A quick disclaimer before writing this article. I'm not a country music fan. Let me rephrase that. I'm not a "Pop Country" music fan. Give me some old school country music like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, John Prine, Dwight Yoakam, and Leon Russell and I'm fine. Love it. I'll even spot you the early 90's. Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and even Alan Jackson. I'll listen to it. But something happened in recent years. Country music has melded itself with pop music and the result (in my opinion) is not good. The result is too often "jacked-up trucks and cold beers on a summer night, and some girl wearing jeans that fit too tight." If I inadvertently plagiarized multiple country songs (I think I did) with that last line, I'm sorry.
My wife and her friends listen to country music all of the time, and they love it. But to me, there's a formula to it. The melodies. The lyrics. They all begin to sound exactly the same to me. And apparently I'm not the only one. A guy who posts under the name "Sir Mashalot" (real name Gregory Todd) thinks so too.
Sir Mashalot says he is an aspiring songwriter in Nashville who can't seem to get a bite from the "gate keepers" of Country music. However in listening to the radio he noticed a lot of similarities between many of the "hits." So he created a little experiment to see if what he was constantly hearing on the radio was actually the same song over and over, just sung by different artists. Turns out, he wasn't far off.
Sir Mashalot told www.savingcountrymusic.com, “My inspiration started when I heard Parmalee's ‘Close Your Eyes' several months ago. During the chorus, I started realizing it had an almost identical melody/music bed as Blake Shelton's ‘Sure Be Cool If You Did.' So I imported them into Pro Tools, tweaked the key and tempo to line them up, and wahlah- turned out they really were the same song! So I overlapped them together and sent it out to a few friends, thinking it was an interesting exercise.”
But Todd didn't stop there.
“Then, while driving in my car over the next couple of weeks, I started hearing one song after another which I was certain would fit perfectly into the original mashup," he continued telling the website. "First ‘Chillin' It,' then ‘Drunk On You,' then ‘This is How We Roll,' and finally ‘Ready, Set, Roll.' Each time I heard one, I would race home to plug it into the original pro tools session and yep, another perfect fit. Originally, I had all 6 songs overlapping, start to finish, but the more I listened to the lyrics, the more it occurred to me that it wasn't just the music and melody that flowed together, but the actual lyrical content. So I presented myself with the challenge to create a singular, coherent story line using different snippets from the 6 songs. It took me about 2 weeks for that part of it.”
Many of the songs Todd used were apparently written by the same writers according to many comments on the video.
Now as much as I appreciate and agree with the man who put all of this together, I'm confident it won't change my wife's mind, her friend's minds, the minds of the thousands of people who flock to Watershed at The Gorge every year, or the millions of people who buy the music, but it is interesting to say the least, and certainly lets me know that I'm not crazy when we're driving around and I say, "didn't we just hear this song like five minutes ago?" If the formula works, why change it? Most people I bring it up to say they notice it, but they just don't care. They like something they can easily tap their foot and sing along to.
To be fair, this isn't only exclusive to country music. There's pretty much a lack of creativity in all pop music. Some artist or entertainers write the same song twice, replace the words and expect us not to notice. Listen to Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" and "Beg For It" and tell me with a straight face that the chorus isn't exactly the same, just different words.
But hey, maybe it's all in the ear of the listener. My wife would tell you some of the music I listen to sounds the same. But if you love music, and you're digging what you're hearing, then let your flag fly! I'll always side with creativity and originality, which means I won't be listening to the radio anytime soon.
Do you notice this in music today? Does it affect what you listen to? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page, KHQ LOCAL NEWS.