Chris Cagle is a modestly successful country singer who’s managed to chart a few singles since 2000. “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out” was a #1 hit in 2001. There’s absolutely nothing distinctive about him, just another cowboy hat who will forever be the guy who plays at festivals hours before the headliners go on. He has one achievement to his credit, however: his new single, “Let There Be Cowgirls,” is one of the World’s Worst Songs. With apologies to Jeff and Jason’s Mellowmas modus operandi, let’s live-blog it, shall we?[youtube id=”yBsETkLw8_k” width=”600″ height=”350″]
0:00: minor-key-flavored Southern rock acoustic guitar, nearly drowned out by the drummer, who is apparently possessed by the ghost of John Bonham.
0:23: “Aw, come on!,” dropped in for no apparent reason, followed five seconds later by “let’s kick this [unintelligible], boys!,” at which point some faux-Hendrix guitar comes in. From this point, most of the record has the approximate dynamic range of the dial tone.
0:44: Cagle begins to sing. Invokes the Lord in the first line. Retells creation story. Rhymes “rain” and “everythang.”
1:04: First appearance of the song’s main riff, rat-a-tat-tat. It’ll be back.
1:20: “Let there be cowgirls for every cowboy”: “strong as any man,” untamed (like a mustang),” “the heartbeat of the heartland,” “the salt of the earth,” “she rocks my world,” etc.
1:38: That riff again, and that crappy Hendrix imitation again.
1:52: Cagle goes on: “He made me back in ’68 / The first time I met her I was nearly eight / And she was 10.” I had to listen three times to figure out that the pronoun “he” refers to God. That he (Cagle, not God) rhymed “eight” with “eight” was obvious right away.
2:14: Riff again. “I saw her riding on a horse and fell in love so bad that it hurt.” In love with the cowgirl and not the horse, I guess. Repeat refrain with more riffage.
2:54: Cagle’s own video labels “badass guitar solo.” Ear of the beholder, son.
3:22 to 4:38: I gradually lose patience, much as one might begin to grow annoyed at being repeatedly nibbled on by a duck. Breakdown! Refrain! Riff! Shout nonsensical syllable! Riff again. “Come on!” “Whoo!” More alleged guitar badassery. Riff again! Whistle! (Whistle?) That goddamn riff again, and . . . fade out.
Apart from Cagle’s Louisiana drawl, there’s nothing authentically country about “Let There Be Cowgirls,” except maybe the horseshit in the lyrics. The acoustic guitar bits are sub-Skynyrd, and the guitar riff wouldn’t be out of place on a Rush album. It’s as if “Let There Be Cowgirls” were built entirely on focus-group research and designed to appeal to today’s twentysomething country fan. It’s remarkable how a genre that claims to prize authenticity so highly can produce something so phony.