Tag Archives: Halfway to Hazard

The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 1: #50-#41

Worst SinglesAs we begin our look back on the last ten years in country music, we’re starting with the bottom. Over the next few days, you’ll be reading about the worst that country music sent to radio in the 2000s, much of which they actually played.

But first, a disclaimer. This list makes no attempt to objectively list the worst singles of the decade. If that’s what I was going for here, I’d just post a collection of homemade tracks and twenty Rascal Flatts singles and call it a day. Instead, this list takes a broader view, including songs from accomplished artists that were just disappointing, copycat and fad-chasing numbers, and just plain old mediocre efforts.

This isn’t the type of thing we normally do, but I’m sure I’ll hear what I’m right about, what I’m wrong about, and what I forgot to include in the first place!  Look for the best-of lists to follow as the year starts winding down.

The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 1: #50-#41

#50
Mark Wills, “19 Somethin’”

Pick a decade, man.

#49
Toby Keith, “Who’s Your Daddy?”

The biggest casualty of Keith’s ascent to superstardom was his quality check. When your label lets you put out anything and radio goes ahead and plays it, the blame must be spread around for such silliness as this.

#48
Halfway to Hazard, “Daisy”

In which a girl’s sole reasons for existing are to make a boy a man, lead him to God, and give him a child. After that, you can just kill her off in the final verse.  This is why people hate country music.

#47
Martina McBride, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”

McBride’s bloodless cover of the Lynn Anderson classic lacks all of the layers of irony found in the original, but it secured its place on this list by the parenthetical addition to the title.  “Oh, it’s that song about a rose garden!”

#46
Rascal Flatts, “Revolution”

Then again, if Martina sounds like she doesn’t get the layers of meaning in “Rose Garden”, Rascal Flatts make clear they have no idea at all what John Lennon was singing about on the White Album.  That they have the audacity to start going “Shoo-be-doo-bop” in the background as Gary LeVox sings about Chairman Mao is simply insane.

#45
Joe Nichols, “If Nobody Believed In You”

He’s worried that God is finally giving up on mankind. He was able to keep the faith through all those epic wars and acts of genocide, but no prayers in public school  pushed Him over the edge.

#44
Miranda Lambert, “Dead Flowers”

Person #1: “Wow, this song has no melody at all.”

Person #2: “Did she just compare herself to Christmas lights?”

Person #1: “And it just goes on forever. Who’s singing this anyway?”

Person #2: “It’s by….Miranda Lambert.”

Person #1: “Miranda Lambert?…..It’s…..brilliant!”

Person #2: “Yes. Brilliant!”

#43
Lady Antebellum, “Lookin’ For a Good Time”

She should look for an Autotuner instead.

#42
Billy Gilman, “She’s My Girl”

“The way she moves, the way she grooves. She drives me wild with her wild-child smile.”   It took Billy Gilman singing a romantic song to make all of his inspirational songs seem painless in comparison.

#41
Sammy Kershaw & Lorrie Morgan, “He Drinks Tequila”

He drinks tequila, she talks dirty in Spanish. That’s the premise.  Lorrie Morgan yelping like a chihuahua is the unfortunate result.

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Halfway to Hazard, “The Devil and the Cross”

Similar in theme to the recent Big & Rich single “Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace”, but stronger in execution.    The “prodigal son” theme has been done before, but by weaving in a believable storyline, it doesn’t sound like a pointless retread.

My biggest criticism of the Big & Rich single was its plodding pace.  Thankfully, Halfway to Hazard don’t make the same mistake.  “The Devil and the Cross” is lifted up by strong vocals and punchy production.    Given the chance, this might be the breakthrough at radio that this young duo needs.

Grade: B

Listen: The Devil and the Cross

Buy: The Devil and the Cross

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Halfway to Hazard, Halfway to Hazard

Halfway to Hazard
Halfway to Hazard

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Shrieking diva syndrome.  It’s an affliction that has corrupted many a talented female vocalist.   They mistake screaming for singing, intensity for interpretation.   They errantly believe that the louder they belt the notes, the less likely we are to notice the mediocrity of the lyrics.   It’s a well-documented problem in pop music that has spilled over to country music in the past ten years or so.

Not content with the genre being tainted by the excesses of pop music, we’re now being subjected to the male rock band equivalent  of shrieking diva syndrome.   The eighties hair bands are back, my friends, and they’re trying to pass themselves off as country bands.   The debut album of duo Halfway to Hazard reminded me at times of Guns ‘n’ Roses, and I don’t mean the tight, brilliant Appetite For Destruction Guns ‘n’ Roses, either.  I’m talking about the  “Axl Rose playing a dead groom in Tuxedo getting pummeled by the cold November Rain  and the damn song never ends” Guns ‘n’ Roses.

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