Tim McGraw, along with his wife Faith Hill, was the heir to Garth Brooks’ legacy and continued his process of corrupting the country genre into Pop-Country, but unlike Brooks, at his peak he did it rather better than most of his imitators. That said, any relevance he ever had disappeared nearly a decade ago, and he’d been running on autopilot for years at this point. This song is another overblown Southern pride anthem laying claim to a legacy the singer has no right to, not that different from Easton Corbin’s “A Little More Country Than That” or Billy Currington’s “That’s How Country Boys Roll”, and while it escapes both the blasphemous arrogance of the first example and the unintentional comedy of the second, it’s still unable to back up its attempted associations and full of references to better musicians from decades earlier. If you really want a Southern pride anthem that actually makes its subject look good, stick with Roger Miller’s “South”.
Three Days Grace started out as a noisy Alternative Metal band (their fans get mad if you use the word “Nu-Metal”, but that’s essentially what they were), but on this album they began to move more in the direction of post-Grunge Hard Rock. In contrast to the depressive anguish that dominated their earlier songwriting, this is a highly positive, defiant and even inspirational track about rejecting negative influences and forcibly taking yourself to higher and better places, and it makes for a decidedly nice change from their usual stuff.
For someone who started out as an apparent product of nepotism, Janet Jackson has had a surprisingly consistent and distinguished career, and this was the best thing she had recorded in years at the time. As far as I can tell, the fact that this song’s release coincided with the death of Janet’s famous brother was entirely coincidental, but intentionally or not, it ended up serving a tribute, and to be honest, it’s a pretty respectable one.
Bionic is easily Aguilera’s worst album to date, but this scorchingly bluesy ballad is easily the best thing on it. It sounds more like it belongs on her previous album, the masterpiece Back To Basics, and Aguilera sounds almost in tears performing it.
This band is the most pathetic bunch of impostors ever to wear the genre label of ‘Indie Rock’. There are other Indie acts that are essentially conventional under a thin ‘alternative’ veneer (the Neon Trees, for example), but these guys are to Indie Rock what Nelson is to Heavy Metal. This song isn’t as annoying as their first hit, “That’s Not My Name”, but it’s still pretty forgettable.
This was the Wanted’s first hit in England, a couple of years before they crossed over to the U.S.. It’s a more ambitious, complex song than “Glad You Came” or “Chasing the Sun”, with a melody sampled from Coldplay’s “The Scientist”, a really memorable string accompaniment, and a poignant and surprisingly clever lyric. It certainly demonstrated their enormous potential and made it quite clear from the beginning that they were more than a standard-issue boy-band.
This is the group that originally sparked the current Boy-Band revival, which is reason enough to hate them to begin with. They’re basically a bunch of jackasses who think they’re cooler than they are, trying to do Boyz II Men-style R&B while having no idea how obviously they can’t pull it off, and this sappy, whiny ballad, which would have seemed dated long before its release, is a vintage example of their style.
This song has one of J.R. Rotem’s best productions, reminiscent of his work on “In My Head” and “Ridin’ Solo”. Unfortunately, this song is part of a particular brand of 2000s Teenybopper pop modeled on Nine Days’ “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”, and like most of those ripoffs, it has all of that song’s bad qualities and none of its good ones. Also, Jordan Witzigreuter is an almost unbearably feckless and whitebread performer (not to mention that there’s something inherently annoying about a solo singer who calls himself ‘The Ready Set’). Granted, Jason Derulo’s not much better, but Derulo’s lack of personality somehow makes him easier to ignore. This is a brand of teenybopper garbage even worse than the stuff we had to deal with in the 2012 Teen-Pop boom, and the good production ultimately can’t save it.