Mainstream country music gets an unfair rap as being universally over-polished and formulaic, a notion that artists like Kacey Musgraves and Eric Church obliterate every time they strap on their guitars. But there's a granule of truth to the stereotype, and a particularly damaging subgenre -- known as "bro-country" -- is lending it far too much credibility right now.
Courtesy of the label
Booze, chicks, jacked-up pickups, extreme redneck sports, spring break -- artists like Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and even Blake Shelton are leaning way too heavily on such themes in their music these days, and the entire trope can be summed up in one word: douchey. Yet bro-country isn't the only brand of 'baggery currently afflicting Nashville. No, douchebags are a diverse lot, and here are the ten biggest 'bags currently cranking out (s)hits in Music City today:
10. Toby Keith
Drinking has long been fertile fodder for country songs. But for Keith, who has devoted entire concept albums to the topic, it's too often the only fodder. His lyrical over-reliance on the bottle is at least partially responsible for spawning bro-country, and Keith also bears a heavy burden for souring the Dixie Chicks on country radio (and vice versa), a setback from which Nashville's female insurgency is only now recovering.
Courtesy of the label Toby Keith
9. Charles Kelley
He seems like a sweet, goofy guy, but sounds like supremo-'bag Michael Bolton, and is in a trio with "Lady" in its name. There's no place for the sort of soft-rock sheen Kelley brings to twang's table; it's high time Hillary Scott ditched the dudes and made Lady Antebellum all about the Lady.
Courtesy of the label Charles Kelley
8. Dan + Shay
This douchey duo is managed by Belieber in Chief Scooter Braun. That's the only argument we need.
Ram Country Dan + Shay
7. Garth Brooks
Brooks admirably took a decade off in his prime to focus on his family, but we still can't get the Chris Gaines debacle out of our head, nor can we entirely dismiss it as the reason for Brooks' "retirement" in the first place.
Courtesy of the label Chris Gaines/Garth Brooks
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