Contact Us

Newsweek Slams Contemporary Country

“Murder on Music Row: Taylor Swift? Cute little kids? What has happened to country?”

That’s the headline of a Newsweek.com article written by Steve Tuttle, who is fed up with contemporary country music. The author doesn’t specifically call out Swift as a singer he’d rather not listen to. But he does take quite a few other stars to task, starting with Rodney Atkins and his huge hit, ‘Watching You.’

“‘Watching You’ tells the gritty tale of a little boy making a mess of his McDonald’s Happy Meal after his daddy hits the brakes too hard … It makes me turn bright red with shame every time it comes on, which is often, because it was Billboard’s No. 1 country song of the year in 2007,” Tuttle writes.

Tuttle sites legends like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and George Jones as true country musicians who oftentimes lived out their songs. But he argues that today’s country prioritizes looks over lyrics.

“The nominees for Vocalist of the Year will be dressed in skintight, revealing tops, some with long, flowing blond hair and deep golden tans … And that’s just the men,” he wrote in a prediction of the ACM Awards broadcast last week.

2009 ACM Awards Red Carpet Photos

    Singer Kellie Pickler arrives at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Jason Merritt, Getty Images

    Marisa Miller arrives at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 5, 2009.

    Jae C. Hong, AP

    Singer Martina McBride arrives on the red carpet at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Frazer Harrison/ACM2009, Getty Images for ACM

    Musician Taylor Swift arrives at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Jason Merritt, Getty Images

    Singer LeAnn Rimes arrives on the red carpet at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Kevin Winter/ACM2009, Getty Images for ACM

    Singers Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough arrive at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Jason Merritt, Getty Images

    Musician John Rich arrives on the red carpet at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Frazer Harrison/ACM2009, Getty Images for ACM

    Singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Jason Merritt, Getty Images

    Actress Nicole Kidman and Musician Keith Urban arrive at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Jason Merritt, Getty Image

    Singer Carrie Underwood arrives at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand on April 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Jason Merritt, Getty Images

soKe.flace(‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009′, ’476′, ’600′); var uid = new Date().getTime(); var flashProxy = new FlashProxy(uid, ‘http://www.aolcdn.com/_media/modtools/kit_swfpublisher_javascriptflashgateway.swf’); var flashvars = {}; try { flashvars.lcId = uid; } catch (Exc) { }; try { flashvars.targetAds = ‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009′; } catch (Exc) { }; try { flashvars.omniture_tracker = ’0′; } catch (Exc) { }; try { flashvars.adrefresh_wrapper = ’1′; } catch (Exc) { }; try { flashvars.appConfigURL = soKe.fv(‘http://xml.channel.aol.com/xmlpublisher/fetch.v2.xml?option=expand_relative_urls&dataUrlNodes=uiConfig,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=551576&pid=551575&uts=1239899001′); } catch (Exc) { }; if (typeof(screen_name) != ‘undefined’) try { flashvars.userName = screen_name; } catch (Exc) { }; var params = {}; try { params.wmode = ‘opaque’; } catch (Exc) { }; try { params.menu = ‘false’; } catch (Exc) { }; try { params.bgcolor = ‘#d2d2d2′; } catch (Exc) { }; try { params.quality = ‘best’; } catch (Exc) { }; try { params.allowScriptAccess = ‘always’; } catch (Exc) { }; try { params.allowFullScreen = ‘true’; } catch (Exc) { }; var attributes = {}; try { attributes.id = ‘outlet’; } catch (Exc) { }; top.exd_space.refresher.ads2Refresh(new Array( ‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009′, new Array(’93243970′,’300′,’250′,’0′,’I',’1′) )); top.exd_space.refresher.iFrm2Refresh(new Array( ‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009′, new Array(‘Placement_ID’, ’1435671′), new Array(‘Domain_ID’, ’1395767′) )); top.exd_space.refresher.mmx(‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009′, ‘http://www.aolcdn.com/_media/channels/ke_blank.html’, ”); swfobject.embedSWF(‘http://www.aolcdn.com/ke/media_gallery/v1/ke_media_gallery_wrapper.swf’, ‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009-swf’, ’476′, ’600′, ’9.0.115′, ‘http://www.aolcdn.com/ke/swfobject/expressinstall.swf’, flashvars, params, attributes); top.exd_space.refresher.launcher( ‘music-acm.award.carpet.2009′,{ dynamicSlide:[''], size:['456t'], photoNumber:['0'], title:['2009 ACM Awards Red Carpet'], numimages:['340'], baseImageURL:['http://o.aolcdn.com/photo-hub/'], imageurl:['http://www.aolcdn.com/photos-music/taylor-swift-nicole-keith.jpg'], credit:['Jason Merritt, Getty Images'], source:[''], caption:['Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler and more rocked the red carpet this year. See All ACM Fashions! >>'], dims:['http://o.aolcdn.com/dims/PGMC/5/411/271/70/'], showDisclaimerText:[''], disclaimerText:[''], CSS_Title:[''], CSS_Caption:[''], CSS_Disclaimer:[''], CSS_Container:[''], CSS_Border:[''], CSS_PhotoWell:[''], CSS_photoHolder:[''], CSS_Buttons:[''], CSS_BtnOver:[''], CSS_Scroll:[''], topMargin:['0,0,411,271,408,269,0,0'] } );


George Jones himself would probably agree. The Possum told The Boot in our interview last year that he was fed up with country radio neglecting the older traditionalists in favor of younger acts who may be getting by on their appearances.

“They won’t play any older artists, and the only thing that is tied to is good looks, I guess,” Jones told us with a laugh. “You’ve gotta be long and tall and have a cute little behind!”

In his Newsweek article, Tuttle names Lee Ann Womack as the only one of the five ACM Top Female Vocalist nominees who “actually sings country,” though he does admit that the others — Miranda Lambert, Heidi Newfield, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood — have talent.

The author’s next victims are Rascal Flatts and Garth Brooks, the latter of whom gets quite the backhanded compliment.

“I originally thought [he] was all hat and no cattle, surely the final nail in the honky-tonk coffin,” Tuttle writes of Brooks. “His pop-sounding megahits and his wacky flying over arena stages on a wire in his way-too-tight Wranglers made my skin crawl. Almost two decades later, and by today’s Rascal Flatts-ian standards, I consider him almost a modern-day Hank Williams.”

Has country music lost its honesty and grit? Has the genre turned into a survival of the prettiest? Tell us what you think below.

Read Steve Tuttle’s full article here.

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://theboot.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on The Boot quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Register on The Boot quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!