Saturday, August 14, 2010

Is Country Music Eating Its Young?

Nashville Skyline

Nashville Skyline

(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

You know, this has probably been the thinnest music summer I can recall since maybe 1997 or so. Strong songs and albums are as rare as 75-degree temperature days. And there's been a lame competition to capture the even lamer title of "summer anthem" song, and I'm sure you've heard all of the contenders.

Consider summer songs themselves. They've been traditional songs of joy. Summer songs by artists and groups such as the Beach Boys were authentically fresh and original and inspiring. Those songs instilled your life with an infectious joy.

There is something particularly loathsome these days about summer song campaigns, about carefully-plotted and industry-crafted and audience-researched songs that purport to be happy summer songs, patched together purely for commercial reasons.

But that same approach may apply also to the recent trend to target young audiences by focusing on signing and recording young, attractive women and even girls, as well as young, attractive duos and trios and quartets of young, attractive males and females. After Taylor Swift taught Nashville that a young -- mostly female -- country music audience actually existed, there's been an almost door-to-door search for the Next Young Thing.

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