The Worst Country Songs of 2013, Part I: 20-11

Last August, when Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” became the biggest country single of all-time by logging the most weeks at #1 by a song in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart, Jody Rosen ofVulture defined the current strain of mainstream country trends as ‘bro-country’ or “music by and of the tatted, gym-toned, party-hearty young American white dude.” Bro-country is by and large one of the worst epidemics to ever strike mainstream country, far worse then the Urban Cowboy era, 90s Hat Acts, or The Nashville Sound. The roots of this ‘sub-genre’ are 80s arena rock and 90s hip-hop and are about as far away from the traditions of country music as Sidney, Australia is from New York City. This drivel is a surprising hit, and why not? It appeals to the adolescent and college set who buy songs and fill stadiums. It also, unequivocally, makes for the worst music in the history of the country genre.  Not all of these constitute bro-country, but they do help get the list started:


20. He Loves to Make Me Cry – Kristen Kelly

An attempt at torch singing. I give Kelly credit for trying, but she holds the notes too long. Better luck next time.


19. Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About – Thompson Square

I hear the generic mid-90s single they’re going for here, I do. But as it stands, this is a mess. The production, generic, loud, and way too rock erases any enjoyment I could have of this song.


18. I Hold On – Dierks Bentley 

I’ve always wondered why Bentley has yet to score big at country award shows. It’s because of songs like this – dark and gravelly rambles that have little redeeming value. I’m holding on for the day he finally gets his act together and his head out of the gutter.


17. Chillin’ It – Cole Swindell 

How bro can one be?


16. Power of a Love Song – Tate Stevens

Want an obvious reason why X Factor ratings are in the toilet? It’s because of winners like Tate Stevens, who are cardboard cutouts instead of promising talents. Stevens fills the role of country singer just fine, if this were 1992. Even then it was dated. Worse? He’s given bland and forgettable songs like this to croon. Biggest waste of $5 million I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes.


15. Radio – Darius Rucker

“Wagon Wheel” > “Radio” and is that really saying much?


14. When I See This Bar – Kenny Chesney

This is Reason #1 as to why this whole beach thing reached its climax years ago. Chesney needs a new shtick, pronto.


13. Drunk Last Night – Eli Young Band

More generic bro-country, yuck.


12. Pirate Flag – Kenny Chesney

This is Reason #2 as to why this whole beach thing reached its climax years ago. Chesney needs a new shtick, pronto.


11. Jump Right In – Zac Brown Band

An island wind sings again, a lonesome lullaby” has to be about the most grating refrains in music history. The line itself isn’t bad, but to hear Zac and the boys sing it, it’s downright annoying. So is everything about this song.

2 Responses to “The Worst Country Songs of 2013, Part I: 20-11”

  1. Markus Meyer Says:

    I actually disagree with a majority of these.

    I really like “Drunk Last Night”, love “I Hold On” and like “EISBTA”.

    Agreed on “Pirate Flag”. I dislike “Love Song”, “When I See This Bar” and “HLTMMC”.

    Excited to see part 2, though I bet I already know most of the songs that will be included 😉

  2. bob Says:

    The Kristen Kelly “torch” song would be on my list of 20 Best! “He Loves to Make Me Cry” was reviewed by Ben Foster of CU on 3/26/13. While I disagreed with a lot of what Ben said, he did grade it B-. My comment was: “Love this song. The lyrics are engaging enough for me. The chorus deals with the tears of joy rather than heartache concept you mention. In the first verse we learn how thoughtful and romantic her man is. In the second, she tells us that he took her to a place some women never find. What else do you want? It’s a 3 minute and 45 second song, not a novel”.

    One of the others commenting was Paul Dennis who gave it a B+ although he thought it was more jazz or R&B than country.

    I’m curious to see your top 10. While my opinion of the TS, ZBB and EYB songs is not as high as KK’s, I think with a little effort you could find songs a lot worse than those.

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