While not reinventing the metal wheel, 'RADIO SONG' really is a breath of fresh air in the country landscape.
Quietly behind the scenes of some of country music’s biggest hits of the 2010’s by the likes of Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, and Morgan Wallen, HARDY (aka Michael Wilson Hardy) has since stepped into the spotlight on his own with his 2020 debut album A Rock.
Subtly combining fairly standard country fare with his love of rock music, his new album The Mockingbird & THE CROW takes that interweaving to a higher level, with the sprawling 17-track release featuring both styles in each half. However, it is RADIO SONG, featuring metalcore giants A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon on guest vocals, that takes the One Beer hitmaker to his most surprising yet.
Lyrically, RADIO SONG sees HARDY contemplate on his perhaps rather generic country radio hits in the past, admitting that he “gotta make ’em tap their feet or I’ll lose my record deal.” He then displays in full view the various conventions that have become omnipresent in the country scene in the last decade: trucks, “hot girls”, beer, and a catchy, yet knowingly-generic chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in any Florida Georgia Line album. At this point, all seems pretty standard for a country ‘radio song’. Subsequently, a switch-up sees Jeremy take vocals as he belts a glorious “f*ck” before a brutal guitar-filled metal pounding is unleashed on the listener. The format then repeats before McKinnon returns for a longer, harsher breakdown laden with f*cks aplenty.
Only pushed as a single on streaming platforms’ rock-oriented playlists, although understandable, it’s a shame that HARDY’s label didn’t have the guts to test this single amongst their standard country listeners. However, HARDY is ultimately one of the biggest country stars of the moment, with The Mockingbird & THE CROW predicted to debut at #3 on the Billboard 200, and so it is a testament to his artistic integrity that he is willing to perhaps alienate some of his listenership while taking aim at the stale country scene’s tropes. Admittedly, as a metal song, it really doesn’t do too much out of the ordinary, and the novelty certainly wears off on repeated listens. However, it’s ultimately a lot of fun and combines the two genres in such a fresh way that is not apparent from any other artists.
RADIO SONG, featured on The Mockingbird & THE CROW, is out now via Big Loud Records. Check it out here: