It’s been awhile since I’ve listen to country music radio, as I have been away from my immediate family for a while and have gotten all my music, country, and otherwise from different sources. As such, this piece may be a little out of date or perhaps a bit too little too late, but I still felt like writing about the cultural phenomenon that is Tim McGraw. I grew up listening to multiple eras of country music and something about McGraw always rubbed me wrong. So I compiled this list of things I dislike about Tim McGraw, trying to narrow it down:
1. Mcgraw’s voice does not sound particularly unique or even memorable (to me) and in no way stands out from any other male, radio-friendly country singer. Even McGraw songs (yes there are a few) that I like would have been just as good had they been sung by Kenny Chesney or any other of the interchangeable hunks in hat that came to dominate country music in the late 1990s and 2000s.
2. Despite numerous Grammys, and Academy of Country Music Awards, his tracks, from most of the last two decades still sound like they are backed by the same anonymous session musicians who backed every other hit country single during from same time.
3. His annoying habit of releasing album covers that prominently feature his chin.
5. His cornball, cliche-heavy or melodramatic lyrics:
“[I] Hang out with a rough and rowdy crowd, That don’t mean I don’t respect My mama and my Uncle Sam Yes sir, yes ma’am”
“I’m taking out the trash and I’m sweepin’ my floors. Crossin’ my fingers, and countin’ every kiss, Prayin’ that it keeps goin’ on like this…
Don’t know what it is ’bout that little gal’s lovin’, But I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.”
“There’s nothing that’s worth keeping me, From places I should go, From happyville to lovingland, I’m gonna tour from coast to coast”
6. The fact that despite the fact that he does not write his own material (and may not even have that much input into what he sings) he still has allowed himself to make a career out of songs that are either ridiculously cornball or tediously sappy.
7. “Angry All the Time” has to be the most depressing song ever. It sounds mundane, musically and has no substance to other than being depressing story of “what is left of a husband and a wife”. The fact that so many country fans liked this song and presumably relate to its dreary lyrics reflects horribly on the American people. Seriously, how many people out there are in stuck in the miserable relationships that they can’t get out of?
8. He comes off as the most manufactured of the manufactured. Every aspect of his image appears to be conspicuously designed by Nashville executives, from the glamor shot album photos, to the songs he sings, he ain’t no artist he’s a businessman. He has been cynically marketed as “Rugged good looking guy with a sensitive side” for most of the last two decades, and the general formula is rarely deviated from. The phase “We’re only in it for the money” comes to mind.
9. He did that awful cross over piece with Nelly.
10. He has this squeaky clean, conformist image as every other hit country singer, where even if does have a drink or two now and then we all know he is the biggest square ever. That is the image he projects, though I cannot say at how true it is. He is a rock star by all conventional understandings of the word, and I am sure he has had his rock star moments.
So there you go. The guy just strikes me as the pliable tool who has been the subject of decades old, cynical media campaign to peddle banal, formulaic mediocre, sap to the suburban proles… and not just a tool but the biggest tool in the land of the tools. Note this not a personal attack on Tim McGraw, who I am sure is probably a nice guy in person. It is just a critique of his professional output and public image, which something all public figures should be subject to. I will also point out that he has done some good charitable work hurricane victims, flood victims, and others with the money he has made from dumbing down country music. I am a bit leery of his stated political ambitions, though.