#30 best to 24th from the Top Album of 2017

9 Jan

#30-Jarod Nieman
This Ride is a perfect example of how much country has changed. The only thing that makes it different from other genres is singing with a twaing. The themes are much the same as any other type. Nieman is fun to listen to, and I like the stay-cation vibe he brings to the table.

Jared Nieman

#29 -Mary J. Blige

I like when Mary J. sings from a place of strength.  And she does just that in the aptly named Strength of a Woman.  In addition to the voice of empowerment for women, especially for women of color, I like the string instruments that are in the background.

#28-Luke Bryan

Fake country.  Still it’s a fun listen.  I watched a stand-up comedian (I can’t remember who) that hit the nail on the head when he accused country music of pandering.  The comedian was absolutely right when he said the current stars use certain buzz words:  Jeans, trucks, dirt road, etc. . .  to sell their album, even if that celebrity has NEVER lived that kind of lifestyle.  I think it’s true, and it makes sense since America has moved from an agricultural landscape to a mostly urban one.  But nobody wants to see a rich-ass musician crooning about hay bales when he, himself is wearing $800 boots that have known a day of physical labor.  Even if Luke Bryan is in that camp, I respect that he addresses the issue, right up front, in the first track.  He describes country as more of a mentality than a lifestyle these days, and I can buy into that idea.  I liked a couple of the songs that had a good hook.

Luke Bryan

#27-Nothing But Theives Good alternative.  The drum beats are kickin’!  He can hit some notes, but does it in such a chill way that it seems natural.

#26-Jack Johnson I WANT to feel Jack Johnson.  All the Light Above it Too is good, but it’s no In Between Dreams or Brushfire that will get mainstream air time.  The songs are cool, but you’re probably not going to be getting the lyrics stuck in your head.  I can appreciate Johnson’s vibe–his music personifies the laid-back, stoner, Hawaii-Hippy feeling/scene.  Jack Johnson has a message in his tunes that I can get behind too, and I respect his way of sharing it.  But to make the top of my list I need more–energy.

jack Johnson

#25-Zac Brown Band

Probably my favorite country album of 2017 is Welcome Home.  It has that twaing, is sentimental (without being saccharine or phony), and I think it speaks to a rural crowd.  “Real Thing” in particular is a stand out love song.

#24-Taylor Swift
Reputation ranks surprisingly low on my list, given how much of a Taylor Swift fan I have been in the past, and her mainstream status of undisputed queen of popular music.  Believe me, I can back up my opinion with more than the fact I feel like this album should be renamed, To Kanye, with Bitterness.  Though we will get to that after my primary point.  Does anyone else feel like Swift’s music has become formulas, statistics, physics, and mapping her way to sales and awards?  Yes, it’s irrefutable that Swift can write.  She can get together a catchy hook.  Obviously, she’s a self-promotional machine, almost unhuman with her uncanny ability to be on the forefront of the next sound-trend.  My question:  Is there any authenticity left in her process?  Or is it ALL promotion?  Get this big-name artist to feature.  Make that video with JUST enough skin to appeal to a male audience, but still support a good-girl image and not alienate female fans.  Drop this hint at that drama.  Release the singles and the album at the exact right moment.  I just have this bad feeling that Swift is all business.  I used to feel her emotion–and now it’s just strategy.  And the 10% emotion that’s left is bitterness and distrust.  I’m not in love with so, so much beef in the songs.  And you guys know how much I love a bitter song or a little hint of $hit-talking in a song!  But this is overkill. 

taylor swift fued

It seems like every song references Kanye in some way–or talks up some sexy relationship stuff, which to me sounds more like overcompensation, than actual love.  Taylor, get a grip and get over it already–we’ve heard these things, and you’re SO much better than this.  You are wasting your talent looking backward and unintentionally bringing attention to the wrong people, while you should be moving onward and upward.  It’s becoming overplayed.  Combine this uber-polished album with it’s super-poppy sound with too much rehashing of the same, tired story- and you get my opinion:  Maybe it’s somebody else’s turn to take the music crown. 

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