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.