|I love this album art.|
Before long I had exhausted my interest in radio. I was impatient with the way a song would enter the charts in the top 40 and then spend months ascending to the top and then hovering around the top 20 for months still. I was disappointed by the choices in singles now that I was hearing whole albums; I'm still upset at Brooks & Dunn for not releasing "Go West" and think Montgomery Gentry should have released "Lie Before You Leave." And that wasn't even accounting for all the interesting music that mainstream radio outright refused to play, such as the talented singer/songwriters Bruce Robison and his brother Charlie. Radio became like a T.G.I.Friday's special where the restaurant didn't allow for substitutions. I might like the grilled chicken breast, but I can't stomach the jalapeño sauce and what difference does it really make to them if I prefer mashed potatoes to green beans? It's been years since I voluntarily listened to radio, and I don't miss it in the least.
|The last A.J. album I liked.|
Part of the problem is that too many mainstream artists have quit recording art and have instead been contributing to Republican campaign tours. The most offensive in the lot was a single by Darryl Worley released this year, "Keep the Change." The song wants to be critical in a Merle Haggard way, but it fails completely. It's nothing more than bumper sticker jingoism, and the subject matter deserves better than that. Worley decried that radio wouldn't support it because it was "too controversial." That doesn't allow for the fact that maybe--just maybe--someone could hear the song and just think it sucked. It's a shame, too, because I loved his first two albums. "Sideways" was fun; "A Good Day to Run" was an anthem for me in 2000 and "I Miss My Friend" kills me every time I hear it. Worley should decide if he's a recording artist or a politico and stick to one or the other.
I know there's still interesting stuff being recorded. This year I took a chance on Dierks Bentley's Up on the Ridge and loved it. Likewise, I adored Chely Wright's Lifted Off the Ground, produced by Rodney Crowell. It's an album for grown-ups who don't need to be spoonfed ringtones every forty seconds. I was pleased by Joey + Rory's Album Number Two, which I found sincere and familiar like comfort food. But I have to say, when I look over the list of this year's releases there really aren't many that I even want to hear. Part of it I'm sure is that my taste, like anyone else's, has evolved and isn't the same as it once was. Still, it seems like it's harder to find the good stuff.