The short version: “REDNECKER” may not be the worst song in country music, but it’s certainly the dumbest.
- Writers: HARDY, Andy Albert and Jordan Schmidt
- Rating: 3/10
The long version: You know we’ve hit rock bottom in country music when newcomers are starting to replicate the C-list country artists.
As for newcomer HARDY (Michael Hardy), he’s just one of many examples of a songwriter who’s now finding his own footing in mainstream country music. After helping to write Morgan Wallen’s “Up Down” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Simple” and signing a deal with Big Loud Records, he’s now releasing his own debut single to country radio.
The first thought that comes to mind when hearing HARDY’s “REDNECKER” is simply, “no.” It’s too generic to call it one of country music’s worst offenders, but “REDNECKER” is certainly the dumbest, most pointless song to ever exist in the format.
The song’s production may be its “best” asset. It’s loud and obnoxious, and the mix of drum machines and real drums is certainly nothing new in country music. But the electric guitar driving the track admittedly has a somewhat distinctive, swampier edge to it.
That’s about where the compliments stop though. Vocally, it’s no surprise that HARDY found his home at Big Loud Records, because he sounds like a carbon copy of the aforementioned Morgan Wallen. The drawl is incredibly overexaggerated, and there’s a weird vocal layering to this that sounds obnoxious when placed against the song’s already cluttered production.
Granted, at least Wallen can be a clever wordsmith every now and then. The lyrical content of “REDNECKER” completely blows. It’s the latest song in a line of tunes that addresses how country the narrator is, only it’s somehow worse than any of those songs. At least Luke Bryan and Chris Young’s similar sounding tunes tried to say something deeper, and even Easton Corbin’s “Somebody’s Gotta Be Country” took a more interesting angle than this.
No, if we’re going to make any comparisons to other songs in this trend, it’s Walker Hayes’ “90’s Country,” another pointless song that winds up being more childish than profound.
The song is, no joke, a pissing match between the narrator and someone else over who’s more country. Whether the person on the other end of the line is Brantley Gilbert is something I’ll never know. Beyond the absolutely pitiful idea of “REDNECKER,” something that makes my critical cap short-circuit even more is that we never learn why the narrator is “rednecker,” as if it even matters. Sure, we’ll get some lovely details about him “pissing where he wants to” and how he “swims where he fishes,” but that’s the extent of it. It makes an egregiously stupid claim without any evidence.
Overall, “REDNECKER” is the textbook example of insecure authenticity, and the saddest part is that HARDY establishes this on his debut single, so there’s nowhere to go but up from here. This is one of those songs your friends will hear and say, “really? That’s the kind of music you like?” But “REDNECKER” is thankfully not an example of country music at its best. Instead, it’s an example of country music at its most embarrassing and pointless.