CMA Awards: Bro-country vs. Bra-country

I can’t say whether the tides are changing in country music but if you use the recent CMA Awards as any sort of example of what country music is like today, you may notice who wasn’t there.

Remember back in the early to mid-2010s when “bro-country” became a thing? Artists like Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and others all had hit songs that were somewhat generic and formulaic with lyrics about drinking or dancing girls or backroad parties. Obviously there was success in that subject matter, but there was also a lot of pushback from traditional country music fans and well-known country artists.

Fast forward to 2019, the 53rd annual CMA Awards airing on ABC and featured no, not bro-country, but a heavy dosage of bra-country. The women of country music! Get it? Bra… women… women wear bras? It’s just a little diversion from bro-country to remind us all that bra-country is great! The CMA Awards was hosted by the amazing trio of Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood and if you didn’t get a chance to see the fantastic opening number, here it is.


I’m sure fans were happy to hear and see a lot of more traditional country being showcased, celebrating legendary women in country music, and not hearing the likes of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean… none of whom were in attendance.

If you want to read a full recap of the show performances click here.

Concerning those CMAs, I was really only surprised by a couple things…

  1. Garth Brooks winning Entertainer of the Year. Grady Smith says it best here…


Actually, that’s it. I was surprise by one thing. Garth. Over Eric Church and Carrie Underwood. Come on! Like Grady is, I’m also a fan of Garth Brooks, but it definitely seemed like he just swooped in and took the award away from others who genuinely deserved it.

I also don’t like Kacey Musgraves, there, I said it. But she’s a big part of the bra-country movement and if the future of country music is how the CMAs looked this year… I’m back in! I love most of the women featured on the show, plus I love Eric Church, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert (I almost dated her, you know), Dierks Bentley, and plenty of others.

Have a good weekend, y’all!

-Out of the Wilderness

2018’s Song of the Summer

Every summer there’s a handful of songs that become huge hits. But only one can be crowned Song of the Summer. Billboard even charts this exciting time in music going all the way back to 1958. Check out their list here. And if you’re curious like I was, the 1958 hit was “Domenico Modugno” by Volare. Ok, sure.

Anyway, check out a fantastic roll through time with all the hits, in under 4 minutes:


For time’s sake, though, here are the last few years…

2014: “Fancy” – Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX


2015:
 “Cheerleader” – OMI (more about the fun video here)


2016:
 “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” – Justin Timberlake (although Billboard suggests “One Dance” by Drake feat. some random artists)


2017:
 “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi feat. Justin Bieber


It’s interesting that 2 of the last 3 were remakes. Omi has an earlier version of “Cheerleader” before it blew up, and the same with Luis Fonsi and “Despacito.” And what’s really funny is that I like the originals better! Another quirk… 3 out of the 4 above (if you include the Billboard choice for 2016) are songs that feature other artists.

As summer approaches and we’re waiting for a monster hit to kick off the season (remember this one, anyone?), one may wonder if it will follow the same characteristics as any of these recent summer successes. It’s also important to note that last year when Billboard published their list of summer hit contenders (in April), “Despacito” wasn’t on it at all! Even though the song was released in January 2017, it didn’t make worldwide waves until the remix featuring Justin Bieber hit the airwaves a few months later, in April…. after the Billboard list came out.

The same thing could happen this year. There might be a song just waiting to explode, all it needs is the magical combination of timing and catchiness. Glamour has a list, which they tout will undoubtedly include songs you’ll hear all summer long. I, for one, have my doubts. Take a look…

“High Horse” – Kacey Musgraves (nope!)

“The Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey (nope! Peaked too early)

“Curious” – Hayley Kiyoko (nope!)

“All the Stars” – Kendrick Lamar and SZA (nope!)

“Lemon” (The New Remix) – N.E.R.D., Rihanna, and Drake (possible!)

“No Excuses” – Megan Trainor (possible but nope! Will be annoying after hearing it 10 times)

“1,2,3,” by Sofia Reyes, Jason Derulo, and De La Ghetto (possible!)

One thing the Song of the Summer seems to capture in recent years: it makes you feel good! I was going to say it also needs to be clean and/or family friendly, but that’s not true is it, Mr. Thicke? Remember his 2013 Song of the Summer?


Clean? Not even close. But endorphins? Oh, yes. That’s mostly why Glamour’s list is almost entirely a bunch of finger wagging nah ah’s. With the exception of “Lemon,” “No Excuses,” and “1,2,3,” none are overly catchy and hardly activate any euphoric sensations.

So this year’s Song of the Summer is “to be determined,” but I’d say watch out for artists like Post Malone, Drake, Justin Timberlake, or someone we’ve never heard of… yet 🙂

-Out of the Wilderness