We’ve got a soft spot for K102, but its starting to seem like most pop country songs are beginning to sound the same these days. Sometimes we feel like Bob (you know, from Bob’s Country Bunker) saying, “This ain’t no Hank Williams song.”
Turns out the overwhelming homogeneity to pop country music isn’t in ours or anyone else’s imagination. This hilarious video by Sir Mashalot puts six recent pop country hits together in a surprisingly seamless sequence.
Sir Mashalot is Nashville resident and aspiring producer Gregory Todd, and we think his video (which has been seen nearly five million times) is a labor of love more than a satire. Nashville has a long history of protectionism over what’s regarded as genuine country music, a genre which seems to be looking at its own extinction every couple decades.
We imagine one could produce a similar mashup of crossover hits from the 70s by outsiders like Canadian Anne Murray and Australian Olivia Newton-John who had #1 hits on the country charts. If you’re wondering just how resentful country artists were at the time, watch this bizarre moment from the 1974 CMA Music Awards, in which a doped-up Charlie Rich sets fire to the card reading the name of his successor as Entertainer of the Year, John Denver.
Country music returned to its roots for a while, with a traditional streak which dominated the charts and heartland airwaves in the eighties: artists like John Anderson and Emmylou Harris covered standards by stars of the Grand Ole Opry, and Ricky Skaggs revived bluegrass over the course of a dozen #1 hits. And then there’s the whole alt-country scene, with bands like Uncle Tupelo approaching traditional music from a post-punk background.
The best thing which ever happened to pop music was the FCC’s deregulation of radio under the Reagan administration, and the rapid proliferation of rural stations revived pop country, which had been kept alive by artists the likes of Alabama and Eddie Rabbitt throughout the 80s. Pop country is darn easy to listen to, especially when all the songs sound the same: by the time the six artists whose songs were used in Sir Mashalot’s video were born, most music on the country station was well on the way to becoming more or less indistinguishable from the music on the top 40 and adult contemporary stations again.