Thursday, June 23, 2022
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‘Ready for Confetti?’ Not quite

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Ready for Confetti
Ready for Confetti

Country album is a major flop

I know I may not be particularly judicious with my reviews. Perhaps I am too critical of aspiring artists, but when I was handed this album, I was abstaining from the urge to implode from laughter.

I’ve seen a few albums in my day that I couldn’t help but mock. I’ve seen album artwork that made me raise an eyebrow, and album titles I found pretentious or desperate.

With “Ready for Confetti,” it isn’t the album artwork that seems comical.

Ready for Confetti? Is this guy serious? What genre is this? I was told I would be reviewing a country album, but “Ready for Confetti” sounds like it would appeal to five-year-old children eating cupcakes and trying to pin the tail on the donkey.

Is Robert Earl Keen trying to be funny? On the album cover, there is what appears to be a UFO or a large sombrero floating over the desert, releasing a torrential rain of confetti. What the hell?

I can approach any genre of music with an open mind, but Robert Earl Keen didn’t do himself any favors with the album title and the ambiguous floating object spewing confetti.

I never developed a taste for country, but with song titles like “Black Baldy Stallion” and “Lay Down my Brother,” I knew I was in for a real treat, because I love balding horses more than most things.

The first 10 seconds of the first track, “Black Baldy Stallion,” just consisted of guitar, but once Keen began to sing, I was quickly reminded of why I dislike country.

The guitar sounds fine. It’s actually interesting and refreshing since I never visit this genre of music, but it’s the vocals that make country intolerable. I don’t mean to slaughter the genre as a whole, because I’ve always been a huge fan of Dolly Parton, because she didn’t assault my eardrums with the typical whine and twang.

Keen, however, will whimper on with the emblematic country vocals, singing about things I don’t particularly understand.

In track two, “Ready for Confetti,” he literally sings, “Get ready for confetti, hey hey hey, get ready for confetti every day.” Sounds like Keen knows how to party. It also sounds like he’s devoid of an extensive vocabulary.

In track six, “The Road Goes on and On,” he sings about how “your horse is drunk.” Maybe I don’t understand the basic country jargon, but getting your animals drunk is generally frowned upon and not helpful to their overall health.

Musically, I’ll give Keen some credit. When I ignored the vocals or listened to parts of the album that didn’t have any singing, I was actually rather impressed with some of the instrumentation. In “Who Do Man,” track 10, there was an instrumental break with a pleasant piano solo feeding off basic blues scales, and I found myself enjoying this portion of the song.

I don’t mean to be so critical of the genre. Just because I don’t have a taste for it doesn’t mean this category of music isn’t credible. If you’re an avid country fan, you will probably find yourself enjoying his music and livid with me for my criticism.

What is important, as an arbitrary person giving a review of the album, is to cast aside my predisposed dislike of country music in order to produce a professional critique of the album as a whole and of Keen as a musician.

Keen’s voice could be more annoying. His lyrics probably couldn’t get any worse or elementary in their content, but the instrumentation and blend of the band is very impressive.

I actually liked track seven, “Waves on the Ocean,” since it wasn’t overbearing with its twang.

If you’re a country fan, give the album a listen and see how it compares to other artists in the genre. Or, if you’re simply looking for a laugh, it can’t hurt to look over the album artwork and relish its eccentricity.

mhartigan@unews.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why critique a country song with no prior knowledge of the genre? There’s tons of meaning in his songs- it’s kind of strange to make an article about it when you can’t provide anything else other than “it sounds bad.”

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