But even artists like the ones I mentioned above have shown a capability of writing and/or performing songs of quality and substance. I'll freely admit to enjoying Taylor Swift's "White Horse" and Sam Hunt was responsible for writing "Cop Car" which I found to be an incredibly unique song.
Examine who we may consider to be some of the worst artists of the crop.
- Sam Hunt doesn't have enough material as a performer yet to really judge, but I saw him as an opening act, and "Leave the Night On" is far from the worse material he has. He actually has a song called "You Just Want Your Ex to See" (say it fast and catch the double meaning). Still, we don't know how future songs of his may be received by radio, so it's still hard to set him as a standard.
- Taylor Swift can be taken out of the equation, largely because she's now admitted that her new material will be pure pop. She isn't trying to market to a country audience anymore, so if she's played on your local country station, we can largely blame her label for that.
- Jason Aldean has put out a few atrocities in recent years, but his early material ("Amarillo Sky," "Why," "The Truth") is strong and substantive. And he has had some very strong album cuts as well. Check out songs like "Back in This Cigarette," "A Grown Woman," "Back in this Cigarette," and "See You When I See You." He has a capability, even if he doesn't live up to it a lot of the time.
- Blake Shelton is an artist I know a lot of traditionalists like to pick on. And sure, you can point to songs like "Boys 'Round Here" or even the album cut "Buzzin'" off of his new CD. But largely, I personally like Shelton, and even when he's not at his best, his music (with the exception of a few choice songs) isn't offensive to the ears. Yes, he may have drifted away from his earlier material which leaned much more country, but I don't think Shelton is one who could be considered the standard of bad.
- Luke Bryan is the first one on this list that I would argue could give Florida Georgia Line heavy competition for that prize of being the "bad standard." He's put out some real crap, especially in recent years, and it makes me really long for the days when he showed he had real potential (check out a couple of songs of his called "Small Town Favorite Son" and "Five O'Clock Angel"). And every so often now, he'll put put something of merit ("Drink a Beer" was surprisingly good). But for every one time he sets himself up with a song like "Do I," he will knock himself down three times with a "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," a "That's My Kind of Night," and a "Play It Again."
- Florida Georgia Line. Oh boy, where to begin. I guess the best place to begin is to say that arguably the only exception to the rule of their bad material is "Dirt," which was a decent enough song. I could spend lines and lines of text here listing the bad songs by these guys, but you already know the list. From "Cruise," all the way to "Sun Daze," these two have been not just offensive to country music, but offensive in general. I'm not the first to mention this one, but seriously, their son "Sun Daze" contains the lines: "I sit you up on a kitchen sink, stick the pink umbrella in your drink." Disturbing, disgusting, offensive, and once you've heard it you can't unhear it.
At this point, I'm already comparing bad music to Florida Georgia Line. When considering my review for Blake Shelton's new album, I only considered one track ("Buzzin'") as being "Florida Georgia Line bad."
These two set the standard. Almost everything they've done has been pure garbage and a complete remorseless affront on country music.