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Let me get this straight: This is not a country song. I know
these days classifying whether something is ‘country’ or not is subjective, but
I’m laying down the authority on this one. I’ve never been a huge fan of Keith
personally save a couple of songs, because I always found them too country pop in
an overwhelmingly peppy way (and no, it’s not ‘country rock’ just because he
has an electric guitar). However, when it came to listening to this song, and
reading a fan’s comment, stating that this was ‘more country’, I pretty much
lost faith in the state of country music today.
I don’t know what this fan was comparing ‘Little Bit of
Everything’ to, but suffice to say I fail to align this song to anything
remotely country. Apart from that token banjo that keeps popping up in
everything laundry-list, the R&B beat, tinge of nasally autotune and
technological edits that only serve to annoy simply sound like pop music to me.
While the melody is sweet, it is bland; at best, this is cheery elevator or
store music. Having said that, I did count my blessings when the bridge
arrived, and the perfect conditions for a country rap presented themselves.
Keith almost hints at it before dropping back into actual singing (remember
that stuff?), and I breathed the biggest sigh of relief since Taylor Swift
stopped winning country awards. Speaking of which, the explanation for Keith’s ‘new
sound’ is clear: his new producer is Nathan Chapman, longtime producer of
Swift. Maybe with his renewed popularity ‘with the kidz’ on American Idol
sparked an interest, either from him or his label or both, in reaching that
market with creative output. Because I honestly can’t imagine anyone older than
the age of 21 taking this seriously as a great song, and frankly this is
ridiculous coming from a man in his 40s.
That brings me to the lyrics. There has been some backlash
already regarding issues of sexism, from lyrics such as “I want a cool chick
that’ll cook for me, and do what I want when I want”. Okay Keith, that’s nice,
but unrealistic if you look at the majority of women in the 21st
century, who are, you know, independent, and do what they like. Much like men
have for most of history. While the cooking aspect could be taken as simply “I’m
a unisex person who likes to be cooked for” (who doesn’t like to be cooked
for?), I think it’s naïve and brings up too many arguments, considering the
prevailing state of sexism, particularly in country music lyrics at this time.
Keith’s music doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
However, my main issue is this: What does it even mean? In
today’s market of frat boys and faux rednecks, using countryisms to sing about
a clichéd lifestyle they’ve never experienced, this stands out as even more stupid.
At least the songs in the country charts right now mean something to someone.
They may be stupid at times, or a false representation of the truth, but they’re
promoting a set of values, a way of life, and no matter how much I dislike them
they reinforce a Southern pride and unity that no-one can complain about. The
premise upon which country music is based is that the music must mean
something. It is designed to be about life and people and emotions, no matter
what that is or what it sounds like. This song doesn’t appear to have any of
that. The lyrics instead sound as if whoever wrote it got high, and threw a
load of slightly inane phrases together about how they were feeling at that
moment. Lines like “oh I know that I don’t need a whole lot of anything, I just
want a little bit of everything”, and “now I don’t need a garage full of cars,
but I’ll take a whole box of Cuban cigars”, and “get my groove on”.
The problem is, if this is considered ‘more country’ to all
intents and purposes, how far have we got from the origins of the music? Those
generally defending this song as country are young and have nothing to compare
it to other than the poor examples littered around mainstream country at the
minute. Let me tell you: This stuff is not the standard to judge all others by.
And until people start believing that, we won’t be hearing anything better than
this for a good time to come.
You can listen to 'Little Bit of Everything' here: