."
Our second complaint is best summed up in Tom Wurth's album If The Road Runs Out. Don't re-record songs that were made hits by bigger named artists! Especially, if you are a nobody. Period. Tom's album is filled with several previously released singles. Whoever in the music industry said that a new artist should do this should be fired! It only tells the listener that this person can become a cover artist or a local garage performer. This does not justify a professional country music entertainer!
Which brings us to our next artist, Carrie Underwood and her latest album Play On. This is the second time Carrie has hit our list. This will certainly be the second time that this becomes a controversy. If you are able to listen to all of the music that comes out of Nashville, you will hear a much better selection of music than what is included on Carrie's latest project. The only reason Carrie Underwood made it is because she is backed by money. However, our main complaint is that Carrie tends to scream through her songs. This is not appealing.
Anna Garrott makes our list with her album Only Time Will Tell. Anna is another artist who has no emotion in her vocals. How are you going to sell the song if you have no emotions. Seriously, music is all about emotions. Songs are born, written, to share life events that bring emotions to our minds, hearts and souls. Anna Garrott's album should read 'I have no emotion.'
Which brings us to our next album, Defining Moments, from Julie Richardson. In Julie's case she is trying way to hard to fulfill her dreams of being a country music entertainer. If she were to scale it back some and work on her delivery - well may be she might be worth listening to.
Okay, so we told you about singers who have no emotion, singers have no vocal talent and singers who have no style. But, none of them measure up to The New Relics and their album Monongalia. This album sounds like one of those ever lasting albums that just won't quit. Each of the songs on this album may contain different lyrics with a different musical beginning. However, they all end the same. Making this album sound like one very long song.
To tell you the truth, we have never heard Cathy-Anne McClintock perform with her former Bluegrass group. However, on her own - well that's just another story. She is another entertainer that does not have the vocal talent to bring life to the songs on her debut, self titled, solo album.
Another album with beautiful music and awful vocals comes from Caroline Herring in Golden Apples Of The Sun. Caroline sings like she is riding in a car on the world's most bumpy road. Her version of "True Colors" makes us want to run for the hills and put rocks in our ears.
We now come to our Top Five picks for worst album and or single of 2009.
We begin with the 2009 release of Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers' Pilgrimage. On this album Larry tells the story of how he was inspired by many other artists, including Johnny Cash. However, when you read between the lines on this album you can see the true meaning behind it. Money. The Gatlin's only release an album when they need money. As for this album, well it lacks the professionalism that Larry often points out that he has. Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers are one hit wonders. In years to come, well no one will be wondering about them.
This brings us to our first single from Fast Ryde, entitled "That Thang." One of the most hated items in the music industry is the uneducated songs. These are the songs that sound like a two year old wrote them. This is the case with this song. It's a combination of country rap mixed with hip hop lyrics. Basically, it's 100% pure garbage.
Our next album, One More Broken String, comes from Megan Munroe. This album left us asking "What the..." Throughout the entire album, Megan had no consistency with her vocals. At times she sounded much like a teenage closet singer. Then other times she was trying to hard to sound like the professionals. Where was she going with this? Only to come in at number three on our list of Top Worst Albums of 2009.
Coming in at Number 2, is Alexandra Celano with I'm Overcome. In other words, it should be called 'I'm Overcome with terror!' Alexandra tries to hit the scales with her vocals. But it sounds more like a dump truck backing up. It sounds so bad, that we cringe just looking at the album!
This brings us to the winner of Strictly Country's CD Coaster Award. This single is so bad we refuse to use it, even as a CD coaster. This single comes from Todd Fritsch and it's called "Texas Talkin'." Let me put it this way, we should take Todd's music and send it to Iraq and play it for the insurgents over there. In a matter of five minutes the war would be over! The enemy would give up or kill themselves so they wouldn't have to hear it. But, then again, we don't want to hurt our own soldiers in the mean while. We would have to give all of our soldiers Ipods so that they didn't have to endure the pain of listening to Todd Fritsch perform. You could bury his music for a thousand years and it still will sound like crap. My neighbor across the street sounds better than this wanna be.
So there it is... our list of Top worst albums and singles of 2009. So what will 2010 bring? I guess we'll have to wait and listen!
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