Tag Archives: Chuck Wicks

Single Review: Chuck Wicks, “Old School”

Chuck Wicks continues his career as Mark Wills 2.0 with “Old School”, a boring retread that is like “19 Somethin'” with less cleverness, energy, and personality.

That’s right. Less cleverness, energy, and personality than “19 Somethin’.”

Unless shout-outs to  the Steve Miller Band that get your heart all aflutter, this is one nostalgia trip you’re better off forgetting.

Grade: D

Listen: Old School


Filed under Single Reviews

Single Review: Chuck Wicks, “Hold That Thought”

Modern “Let’s Do It, Girl” Song Totem Pole

Gary Allan, “Nothing On but the Radio”

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James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”

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Chris Young, “Gettin’ You Home”

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Josh Turner, “Your Man”

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Steel Magnolia, “Keep On Lovin’ You”

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(Quality drop-off)

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This Song

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Billy Currington, “Don’t”

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Pat Green, “Let Me


Grade: C+

Listen: Hold that Thought



Filed under Single Reviews

The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 2: #40-#31

thumbs downThe banality continues. Read Part 1 .

The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 2: #40-#31

Kenny Chesney & George Strait, “Shiftwork”

A stab at the working class blues still ends up on a tropical island by the third verse.

Anita Cochran featuring The Voice of Conway Twitty, “(I Wanna Hear) A Cheatin’ Song”

In which a duet is formed from beyond the grave by chopping up bits and pieces of old Conway Twitty songs and reassembling them word by word.

Billy Dean, “Let Them Be Little”

Thirty seconds in and you’ll be headed to your dentist for a cavity filling.

Montgomery Gentry, “She Couldn’t Change Me”

Sorry boys, but “some hip-hop mess” would be a great improvement over this hillbilly trainwreck.

Sarah Johns, “The One in the Middle”

Does anybody really need this gesture explained to them for four minutes? The whole point of using it is so you don’t have to talk to the person.

Chuck Wicks, “Stealing Cinderella”

It’s hard to believe that you’re stealing Cinderella when you sing like you’re looking for Prince Charming.

Faith Hill, “The Way You Love Me”

If my wife could only grant me one wish, and she actually chose for me to see the way that I kiss, I’d grant her divorce papers in return.

Tracy Byrd, “Drinkin’ Bone”

Why come up with something original when you can just corrupt a nursery rhyme?

Jo Dee Messina, “Biker Chick”

She’s not just any plain old biker chick. She’s a biker chick chick, a biker chick chick.

Buddy Jewell, “This Ain’t Mexico”

You think he’s mad now? Wait until he gets to heaven and finds out God chose Pablo and Juanita to help pour out the rain.


Filed under Decade in Review

Album Sales Update

Here are the latest totals for albums released over the past three years that are still charting:


  • Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable – 669,000
  • Keith Urban, Defying Gravity – 349,000
  • Jason Aldean, Wide Open – 241,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire – 189,000
  • Martina McBride, Shine – 89,000
  • John Rich, Son of a Preacher Man – 89,000
  • Rodney Atkins, It’s America – 72,000
  • Jake Owen, Easy Does It – 70,000
  • Eric Church, Carolina – 66,000
  • Randy Travis, I Told You So: Ultimate Hits – 59,000
  • Randy Rogers Band, Randy Rogers Band – 57,000
  • Pat Green, What I’m For – 54,000
  • Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie & The Wheel – 50,000
  • Billy Ray Cyrus, Back to Tennessee – 29,000
  • Jason Michael Carroll, Growing Up is Getting Old – 26,000
  • Dean Brody, Dean Brody – 5,000


  • Taylor Swift, Fearless – 3,220,000
  • Sugarland, Love on the Inside – 1,594,000
  • George Strait, Troubadour – 860,000
  • Alan Jackson, Good Time – 803,000
  • Keith Urban, Greatest Hits – 737,000
  • Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun – 696,000
  • Darius Rucker, Learn to Live – 642,000
  • Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 – 642,000
  • Toby Keith, 35 Biggest Hits – 630,000
  • Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum – 572,000
  • Zac Brown Band, Foundation – 511,000
  • Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song – 438,000
  • Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy – 384,000
  • James Otto, Sunset Man – 368,000
  • Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough – 309,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits – 244,000
  • Brad Paisley, Play – 238,000
  • Jewel, Perfectly Clear – 226,000
  • Kellie Pickler, Kellie Pickler – 216,000
  • Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie – 199,000
  • Heidi Newfield, What am I Waiting For? – 197,000
  • Tim McGraw, Greatest Hits Vol. 3 – 196,000
  • Trace Adkins, X – 174,000
  • Montgomery Gentry, Back When I Knew it All – 173,000
  • Blake Shelton, Startin’ Fires – 152,000
  • Joey + Rory, Life of a Song – 152,000
  • Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything – 133,000
  • Chuck Wicks, Starting Now – 129,000
  • Jimmy Wayne, Do You Believe Me Now – 127,000
  • Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy – 94,000
  • Eli Young Band, Jet Black and Jealous – 92,000
  • Hank Williams III, Damn Right Rebel Proud – 76,000
  • Craig Morgan, Greatest Hits – 73,000
  • Lost Trailers, Holler Back – 65,000
  • Randy Houser, Anything Goes – 58,000


  • Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift – 4,129,000
  • Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride – 2,852,000
  • Trace Adkins, Greatest Hits Vol. 2 – 627,000


Filed under Crunching the Numbers

Review: Chuck Wicks, “Man of the House”

chuck-wicks-backYou could write one heck of a great song by exploring the complex perspective of a boy who feels obligated to fill the void left in his family by his father’s engagement away from home. So why was this song written instead?

Look: it’s very easy to dismiss sap just for being sap. Wicks emerged onto the scene with a patented Critic’s Dartboard on his face thanks to the cute ‘n’ cuddly “Stealing Cinderella,” and this single, which finds its ten year-old protagonist doing dishes for his mom and pouring Cap’n Crunch for his sister, instead of “playing ball and video games,” certainly does some unsolicited yanking at the heartstrings (and the patriotism, as an added bonus: the father’s absence is the result of military involvement). So alright, that Dartboard probably won’t be coming off any time soon.

And yet, something about this song’s offense goes deeper than the fact that it’s just super-sweet. Something about it disturbed me in a way “Cinderella”‘s innocent (if overstated) portrayal of father-daughter affection never did. As I was trying to put my finger on exactly what the issue was, I asked myself why I liked certain other songs that could be thought to fit into the same “sappy” faction. I thought about John Michael Montgomery’s “Letters From Home.” And I thought about Gary Allan’s “Tough Little Boys.” How did they manage to be so unabashedly sentimental and still evade this kind of uncomfortable territory? Why didn’t I feel manipulated like this when I listened to those songs?

The clue that got me going was that both of them are told in the first-person. Well, of course. In the first-person, it’s much harder to tell anything but the uncompromised truth, even when your topic is potentially sappy. You become instinctively aware, as a singer, that you are speaking directly on behalf of the character you represent, and you feel uncomfortable singing anything that does not seem emotionally authentic from that perspective. Otherwise, it’s like lying about something you yourself did. It just feels wrong.

But in the third-person? In the third-person, the character can be whoever you need him to be. He doesn’t necessarily have to be authentic, and the way you present events that impact him doesn’t have to be authentic, so long as the story sounds somewhat plausible and makes its desired impact on the listener. Because your performance doesn’t really need to feel so personal if you’re just telling a story, just talking about someone else. Maybe even someone you basically made up. No big deal. A lot of songwriters write about people they’ve never met, right? Sure.

But here’s the thing: we’re not talking about some safe, flexible character here, like, say, a guy hoping to marry his girlfriend. We’re talking about a young child, a boy who has been thrust into the harshest sort of reality – the departure of a parent – long before he is ready to deal with such a thing. And that boy is not fit to be treated like a neutral piece of human-shaped Play-Doh in a songwriter’s head, no matter how good the writer’s intentions might be. That boy truly exists in many places in this country and others in the world, and at a higher rate than ever before, for reasons both military-related and not.

And quite frankly, I don’t want to hear what two guys with guitars assume about that boy’s feelings, or how he acts on them, or what he “oughta” be doing with his time as a boy. I don’t want to hear Chuck Wicks gush for four minutes about the parts of the boy’s life that elicit easy “awww”s before dumping the matter as soon as it’s time for a new mushy hit. I don’t want to hear that boy’s experience get reduced into a string of little tragedies that make me feel like I have no choice but to sympathize with him. I don’t want to have my sympathy ripped off of me like that, as though I’d be too stupid or cold to give it freely if the song simply gave me a bit of truth, a second of storytelling that didn’t sound like it came more from guesswork and calculation than from any kind of genuine, confessional experience.

I want to hear that boy speak for himself. Or I want to hear him spoken for by a narrator who can present his life without turning it into a cloying spectacle, the way hundreds of country songs have managed to with equally real, relevant characters. “Man of the House” might as well have “radio success” written between each and every contrived line, but don’t let its accessibility fool you into thinking it’s fair.

Because that boy deserves better.

Written by Mike Mobley & Chuck Wicks

Grade: D

Listen: Man of the House


Filed under Single Reviews

Chuck Wicks, “Stealing Cinderella”

I realize that I’m supposed to be swept away by the charm of this story, a young man asking a father for his daughter’s hand.     All I could think of listening to this, besides this being a reprise of “I Loved Her First”, is that this Dad has way too many pictures of his daughter in the living room.   Throw in a sugary sweet vocal and it’s just a little too much for me.

Grade: D

Listen: Stealing Cinderella

Buy: Stealing Cinderella


Filed under Single Reviews