Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday Music Musings: Sugarland and Carrie Underwood

Jennifer Nettles really said this about Sugarland's new album?

I think it’s inspired a lot of conversation about ‘what is country music today?’ That makes me feel very proud to be a part of that kind of cultural moment.
I wouldn't be surprised if most replies to that question, in the context of the new Sugarland album, go something like, "Whatever country music is, it sure as hell ain't this shit." I sat down and listened to "Stuck Like Glue," the album's first single, so as to make an informed decision; and the only thing I can say that as bad as Sugarland had sounded before, this was a thousand times worse. I don't necessarily think that blending genres is a bad thing, but that only works if the two genres share some stylistic elements. (How else could Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings have pulled off "Midnight Rider"? It wouldn't have sounded nearly as good if the Allman Brothers had been part of, say, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.) Like CMW said, have they even been reading their own reviews? Good Christ, and people think DREAM THEATER is pretentious? I don't think James LaBrie or John Petrucci ever talked about their music the way Sugarland talked about themselves. Of course, they knew what they wanted to do and didn't go about shitting on a treasured genre the way Sugarland does either. But then I suppose Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are catering to the people who didn't like country music to begin with, as evidenced by this comment to the CMT story:
FYI, I've been to a great deal of concerts, and when artists do covers, generally the covers AREN'T country songs. Tim McGraw sang an Elton John song for crying out loud, so you can't use Sugarland's covers as a strike against them.
I don't even know where to begin with this. Most of the country concerts I've been to have involved the artists doing covers of country songs. For every Jo Dee Messina covering Huey Lewis and the News, I have seen six or seven George Straits covering Bob Wills and Merle Haggard. And yes I CAN use Sugarland's covers as a strike against them. I have done the same with other artists and I don't understand why it can't be used as a valid yardstick to measure just how "country" an artist is. You wouldn't see me covering Metallica or Iron Maiden if I considered myself a country artist. I wouldn't do the Eagles, the Doobie Brothers or Bad Company either.

And what to make of Carrie Underwood?
I’m glad people can find some happy by telling people what they had for lunch.
Find some happy. This is a mass communication major with an emphasis in journalism saying this, friend -- not just a mass comm major, but one who graduated magna cum laude. I must say, that doesn't speak well of her alma mater's communications programs.

(h/t Country California)