When it comes to country music, I’m not a hater. While my tastes generally go for artists that aren’t played on the radio like Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum, and K.D. Lang, I do have a weakness for a lot of popular female country artists like The Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert, and even some songs from Sara Evans. While they don’t do it for me, I understand why Rascal Flatts are so popular, as they know how to write really hooky songs, with just a hint of a twang. What I have no understanding of is the massive popularity of Kenneth Chesney.
While most non-country fans have little knowledge of the guy, the argument could be made that Chesney is currently the most popular musical artist in the US. During 2007, only The Police sold more concert tickets than him. Every one of these shows was a sell-out. His records not only dominate the country charts, but they wind up in the Top 10 on the pop charts, as well. It is all one big mystery to me.
If you are not familiar with his work, Chesney conveys this Jimmy Buffet-type vibe…if it was recorded by Nashville session players. This doesn’t sound too promising, does it? Well, it isn’t. The music is dismal, the lyrics are hackneyed. The same can be said for Buffet, but I kind of understand some of his success, as there is a sense of humor in most of what he does. Chesney has a lot of that weird Garth Brooks-like intensity on-stage that comes off very unnatural. (Let me note that Brooks has written a dozen songs better than the best of Chesney’s, so I understood most of his appeal.)
Another guy that I have little understanding of his music’s popularity, Tim McGraw, at least has a great backstory, as being the love child of former baseball star (Tug) and being married to a gorgeous country music star (Faith Hill) definitely helps the marketing of his career. On the other hand, Chesney is a small in stature man, with a mysterious dating history and a predilection for wearing puca shell necklaces. Not the list of factors that you would think would make you a Country music sex symbol. Don’t tell this to his female fans, though, as they swoon for the guy. Not for a second do I have any idea why Renee Zellweger would bounce from one of the great musical artists on the scene today (Jack White of the White Stripes) to marrying Chesney. Not surprisingly, the marriage was anulled after a few months, as the bride and groom must be first class loons to have gotten hitched after knowing each other for less than 4 months.
Honestly, I just don’t get the career of Kenny Chesney. His most famous song is titled, She Thinks My Tractors Sexy. Here is a guy that has won the American Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award for the past 4 years. Sure most of what is played on country radio is crap, but how is it that a guy whose best quality is that he looks good in a sleeveless t-shirt can own this award? If having a good tan was the key to success in life, don’t you think George Hamilton would have been in all of The Godfather movies, instead of just 3rd one?
Please Explain Kenny Chesney.