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Bret Michaels Is the Father of Modern Country Music

country star

country star

Recently while scanning commercial radio stations in America’s heartland, I heard Poison’s “Nothin’ But A Good Time” on classic rock, then Brantley Gilbert’s “Bottoms Up” on a contemporary country station. Thematically, there wasn’t much difference, although no modern country act would admit to financial struggles. While Poison spent their money on “women and wine,” Gilbert instructs his “pretty little mama” to “find a keg and fill ya cup up.” Dumb party music has switched genres.

There was a popular YouTube video of 2013 country music that bemoaned the current tired themes – the obligatory pickup truck (a crossover from rock music’s sports cars), the hot “little girls,” and the glorification of alcohol. Kurt Cobain may have kicked Poison and Warrant off the radio in 1991, but their legacy remains.

For a traditionally conservative music, the objectification of women is a bit surprising. I guess the object of Chase Rice’s affection should unabashedly blush when instructed to “get ya’ fine little ass on the step” or we can admire how clever Florida Georgia Line is when they refer to a lady’s “sugar shaker.” In modern country music, a woman is not to be admired for her strength or (heaven forbid) intellect, but the highest possible compliment is about the way she fits into her blue jeans.

In traditional country music, alcohol was equated with sin or heartbreak. However, these days, celebrating the “good stuff” is another checklist item for your country party hit. When transitioning into reflective posturing mode, Thomas Rhett wonders what it would be like a drink a cold one with Jesus. In one sense, we might be able to applaud that drinking alcohol is no longer considered intrinsically immoral in our society. But, I’m not sure how healthy it is to mix keg parties with Chevy Silverados.

If this sounds like an old man “get off of my lawn” piece, please note that I felt the same way about the fatuous pop metal of the 1980s, when I was a much younger man. Country music has gone through bad phases before and hopefully some substantive mainstream artists are waiting in the wings, waiting for the current good times to turn into a hangover. Let’s just hope we don’t have to go through a country grunge movement first.

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