I’m no fan of modern country, but I would still consider myself to be a country music fan at times. “Bro Country” is about getting drunk and hanging out on trucks and that’s not country music to me. Country music at its best tells very clear, oftentimes sentimental, and relatable stories that resonate with people. There are country songs that are too sugary-sweet and too sentimental and those are terrible too, but country music (and I guess all music by extension) works when it connects without being too commercial.
But, when country music tries to be something artificial, that’s when things get really bad. The following are country music stars covering songs that they just have no business covering.
by Gunz n Roses
Cover by Pat Boone
Maybe it’s not fair to place Pat Boone on this list because in the 50s and 60s, he was considered a pop star rather than a legitimate country star, but his “No More Mr. Nice Guy” album of awkward covers is so bad that he deserves it. Also, he is in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, so I think that is close enough to country that he deserves this inclusion.
“Seven Nation Army”
by Jack White
Cover by the Oak Ridge Boys
Ugh. That’s about all I can muster for this one.
“Piece of My Heart”
by Erma Franklin
Cover by Faith Hill
This song is just blasphemy. While the Janis Joplin version of the song is probably more famous than the Erma Franklin’s version, both are infinitely superior to the crap that Faith Hill churned out. The Franklin version has so much soul and just washes over you while the Joplin version feels like she is going to beat the hell out of a man who has done her wrong. Faith Hill by comparison sounds like a hurt kitten. It’s rough.
“God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You”
Cover by Alabama
First, it was an N’Sync song first which is bad enough, but to cover it makes it even worse. And this is a perfect example of the meaning of a song changing depending on the speaker in the song. When Justin Timberlake sings this song, it’s a love song to a girl. It’s a terrible love song, but one nonetheless. When Alabama performs it, it’s from a dad to his daughter and there is something about this transference of intent to new subject that comes off as creepy to me. You may disagree and that’s fine, but surely we can agree that this is an awful cover.
by Fleetwood Mac
Cover by the Dixie Chicks
While this cover isn’t as bad as the others, what’s so offensive about it is that so many of my students think this is the original version. They have no idea that it is a cover. And the original is just so good that I think that’s a crime.
Also, the video for this song is really bad. I mean, REALLY bad. It makes mom jeans, marching band conductor jacket Faith Hill from the “Piece of My Heart” video seem good.