It’s the unofficial start of list season here. As always, this is presented all in good fun and isn’t meant to be taken seriously – it’s satirical and only ironically truthful. If you have any entries you’d like me to add here, or have an album you’d like to see a blurb for (no promises, but I’ll try), leave a comment below or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh yeah, language warning:
Zach Bryan – American Heartbreak: You regularly quote lyrics from this album as if they came from the Bible itself and hated Ticketmaster long before Zach told you to, because literally everyone does. Seeing Zach live this year wasn’t just another show for you – it was a goddamn religious experience. Still, in truth, you most likely haven’t revisited this project in full since its initial release and couldn’t convince your friends to give it a try either, even despite your constant pleading. Either that or you’re one of the real ones who’s listened nonstop since its release, which equates to about four total listens at this point.
Zach Bryan – Summertime Blues: You haven’t revisited this either, but it’s understandable because Zach has already released 52 more singles, three more EPs, a box set, and a legacy collection since this dropped in, you know, July.
Bailey Zimmerman – Leave the Light On: You’re a former Morgan Wallen with either the conscience or black friends needed to settle for the copycat version of him henceforth.
Jason Aldean – Georgia: You’re not Maren Morris, and you laugh way too hard at your “I identify as non-Bidenary” bumper sticker, enough to where people make fun of you even more than they already did before. You’re one of those people who complains about the modern “participation trophy” culture, even though you’ve unknowingly been granted higher status all your life – simply because of what/who you look like – despite being thoroughly mediocre at everything you do.
Maren Morris – Humble Quest: You’re not Jason Aldean. In fact, you’re liberal as fuck and hop on Twitter to remind everyone at least three times a day (you don’t trust Elon either, but you’ll never leave). Even still, you regularly bitch about paper straws, both in private and to the Starbucks barista on duty.
Carrie Underwood – Denim & Rhinestones: You’re a lifelong Care Bear who nominated this out of sheer obligation, but you also knew this was the first album of hers where you couldn’t really threaten to mutilate someone or their family for saying this wasn’t her best work. You did it anyway and feel extremely guilty about it.
Hailey Whitters – Raised: You’ve lived in a sprawling metropolis for the last however many years but sometimes miss your home in the midwest. You don’t know if you really miss it or just the idea of it, and you’re not sure what that’s supposed to mean either.
Billy Strings – Me/And/Dad: You were shocked to find out Bill Monroe is not Billy Strings’ dad. Plot twist: He’s been dead for 26 years. No matter; you knew someone with a last name like “Strings” had to pop out of the womb with a banjo in one hand regardless, like a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled.
American Aquarium – Chicamacomico: You’re a former punk who’s finally ready to shut the door on a dark past and settle down for good. And that works out perfectly, given that your voice gave out a long time ago from screaming the words to “I Hope He Breaks Your Heart” every night.
Vandoliers – Vandoliers: I fear you based on what I think you’d look like, even if I wouldn’t need to fear you based on what you’d actually act like. Please don’t hurt me.
Lyle Lovett – 12th of June: See above
Walker Hayes – Country Stuff: The Album: I don’t fear you but I do fear for your children, and all things considered, please stay away from me as well.
Something Borrowed, Something Blue: A Tribute to John Anderson: As a lifelong John Anderson fan, you don’t know who most of the people are featured on this album but are excited to dive further into that Sierra Ferrell woman’s work. And you’re looking forward to that Sturgill guy’s next album.
Luke Combs – Growin’ Up: You’re glad that there’s finally a country music superstar to represent the real, honest, hard-working people of this great country who really keep it going: the Pep Boys employees.
(In reality, you work in a cubicle and your name is Larry)
49 Winchester – Fortune Favors the Bold: You share way more in common with the Luke Combs fan base than you’ll ever care to publicly admit, but you’re more authentic because you actually do work at a Pep Boys.
Now! That’s What I Call Country, Vol. 15: You don’t exist.
Dolly Parton – Run, Rose, Run: You’re basic and went with the safe pick and probably didn’t even read the book associated with this album, but it’s OK, because not only is it new Dolly Parton music, she even used her witchcraft to get Ben Haggard to sing something.
Dolly Parton – Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection: You’re still basic, but at least you respect the classics.
Nikki Lane – Denim & Diamonds: You’re the fan who will hold the Hunger Games-esque competition with the Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton fans over who had the best diamond/rhinestones/denim album name collaboration, even though you know the Dolly fans will win by default. The Care Bears will definitely resort to some shady shit, though.
Lainey Wilson – Bell Bottom Country: Not everyone understands you, but you’re regarded by friends as a deep, brilliant thinker with some very idiosyncratic tendencies. If they get you, they think you’re the shit, but it’s a very small circle, and for as outgoing as you are, you’re kind of annoying.
Midland – The Last Resort: Greetings From: You think the neotraditional sound of the ’90s was “too pop,” and still contend that Garth Brooks ruined country music when he smashed that guitar on stage. It’s your favorite album of 2022 because you only listened to two albums this year, and that cassette tape of Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits you found on eBay doesn’t qualify for the list. – Submission from Kyle, of Kyle’s Korner.
Emily Scott Robinson – Built On Bones: You’re more familiar with Hocus Pocus than MacBeth (who isn’t?) but liked this anyway. But you still listen to Emily’s fire-scorched songs of religion and faith by comparing her voice to a warm blanket, which, like, yeah, it is, but listen to the beautiful poetry, for crying out loud.
Kaitlin Butts – what else can she do?: Regardless of who you were before listening to this album, in just under half an hour you’ve been transformed into a battle-hardened feminist angry and bitter toward an unforgiving world that doesn’t love you back. And the “In the Pines” cover has ideas swirling around in your head that you can only legally discuss with your therapist, which has put them in a weird ethical/legal pickle of how to now proceed.
Miranda Lambert – Palomino: Yeah, she’s been stuck on that whole “wandering spirit / lonesome troubadour” thing since, like, 2016 or so, but she’s your queen. And you’ll cut any bitch who doesn’t cry to “Carousel.” You may or may not have already. You’ve been legally advised to say you haven’t.
Ashley McBryde – Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville: You had a good time getting an insight into the world where “Goodbye Earl” took place and now get a kick out of walking up to strangers saying “Brenda, put your bra on, bra on, bra on.” And you’ve definitely replicated “Bonfire at Tina’s” with your friends. But for as high on life as you currently are right now, you know you’ll just as easily crumble into dust if Ashley ever decides to create a world around Lori McKenna songs.
Ian Noe – River Fools and Mountain Saints: Regardless of whether you do or don’t live in the heart of Appalachia, you haven’t seen what Ian Noe has seen. You don’t know what he knows. You don’t feel what he feels. You just don’t. He sings like the love child of Bob Dylan and John Prine. The man sang a song about cheerfully burning down a damn Christmas tree. His last album had songs about train accidents that left everyone dead and outlaw robbers who died for the people they love, and they were the happy songs. You may have your own buried bodies nestled away in some thicket, and maybe the authorities are afraid of you as well. But know that you are not on his level, nor will you ever be. “Favorite”? You don’t even understand what that word means.
Tyler Childers – Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?: You probably defended the third half of this album in a thesis-length comment on a Saving Country Music comments section at some point, but in truth don’t really understand what this album is supposed to be about either, and that Tyler must have been out of his ever lovin’
hand mind creatively to come up with the beep-boops and bops here. Regardless of where all roads lead, he’s still the GOAT when you’re with friends, and you know for sure that “Angel Band” slaps regardless.
Gabe Lee – The Hometown Kid: You reject the notion of the “good ol’ days” but still get wistfully nostalgic about your own personal glory days, which is understandable, given, like, everything going on right now. At the very least, you’re no Al Bundy, but you spend a little too much time arguing with Tyler Childers fans over who released the better “Angel Band” this year.
Kane Brown – Different Man: You really like that Country Universe fella and can’t stand that Farce the Music dude.
Orville Peck – Bronco: You found Orville to just be some weird fascination with Pony but now totally get it and are modeling yourself after him, running wild into the night like the free spirit you are. Your friends are jealous of you for embracing that sort of individuality and personal freedom, though they do wish you’d stop galloping around making horse noises.
Jon Pardi – Mr. Saturday Night: Your idea of saving country music is nasal vocals and not-so-subtle sexual innuendoes peppered into every song from guys you don’t exactly want them from … which, yeah, I guess there is a history to that.
Thomas Rhett – Where We Started: I don’t know, you’re Lauren Akins? I don’t even think you’d be Rhett Akins at this point. Maybe you’re a Taste of Country staff member. I really don’t know.
Joshua Hedley – Neon Blue: Yeah, I still miss Joe Diffie too.
Arlo McKinley – This Mess We’re In: You’re often regarded as stoic and quiet, keeping to yourself by design. Little do people know, however, that you’re quietly contemplating life, love, and the human condition through every waking second of this sorrowful life. They’ll understand someday, but you don’t really care if they don’t, either.