Strum and Twang: A Look at What’s New in Country’s Top 10

Here’s a whole mess of clichés coming together, which is appropriate since we’re talking country radio, where the clichés are revered and preserved like Jurassic Park brontosaurs. First, take the old line about how country stardom is for folks who couldn’t make it in rock and roll. Then, try on the myth that few people bought Velvet Underground records but everyone who did went on to start a band. Finally, consider these clichés – both of which I’ve always considered bullshit — in light of the fact that two of this week’s top ten country singles whole hog steal the riff from “Sweet Jane.”

Does this validate the clichés? The Velvets themselves couldn’t make it in rock and roll. Maybe they should have tried Nashville.

Montgomery Gentry, “One in Every Crowd” (#7)

Verdict: Godawful But Interesting

Dierks Bentley’s “Sideways,” (see below) just echoes “Sweet Jane”‘s one-two, and one-twos on the verses, and could get over without it. But this abomination rides that riff raw. It also rides: Billy Joe Shaver’s “Honky Tonk Heroes” for its title and punchline (There’s one in every crowd and it’s usually me) but none of its wit or insight; and, hilariously, at the minute five mark, “Hey Ya,” which here becomes “Hey, y’all!” shouted by a boy chorus more Seabees than honkytonk. Admittedly, all these mismatched parts Frankensteined together are kind of compelling, and if some ironist DJ has mashed this together from all the original songs, I’d probably love it. Unfortunately, Montgomery Gentry doesn’t seem to know how funny it is. Worse, I doubt they realize that the shirtless, girl-stealing, life-of-the-party “good-time Charley with a Harley” they’re celebrating in this song is an asshole.

Categories: Music