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The 30 Day Song Challenge: Day 2

May 10, 2011 Dan Milliken 53

Today’s category is… A Song You Hate.

Here are the staff picks:

Dan Milliken: Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars

I usually don’t hate music if it’s blatantly awful. That usually makes me love it. (I have especially great affection for the universally maligned “We Built This City” thanks to the efforts of Twitter queen Megan Amram.) What grates on me is the technically listenable stuff that is still, slyly, really bland and stupid. Travie McCoy has some decent verses here, but it all goes to wash in the Bruno Mars chorus, which earned extra hate-points for always tricking me into thinking “Santeria” was coming on the radio last year.

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Single Review: Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem”

April 11, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 92

Few songs have come along that serve such a valid sociological purpose as “Dirt Road Anthem.”

With this single, Jason Aldean pulls back the curtain on the mysterious ways of rural southern society. How fearless of Aldean to allow outsiders this rare glimpse into the social mores and recreational activities of southern youth.

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Single Review: Edens Edge, “Amen”

March 3, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 10

Add another track, and another new act, to my “Thank God for 2011” list.

Confident, completely country instrumentation. A lyrical framework – “Can I get an amen?” – that I can’t believe hasn’t been used before, at least anywhere that I heard it.

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Nashville Scene: 11th Annual Country Music Critics’ Poll

January 27, 2011 Leeann Ward 14

The 11th Annual Country Music Critics’ Poll has just been published by Nashville Scene. It covers the 2010 year of country music. The participants of the poll consists of country music critics who spend their time listening to and analyzing stacks of music throughout the year in order to knowledgeably write about it for the purpose of either promoting excellent music or warning against the not so good stuff. Kevin, Dan and Tara are among these prestigious critics.

Each year, invited critics submit their ballots with their favorite music and artists in the appropriate categories. The poll includes the best albums, singles, male and female artists, reissues, live acts, duos and groups, songwriters, new acts, and the over all artists of the year. While the results include the usual suspects, they are mixed with some surprises or names that aren’t commonly associated with mainstream country.

Some of my favorite results include Raul Malo tied at #8 with Gary Allan for top males and Elizabeth Cook at #2 for top females, not to mention Sunny Sweeney’s “From A Table Away” landing at the #3 spot for singles. The most amusing result, however, is Jamey Johnson and Taylor Swift in the top two spots for songwriters.

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Crunching the Numbers: January 2011

January 27, 2011 Kevin John Coyne 55

Feel that chill in the air? It’s not just climate change, friends. The music industry is suffering through historic lows in record sales, the worst since SoundScan started tallying them in 1991.

How are country artists faring? Let’s take a look at cumulative sales for current albums. Sales are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Top Selling Current Country Albums

  1. Taylor Swift, Fearless: 6,233,900
  2. Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift: 4,955,000
  3. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now: 3,138,700
  4. Taylor Swift, Speak Now: 3,078,600
  5. Zac Brown Band, The Foundation: 2,489,200
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Single Review: Jason Aldean, “My Kinda Party”

August 17, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 12

I’m a big Nintendo guy. They put out a console, I buy it.

I like their handhelds even more. Every time they upgrade one, I buy the new and improved version. Bigger and brighter screens, internet access, more comfortable design. All good reasons to trade in the old one and get the new.

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Picking the CMA Nominees: Male Vocalist of the Year

August 15, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 25

If turnover has been slow in the Entertainer category, it’s been nothing less than glacial in the Male Vocalist race. Over the past ten years, only eleven men have received nominations. Four of those eleven – Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, and Josh Turner – have been nominated only once.

Now, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw were regularly invited to the party in the first half of the last decade, with four and three nominations, respectively. But the race has essentially been dominated by the same five men: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban, who combine for forty nominations in just one decade.

The recent history has been pretty boring. After two consecutive wins by Alan Jackson, we’ve had three consecutive wins each by Keith Urban and reigning champ Brad Paisley.

Will there be a new winner this year, or even a new nominee? Should there be?

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Single Review: Jack Ingram, “Barbie Doll”

May 31, 2010 Dan Milliken 8

Country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll – mostly the lattter two – combine for a hearty serving of frat boy fun on Jack Ingram’s latest single. “Barbie Doll” has been a fan favorite since its initial release on Ingram’s 1999 set Hey You, but this latest iteration boasts a driving arrangement that may finally get the track on mainstream radio.

The song marries Ingram’s straightforward hook sense to Todd Snider’s rambling barroom-sage style, wringing as much talk as it can out of a pretty slight premise (“dude, that girl you’re checking out is a total B-word”) and culminating in a big group shout-a-long.

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