CD Coaster Award...The Worst Albums & Songs of 2012
You actually call that music?
By: The Staff at Strictly Country
One of the greatest things about working at Strictly Country is that we get to hear all the music that is released over the year. The worst part of working at Strictly Country is writing this article. Why? Because of the retaliation that we get from the fans in regards to this article.
The first thing you need to know is that the music industry is all about money. Every song that you hear on the radio is paid for by the record label and or entertainer. In fact, many magazines in country music are not independent magazines. But, magazines in which entertainers and record labels pay for every word in the article about them or their albums. So how are you suppose to get an honest opinion about an entertainer and their music if the article is paid for by the entertainer or record label?
The second thing you need to know is that Strictly Country IS independent. We do not and never will be paid to write or print anything about an entertainer or their albums. Therefore, you get a truly honest opinion based on the music heard.
The third thing you need to know is that we listen to all of the music, note per note, using high quality studio headphones. Therefore, we get to hear the music as if we were in the recording studio while it was being mixed. There is a world of difference between listening to a song on the radio and listening to a song using high quality studio headphones. The difference can make or break an entertainer.
The fourth and final thing you need to know, prior to reading our list of Top Bad Albums and Songs of 2012, is that we base this list on all of the music that we hear. We will warn you that you will in fact see many artists on this list that are nominated for this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards. Why? Because we feel that there are more talented artists in country music than many artists listed in this article.
Now that you know these four facts, lets begin. Here is Strictly Country’s list of Top Bad Albums and Songs of 2012.
Let’s begin with Hunter Hayes and his self entitled album. Hunter is the perfect example of a manufactured artist. He performs with no emotions or passion. Music is all about telling a story with emotions through song. Hunter is just another pawn to bring teens to country music.
We continue with Kevin Gordon and his album Gloryland. Kevin is your typical Folk artist. However, this album does contain a very harsh song that talks about the KKK. Yes, the KKK is part of American history. However, in today’s society of ‘let’s protect everyone’ We find it hard to hear an artist singing a song so bold. As for the rest of the album, it’s like so many in today’s modern music - every song has the same baseline melody.
Humming House’s self entitled album hits our list because of the production or lack of production. Throughout the entire album the listener will hear the stomping of the entertainer’s foot. At times this stomping over powers the instrumentals and vocals. It’s mistakes in production like this that will drop an album from a possible #1 to the bottom of the pile.
Marty Raybon released two albums in 2012, Southern Roots & Branches: Yesterday & Today and Hand To The Plow. Both albums contain beautiful instrumentals, however it’s Marty’s lack of vocal ability that brings each of these albums to our list.
Shane Martin’s album Rewind, is another example of the same old music with the same baseline melody.
Where as in Karyn Williams’ album Only You features Karyn’s beautiful vocals that have a wide range. However, this album is like so many. It too has the same baseline melody through out the entire album. Plus, at one point the listener can hear the sound of the tape reels turning.
The Cadillac Black’s self entitled album is another in which every song has the same baseline melody. What a waste of time, money and production. We wonder why the environmentalists don’t go after these entertainers for filling up the wastelands?
Marvin Etzioni released his album called Marvin Country. This album is more of a folk style with absolutely no direction. It’s completely worthless.
One of the biggest mistakes that an entertainer can do is re-record someone else's music. The second biggest mistake an entertainer can make is to record outside their chosen genre. This is the case with Jim Byrnes. Jim is an accomplished Blues musician. However, in 2012, Jim chose to record a really bad country album called I Hear The Wind In The Wires.
Todd Fritsch released another mistake of an album this year called Up Here In The Saddle. Todd will never make it as a country artist! It is our wish for 2013, that he would just fade into the abyss of untalented entertainers who finally gave up.
Another entertainer who should fall in that abyss is Burns & Poe. More often than you can imagine we ask ‘why is this entertainer still performing?’ That is the case with this duo and their single "I Need A Job." Our answer is ‘Yes, anything but performing!’ Perhaps they should work at the concessions stand at a real entertainers’ performance.
There are so many songs about breaking up with a loved one. However, Terry Radigan took it one step further with her album The Breakdown of A Breakup. This album is filled with a wide variety of horrendous and angry songs about breaking up.
We now come to Geoffrey Andrews and his self entitled album. At times Geoffrey sounds like Josh Grobin. However, most of the time he tries so hard to make his vocals work with the song that it sounds horrible. Now if he were to just relax and let his vocals come naturally, he wouldn’t make our list.
More often than you can imagine we come across albums that are just full of filler songs that should never ever be recorded. This is the case with Yarn’s album Almost Home.
Sometimes an album comes to our office that has absolutely no reason to be manufactured. This is the case with Mark Wayne Glasmire’s self entitled album. Mark is a want-to-be artist who has no vocal ability. Plus, he is another artist who tends to steal other artists songs and call them his own. Mark here is your official invitation to leave the industry, NOW!
Before 2012, we could claim that all the combination albums were good. However, in 2012, a group of artists teamed up to release When Country Meets Dixie. The concept was a good one, however, no one really researched what Dixie genre really is. The choice of country music entertainers was truly off, which totally brought this album to this list. What the concept should have been is taking a Dixie band from New Orleans and mix it with a wide variety of well known country singers performing such classic Dixie music. What they did is take unknown and untalented artists to perform Gospel music. Thus creating a waste of time, money and product.
Another mistake often made in the music industry is finding people who can not sing, however, they have the name of a well known singer. This is the case with Craig Morrison and his self entitled album. Craig has no vocal abilities and every song sounds exactly a like. Craig also released his version of an old Tractor’s song "Santa Claus Boogie." His version destroyed such a wonderful song.
Blake Shelton hits our list this year with his first Christmas album called Cheer’s It’s Christmas. Blake has limited and simple vocals. What brought this album to our list is the production of mixing a full orchestra with Blake’s simple vocals. If the producer would have stayed with Blakes band, instead of a full orchestra - this would have been an exceptional album. As is, it hits this list.
Another album that has the same baseline melody comes from Caroline Herring with her album Camilla. The difference in this album is that Caroline has the shaky vocal syndrome. Even at the peak of it’s popularity, the shaky vocal syndrome was never truly liked.
We have said it before and we will say it again - manufacturing an artist never works. This is the case with Her & Kings County and their self entitled EP. This group’s lead singer tries so hard to put the twang within each of the songs that it sounds fake, manufactured and horrendous.
Another album that sounded like listening to one endless song came from Lukas Nelson and Promise of The Real with their album Wasted. Perhaps the listener has to be ‘wasted’ to enjoy this album.
We may sound like a broken record as we share with you all the albums that sound like one long song with their same baseline melody. Heath Forbes album, Caught In The Middle... is another to add to the ever growing list.
We have heard many wonderful albums by Folk artists. There is just something about Folk music that brings you back to earth. However, Todd Snider is not the Folk artist to seek. His album, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is a pish posh of songs with mixed up, unending stories that don’t make any sense.
Jeff Black can create some beautiful music at times. However, his Christmas album Christmas Sunshine is a collection of pure crap.
Jason Aldean is the poster boy for how the music industry conditions the listener to what they want you to listen too. Strictly Country was one of the first magazines to interview Jason when he first hit the music scene. He is a money hungry, untalented, non-respectful prick and his My Kinda Party album is proof.
Another entertainer who is like Jason is Phil Vassar. However, one can add the words ‘biggest music thief’ to that list. Phil’s Christmas album Noel hits our list.
If we had a name like Skelton, we could really do something with it. However, Grady Skelton is limited and his album Live Simply is proof of it.
The Vespers’ album The Fourth Wall is a combination of beautiful Bluegrass meets Folk music. It contains some beautiful songs and instrumentals that are mixed with ear piercing screaming lead vocals.
Another problem found in the music industry is when a unique artist becomes popular, many want-to-be’s try to emulate them. This is the case with Risa Binder and her album Paper Hearts. Risa tries so hard to emulate Taylor Swift that it comes out sounding horrible. Why would you try to emulate an artist where their music is one long song? Why not emulate an artist with talent, like Reba or Martina?
Ashley Forrest is another want-to-be, let’s sound like everyone else, singer. Her debut single "Pourin’ Over Me" went no where but in the circular file.
Then there is Maggie Sajack. We can understand if the daughter of a famous game show host would like to pursue a career in music. However, we would highly suggest changing your name so you are not riding the coat tales of your father. However, no need to worry because her debut single "If I Was Gonna Go," went straight to this list.
Our next album, That Light Is Always On, comes from the Gene Butler Band. This album contains incredible music mixed with beautiful lyrics sung by a man who sounds like a sixty year old smoker. The only thing missing from this album is the smoker’s cough.
Jenna Jentry is another want-to-be like Taylor Swift artist. Her album Good As Gold is not even worth a grain of sand. Jenna lacks talent, emotions and vocal range to even become a background singer.
If we were to give an award for the most boring album of 2012, The BoDeans would win with their album American Made. This album lacks everything including talent.
Another album that is destroyed by lack of vocals comes from Clinton Gregory and his album Too Much Ain’t Enough. We say any part of your so called performances is enough. Clinton also released a Christmas song in 2012 called "Peace On Earth Again." We say it will be peace on earth if you never ever sing again!
What part of ‘Don’t copy another famous entertainer’ do you not understand? When we heard K Phillips’ album American Girls it went straight to the circular file with no exceptions!
A perfect example of the music industry being idiots comes in the form of an EP recorded by The Farm. We do not get offended to easily, however, after hearing this album - we were offended! The Farm has absolutely no inclination of what it is like to live and work on a farm. This band consists of three want-to-be artists forced together by some young college puke record executive.
The Roys hit our list again, this time a little closer to the worst of the worst. Their album New Day Dawning with their single "Still Standing" got a rating of a one $. This duo has no place in Bluegrass or any where else. I think it’s time we say ‘no’ and push them into the abyss of untalented artists.
Ponderosa’s album, Pool Party, is just that. It’s an album that needs several filters to figure out what, if you call that music, they are singing.
Where as Paul Van Dyk’s album Evolution is not music. If music evolves into this, just kill us now - please!
Marty McIntosh sounds like he is having a heart attack through out his album The American Night. Lord help us if this album is sent to foreign countries!
If we were to give an award for the biggest fraud in country music, it would go to Shane Thomas and his album Thrillbilly. Each song on this album was recorded by other artists including Billy Ray Cyrus and Alice In Chains.
Throughout this article we have told you about mistakes made in the music industry. One of the biggest mistakes ever made is called Rap music. No one with any intelligence liked Rap when it came out and no one with any intelligence now, likes Rap. Then, one day some idiot said - ‘let’s mix rap with country!’ Hey there is one of the most stupid things ever done in country music. This is the case with Florida Georgia Line’s debut EP It’z Just What We Do. Do us all a favor - don’t do it! It’s stupid and sounds like crap!
One of the biggest over paid, over awarded, piece of untalented entertainers has to be Miranda Lambert. Coming in number seven on our list of Worst Albums of 2012 is her album Four The Record. The reason Miranda made it this far is because she is backed by millions of dollars. Why? Who knows! Under high quality studio headphones, Miranda is screaming throughout this entire album!
Our last six albums are equal in every aspect. If we were to choose which albums were the worst albums of 2012, all of them would win! We received extra copies of several of these albums and we were to embarrassed to give them away for fear that our readers would think that we were that bad. What we should have done is sent them to the United States Military to use as torture devises for terrorists.
Coming in at number six is Steve Scott Country with Shinin’ Like You Do. Doug Briney comes in at number five with It’s All Country. Number four and three spots are earned by the same artist named Gregorie Venning with his albums Music and Jailhouse Floor: Songs of Victory.
When reviewed, the final two albums received the lowest rating ever given by the staff at Strictly Country. The Lacs debut album 190 Proof received a - - - - $ while Julie Ingram’s album Always Remember could not even be rated it was that bad!
In the end, the staff at Strictly Country must go scrub our ears. Never again, do we want to hear music from majority of the entertainers listed here. But if we must, there is always room in the circular file and in this article for next year.
Before you contact us to complain about this list, just remember what you hear doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is out there for country music!
There you have it, Strictly Country’s list of Worst Albums and Songs of 2012. Tune in next January for Strictly Country’s list of Worst Albums and Songs of 2013!
(This article was printed in the January / February 2013 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
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