Monday, June 9, 2014

Crimes Against Music: "Wanted Dead Or Alive" Cover

I will come right out and say that in general, I loathe country music. The nasal twang, repetitive topics (trucks, beer, having sex in the woods, acting like an ignorant hillbilly), and moronic lyrics grate on my last nerve. This has made growing up in the South difficult at best (to say nothing of dating).

There are a few select artists and songs in the genre that don't make me want to jab the mute button. Zac Brown Band was on their way to becoming acceptable to me thanks to their recent hits "Sweet Annie" and "Knee Deep." Then this happened...

On the surface, Zac Brown teaming up with ex-Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora seems like a failsafe idea. Zac Brown almost immediately messes up one word of the lyrics. On its own, that would be forgivable. Richie Sambora (who of all people should know how to perform this song) screws up the tempo when he sings the second verse. He's one of the best guitarists in the business, but singing, well, he should leave that to someone else. As for Zac Brown, this song for whatever reason is ill-suited to his voice and musical style.

I have to question whether the crowd cheering so wildly is: a) completely drunk, b) tone-deaf, c) have somehow never heard the original, or d) all of the above.

Covering a song from another genre is something that generally never goes right for country artists, though it can work well in reverse (example: All-4-One covering John Michael Montgomery's ballad "I Swear"). I must (grudgingly) give props to Taylor Swift for her cover of "When Love And Hate Collide"; lyrically, it's in her wheelhouse and she brought the Southern lilt to it without mutilating the original. 

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