I get into these country phases suddenly when something triggers them. First, it was my grandfather's death in 2009 that set off an obsession (and, subsequently, at least $50 in music downloads) with country for months and months. Since that point, I go in and out of country phases, and the current one started when someone at work suggested that this Friday be "dress-like-a-cowboy" day and started blasting country music from his cubicle this afternoon.
Of course, it didn't help that the Country Music Awards came on tonight and some of my favorite artists sang (which resulted in several more music downloads within the past hour). So here's my low-down on the winners:
Taylor Swift: I admire Taylor Swift's songwriting ability and have two of her songs, but the girl CANNOT PERFORM LIVE. Seriously. Andrew and I heard her sing once on a TV show, and it was awful. As a singer, I have performed many times on a stage with a microphone, and I know how hard it is to stay in tune when the music is playing behind you and you're focused on performing well to a crowd. This is why I also have little sympathy for multimillion dollar artists who suck onstage. Anyone (OK, not anyone) can sound fabulous inside a recording studio with equalizers and headphones and a quiet, soundproof room. The real test is whether you can perform well under pressure, and in my opinion, she can't. So I disagree with her award as Entertainer of the Year. Give that to someone who really has pipes, like Carrie Underwood (and definitely not to Faith Hill, who also is terrible live and was not too great singing at the CMAs tonight).
Blake Shelton: I like Blake Shelton's voice, but unfortunately, two of his most popular songs are covers that ruined the originals: "Home," by Michael Buble, and "God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes. I mean, really? Both of those songs were amazing by themselves, and all Blake Shelton did was add a twang to them and slow them down. Artists who countrify pop songs really bug me (case in point: Reba's cover of "Because of You"). Don't get me wrong. I love a lot of covers out there. But if you're going to cover a song, it needs to either be better than the original or add some kind of depth and uniqueness to it. Sorry, Blake -- you did neither.
Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. I was planning on following up my rant about the artists I'm not big on with the country artists I love, but it's midnight and I'll regret it when I have to wake up in the morning. So, until tomorrow, friends! If you're a fan of country, please let me know! It's fun to discuss opinions with someone else since my family hates country. :)