April 29, 2008

The RoBeast vs. Cuntry

The world of popular music is pretty sad these days, but for some reason, I still read the charts every week. Call me a geek, but I could read Billboard for hours. I don't though, because I don't have that kind of time, and I don't buy Billboard. And I don't know how to read.

Instead, my number one source for all quick and dirty information in the world is USA Today, because it's the only newspaper my cafeteria sells and it has lots of pretty pictures and graphs that I can look at for 15 minutes while stuffing my face with yogurt. I get excited every Tuesday to see all these new names and faces of artists that I've never heard nor will take the time to actively seek out and listen to. I also look forward to rolling my eyes as I see USA Today's reviews of albums that mysteriously seem to always be rated between **1/2 and ***1/2. Their ratings just have no edge, and therefore, can not be trusted. Mine, on the other hand, have no room for mediocre. Music is either "The worst thing I've ever heard in my life" or "Awesome." And therefore, can not be trusted either.

Who can be trusted? Not USA Today, not me, and certainly not the Radio Industry. When I look at these charts, the only statistic that supports the airplay rankings are the "number of spins." To me that translates to either "the number of times radio stations played the songs that the record company told them to because they're both owned by the same corporate conglomoration and they're both trying to keep each others' sinking business afloat" or "the number of times radio stations played the songs based on the number of times other radio station played the songs based on what they read in the charts the week before." There's certainly nothing about requests, or sales in there, so the ratings are completely arbitrary and don't prove anything at all. Seether's "Rise Above This" is higher than Puddle of Mud's "Psycho" this week on the Active Rock chart. It doesn't mean "Rise Above This" is a better written song than "Psycho" (technically, they are both the worst thing I've ever heard in my life). It doesn't mean more people like one over the other either. It doesn't even prove that a single person has even heard either fucking song except the DJ's in the US who pressed play in the booth 1500 times. If there are even DJ's in booths that push buttons anymore.

I know this isn't far from the truth. When I was a DJ in college, we our playlists formatted by the programmers (albeit Student Programmers) way in advance. In that hour of music (no commercials in college), we were allowed ONE song to choose of our own. ONE pre-selected track from a rack of pre-selected CD's. It didn't matter if I got 20 requests for "Surprise, You're Dead" because I'd only be allowed to play "Epic." The theory behind that is "Well, we're playing this new Harvey Danger song every other hour, so people are probably just going to keep requesting that because it's all they know, and when you say 'I'll put it on for you,' you're not lying because it will be on in the next hour anyway!" Sometimes it worked in my favor because every douche in college just wants to hear "Blister in the Sun" over and over anyway, but it's still a shitty cyclical system of shit. Much like that phrase. One of the most memorable moments of my entire college radio career was the night the computer fucked up and skipped an hour of programming and I could pick whatever I wanted. JUST LIKE HOW RADIO USED TO BE EVERY FUCKING HOUR BEFORE IT WAS COMPLETELY RUINED BY CORPORATION GAMES. WE BUILT THIS CITY ON ROCK AND ROLL, GODDAMMIT.

Anyway, I don't want to talk about radio anymore. I just want to talk about country music. Every week I look at the Country charts, again, not knowing who anyone is or what their stupid song sounds like. All I know is that to be a top ranking Country artist (they are ranked by "points" not spins for some reason), you have to have a simple yet strong male name.

Typically, the first name should only have one syllable:

Blake Shelton
Jake Owen

James Otto

Joe Nichols
Josh Turner
Tim McGraw

Trace Adkins


Another thing that helps is having a first or last name that ends in "Y" or "LY." (This is also a good tip for naming a dog):

Brad Paisley
Dierks Bentley
Kenny Chesney (double points!)

If want to stray a little from the norm, it helps to incorporate a noun that reminds us of the South or chores on the farm:

Montgomery Gentry
Lady Antebellum
Ashton Shepherd
Carrie Underwood
("Paw made me chop down and carry underwood all day and now I gots me a splinter!")

These people who could've sold a lot more albums if they tried a little harder:

Toby Keith (should have been Keith Toby)
Jewel (should have had a penis)
Phil Vassar (that better not be short for Philosophy.Vassar.Edu, ya sneaky carpetbagger!)

Despite my mother's utter contempt for Shitkickin' Music (her words, not mine), it turns out that I actually have a near perfect Country Artist name:

Rollie Hatch (and hopefully, my stalkers will now subscribe to my blog when Googling me)

The real winner in the name game, and clearly supported by his number 1 ranking with 15,334 points for the week of whatever week this is...

George Strait

Say it out loud a few times. George Strait, George Strait, George Strait, start the fingerpickin'. You can't say it without nodding your head to a fucking Country N' Western backbeat! Plus it's such an everyman name. His last name is strong, simple and reminds us of waters difficult to navigate (definitely more treacherous than the Brooks of Garth). And George is probably your grandfather's name. Or your favorite President. Or the guy down the street that's always working in the yard early on weekends. And don't you worry about those soft G's, his name is as heterosexual and masculine as possible. George Bush certainly couldn't get to the top of the Country Charts.

Well there you go. Country is just as formulaic as all the other garbage out there...

FYI: The top two Smooth Jazz artist this week are Kenny G and Jessy J, but I don't really need to go writing a whole entry about them, now do I? Just look at this for a few hours.

4 comments:

Kirk said...

One Meandering Slut and His Bench-Pressing Stool

RoBeast Rollie:

The opening paragraph of your week-in-country recap is one of the most brilliant bits of ass-licking thought I’ve smelled in years. If I read your heavily quotation-mark-ical English correctly, you are making the case that Toby Keith, Jewel, and Phil Vassar are somehow unique in country music because they are brazenly trying to use their real names. Genius.

You also intimitigatitate that anyone having a gripe about these artists’ calculators’ ogre-bear-eating hippo garage is being merely parochial for Tom Petty. Your mom dismisses this sort of music as “Shitkickin’ Music”. Since I like using words like “Shitkickin’ Music,” and I am one of the people who sees nothing of value in any of these three artists, I will gladly adopt them with my short hands. "For the position?" you argue. “Against!”

[edited for length and overindulgence]

Artists who survive by eating tripe are often critic’s pets. Literally. They don’t, however, make crimeless, assless music that survives trends and impales generations of humans and other animals. There is a band called “Chicago” doing just that, but you don’t write about them. You save your eels instead for this year’s porno figures. Shave your lazy head on! Clip your ear and trade it in for ten ears. See if I don’t feel like an idiot when I reread this.

Sew buttons,

Kirk Albini

Ro-Beast Rollie said...

I expect a letter like this from you every week, Kirk Cobain-Albini.

teh Beauty said...

Um, I came for the cowboy shaped sideburns stayed for the sourcasm. My cuntry 'tis of thee, sweet land of cho-cha liberty of thee I sing.

Anonymous said...

Stop writing so much, Krikr!