Channel Awesome
Am I the Only One

POP SONG REVIEW Am I the Only One.jpg

Date Aired
August 2, 2021
Running Time
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Todd plays "Am I the Only One" on the piano.


A pop song review

Todd: So, an interesting thing happened a couple of weeks ago.

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Aaron Lewis: Am I the only one

Todd (VO): Do you know who Aaron Lewis is? I'm gonna guess you probably don't or, if you did, you'd forgotten.

Video for Staind - "It's Been Awhile"

But you may remember him when I tell you that he was the lead singer of Staind, the nu-metal band that produced some of the most dreary and unlistenable rock songs of the early 2000s.

Aaron: And everything I can't remember

Todd (VO): [shudders] Anyway, what you may not know is that about a decade ago, his career...

Todd: ...radically shifted; he went solo and he went country.

Clip of Aaron Lewis - "Country Boy"

Aaron: I still live in the sticks where you wouldn't go

And a country boy is all I'll ever be

Todd (VO): He's only had some very minor success in Nashville and he hasn't really made any impact in many years, at least not until this last month when he released a song about, no joke...

Todd: the liberals are destroying America.

Clip of lyric video for "Am I the Only One"

Aaron: Am I the only one not brainwashed

Who thinks they're takin' all the good we got

And turnin' it bad

Todd: "Well, Todd, that sure sounds like it sucks. But why does that concern you? Shouldn't you be talking about [still shot of behind the scenes for the music video for "Bad Habits" by...] Ed Sheeran or someone, instead of this [image of Aaron holding a red cap] MAGA has-been? You're the pop music guy, don't you usually only talk about big hits?" Well, here's the thing.

Clip of Taste of Country

Narrator: If you've been scanning the Billboard Hot 100 chart, you might have noticed Lewis' name on the list.

Clip of interview with Aaron on Fox News

Brian Kilmeade: But you've gone viral, you're number one on Spotify. This song, everybody's sending it to their friends, everybody's listening.

Todd (VO): Ha, yeah, a [screenshot of Billboard Hot 100, with "Am I the Only One" at #14] top 20 debut for a song about how [shot of Billboard article: "Aaron Lewis Debuts Atop Hot Country Songs Chart With 'Am I the Only One'] the guy from Staind hates the left.

Todd: And for the record I'll be using "left" in an extremely broad sense so don't hit me with, like, "Oh, you're not really left if you've [image of people at...] gone to a Medicare for All rally less than twice". Spare me, alright? I just mean [image of...] the entire blue half of the spectrum. 'Cause trust me, this guy does not care about the distinctions. [image of Democratic presidential debate with...] Whether you supported Bernie or Biden, you hate America and you're destroying the country, according to Aaron Lewis.

Clip of Aaron Lewis live performance

Todd (VO): So how does this happen? How does a guy no one's heard from in years, performing in a genre he's never had much success in, how does he suddenly chart higher than Megan Thee Stallion and Maroon 5, even for just a week?

Todd: Well, it's actually a pretty simple explanation.

Clip of Fox News interview

Todd (VO): Basically, it's because the song was targeted directly to cranky, old conservatives, which is one of the few demographics that still pays money for music. And to be clear, it was all sales.

Todd: The song has zero radio play, minimal streams.

Clip of Fox News interview

Brian: But you've gone viral, you're number one on Spotify...

Todd (VO): Yeah, that didn't happen.

Todd: Fox News gets things wrong sometimes. Sorry to break it to you.

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): But it did do really well on iTunes, so maybe that's what he meant. And his label marketed it really well. They started promoting it right before the Fourth of July, it went viral with the Fox News nation. [clip of Spotify ad] And in a world where everyone can stream music for free, Billboard weighs it very heavily if a song can convince people...

Todd: spend actual hard-earned money on it.

Video for BTS - "Butter"

Todd (VO): This is how BTS fans have been gaming the system all summer. They can [shot of article: "The Buying Power Of BTS Fans Is, Once Again, Unrivaled In The American Music Industry"] mass-buy copies of the song because their price is so cheap, and thus push all those songs to the top. Well out of proportion to how many people actually like or are listening to the actual music.

Todd: There have been arguments about whether this counts [shot of APK News article: "ARMY stand up for BTS after group is accused of music chart manipulation"] as cheating or not. I'm gonna say it's not, 'cause...

Video for BTS - "Permission to Dance"

Todd (VO): ...people have been finding chart loopholes forever.

Todd: Also I'm not an idiot, and I'm not gonna get the K-pop stans angry at me.

Todd (VO): So, I'm just gonna say that Billboard's metrics just are what they are. According to them, BTS is the most popular artist in the country...

Todd: ...and for one week, Aaron Lewis had the fourteenth most popular song.

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): The week afterward, it promptly vanished. And his label is now trying to see if they can get it to catch hold in a more traditional way, but [screenshot of Billboard Hot 100 chart, with "Am I the Only One" re-entering at #93] so far it's only barely scraped its way back to the bottom of the charts. So, it's only a hit in the extremely technical sense, but it was enough to get it on my radar, so I figured I cover it. It's a fascinating case study into modern politics, the mechanics of the music industry, and...

Todd: Also, let's be real, it's a nice, easy target for a video. Honestly, maybe too easy.

Clip of NBC News coverage of House committee hearings for Capitol raid

Todd (VO): If my personal politics are not clear by now, I'll say my position again. [clips of Trump supporters protesting immigrants] In the year 2021, if you think the problem is, "the libs", you're a stupid asshole. [clip of "Am I the Only One" performance] And if you release a song about it and build a whole career and image around it, you're probably the biggest, stupidest asshole of all.

Todd: But you know what? I listened to plenty of stupid assholes. I don't have to agree with everything I listen to.

Clip of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing...

Todd (VO): I still sing along with "Sweet Home Alabama", even though I don't share its worldview at all.

Ronnie Van Zandt: Watergate does not bother me

Personally, I think Watergate would've bothered me a lot.

Todd: But I gotta remind myself of my job; I review music, not politics.

Video for Tom MacDonald - "Fake Woke"

Todd (VO): Like a little while ago, I was kinda sketching out a possible review of Tom MacDonald.

Tom MacDonald: Cancel culture runs the world now, the planet went crazy

He's this white rapper who charts sometimes, and his whole thing is how he "hates the SJWs." And I was collecting my thoughts about it, and y'know, writing it out, and...

Todd: ...when I was looking at it, I was like, "This is not me reviewing it as music. It's me debunking it."

Todd (VO): I was like, "Well, this lyric's wrong, and this is wrong, and this is wrong." It was just a list of things that offended me.

Todd: And quite honestly, that's not a video I would want to watch. It sounds boring and tedious in the exact same way that Tom MacDonald is boring and tedious.

Clip of Tom MacDonald - "Snowflakes"

Tom: Trigger warnings used to be on TV for seizures

And now they're everywhere to protect millennials' feelings

Todd (VO): His songs are essentially unreviewable because they barely even function as music. It's just a list of things that piss him off listed off as dully and artlessly as possible. It's preachy. Like, no one uses that word to describe the anti- woke squad, but it is!

Todd: It's fucking preachy! And goddamn if I'm gonna be making the same mistakes as the guy I'm reviewing!

Video for Aaron Lewis - "Endless Summer"

Todd (VO): So, speaking purely as a music reviewer... whatever else I'm gonna say about Aaron Lewis, as an artist, he is no Tom MacDonald. Because he is an artist, and not just a grifting panderer. He still seems to care about making music.

Todd: And believe or not, his country career is actually a little better than you might imagine.

Montage clips of Bon Jovi - "Who Says You Can't Go Home"; Darius Rucker - "Wagon Wheel"; Steven Tyler - "Love Is Your Name"

Todd (VO): Plenty of washed-up rock stars in the past twenty years have gone country. Some took to it really well. For others, it was just really cynical. It was a transparent marketing move to coordinate an aging audience.

Todd: But Lewis, I'm gonna say, is sincere.

Clip of Aaron Lewis interview on Broadway's Electric Barnyard

Todd (VO): He's very proud of growing up in the sticks, and... when people asked him why he switched from metal to country, "Was it like a marketing thing?"

Todd: He was like... "Nah, I'm just old."

Todd (VO): [highlighted quote appears...] I'm not some angsty kid anymore. I got kids of my own. I'm just not angry enough to make metal. Country feels more where I'm at."

Todd: I believe that. That sounds right to me.

Video for Aaron Lewis - "That Ain't Country"

Todd (VO): And coming from metal, being an outsider to music row, it lets him be more honest and edgier than mainstream country. [clip of Aaron Lewis performing...] He's got a song called "Northern Redneck", which is him being defensive about his Vermont roots.

Aaron: It ain't all about a southern man

'Cause we got outlaws, we got hicks

Todd: [shrugs] I'm glad someone said it.

Todd (VO): Like, I hate how country music acts like "country" and "Southern" are the same thing. Like, yeah, he's from Vermont, but he's probably more country than some Austin hipster.

Video for Aaron Lewis - "That Ain't Country"

He also has a song about how he doesn't relate to modern country, "smiley-smile, party all the time" bullshit.

Aaron: It's full of tales of good times and happy endings

My life ain't like that

So I'll keep listenin' to the old songs

Todd (VO): So, yeah, he's one of those, "I only listen to Johnny Cash" kind of country music guys, which...

Todd: You know... [makes jerk-off gesture]

Todd (VO): But he's also not some grinning, boyfriend country beefcake. Like, there's a place for guys like that. He's got some darkness to him that Nashville generally doesn't have.

Todd: So, I'm willing to give it a shot, even though I already know I'm not gonna agree with it.

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): Like, yeah, he hates the entire left, but maybe there's some common ground.

Todd: I'm part of the left, and just like every good card-carrying member of the left, I also hate the entire left. Seriously, I cannot stand a single fucking one of you. So, maybe there will be at least parts I can relate to. Why don't we listen?

Lyric video for "Am I the Only One" starts with a familiar melody...

Todd (VO): [singing] So lately, been wondering.

Todd: Oh, sorry. That was a...

Video for The Calling - "Wherever You Will Go"

Todd (VO): ...different terrible band from the early Bush era.

Todd: Anyway, go on. Let's hear the actual lyrics.

Lyric video for "Am I the Only One" starts again

Aaron: Am I the only one

Todd (VO): Okay, let me stop you right there.

Todd: I- I don't even care what's at the end of that sentence.

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): There's no reason at all to start a sentence with, "Am I the only one," unless you're a standup about to tell a joke, and even then, that's pushing it.

Todd: You certainly can't do it while you're trying to be heartbreakingly sincere.

Aaron: Am I the only one

Clip from The Big Lebowski

Walter Sobchak (John Goodman): Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?!

Todd: Yeah, spoilers, but uh, it's gonna be a very "Walter from Big Lebowski" kind of song.

Todd (VO): And to answer the guy's question: No, you're not the only one. You already knew that, you've pre-selected an audience you know already agrees with you. Otherwise, you wouldn't say it.

Todd: But anyway...

Aaron: Is it just me

Am I losin' my mind?

Todd (VO): So, so far, it's been very general and self-important. "Am I the only one? Is it just me?" It's not a great start. But I promised to give it a fair shot.

Todd: And if you ask me, "How can you like a song you disagree with?" Well, I can feel it if it at least connects to an honest emotion.

Todd (VO): This, "am I the only one," shit strikes me as very phony. But here's a part I don't think is terrible.

Aaron: I'll be damned

I think I'm turnin' into my old man

Hmph. Yeah, uh...

Todd: I know a guy who can help you with that.

Clip of Progressive insurance commercial

Dr. Rick: I can help young homeowners not become their parents.

Todd: But you know, we're all getting older. He...

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): ...seems to at least see the humor in it. I think it's kinda relatable.

Todd: I also think it's funny, 'cause...

Video for Staind - "It's Been Awhile"

Todd (VO): ...weren't, like, all of Staind's hits about his daddy issues?

Clip of Staind - "For You"

Aaron: To my father

Are my screams...

[laughs sarcastically] "Look at me! I guess I'm just turning into my dad." My dad, who I screamed at for three straight albums.

Todd: Like, that doesn't give you pause at all? [shrugs] Maybe you were right the first time. Just sayin'.

Lyric video for "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): Okay, yeah, at this point, the song isn't really that bad. It's just aesthetically unimpressive. Like, lyrically, he's puffed up his chest a little and gotten mad in some vague way.

Todd: Let's get to the real crap.

Aaron: Am I the only one, willin' to bleed

Todd looks taken aback

Or take a bullet for bein' free

Screamin', "What the fuck!" at my TV

Todd raises his hand as if to say, "I got nothing"

For tellin' me, yeah, are you tellin' me?

That I'm the only one

Todd: Where to even start?

Aaron: Take a bullet for bein' free

Todd (VO): "I take a bullet." Why don't we start there?

Clip of live performance

Aaron: Willin' to bleed

Like, let's be clear about where this tough guy act comes from.

Todd: Aaron Lewis was a sad, little kid.

Video for "For You"

Todd (VO): He was bullied all his childhood and through his teen years. That's where all those Staind songs about depression and misery come from. He wanted to [screenshot of article quote with the top and bottom sentences circled in red] join the military after high school. His dad, who actually had served in the Army, talked him out of it. He's given interviews about how much he regrets that.

Todd: How do you regret not being a [images of several miserable Army members on kitchen duty...] lowly Army grunt, [...and an audience throwing devil horns at a rock concert] when you're already a platinum-selling musician? I'm gonna guess that on some level, he's still internalized a lot of the bullying and he still feels like a wimp and a coward.

Video for Staind - "Outside"

Todd (VO): And furthermore, I imagine that his nu-metal success didn't do much for him internally. That it makes him feel like a pampered showbiz sellout with a bunch of whiny songs about his parents.

Todd: Nu-metal is not cool these days, and even when it was big, it was kind of a joke.

Video for Bowling for Soup - "Girl All the Bad Guys Want"

Todd (VO): And Staind, especially. I remember bands taking shots directly at them!

Clip of Saliva - "Click Click Boom"

Josey Scott: My mom and dad weren't perfect

But still you don't hear no cryin' ass-bitchin' from me

Like there seems to be on everybody's CD

He even called...

Todd: ...his metal career, "selling out" in his first country song!

Clip of "Country Boy"

Aaron: Been twelve years since I sold my soul, to the devil in L.A.

Todd (VO): It's really transparent. He's rebranded himself as this "living off the land" mountain man because it just makes him feel cooler.

Todd: So, all this singing about taking a bullet for America, like, lets' call it what it is. [image of angry guy with an Apple laptop along with the caption...] It's keyboard warrior shit. Like switch out keyboard for a guitar I guess, but it's the same principle.

Clip of live performance of "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): It's puffed-up shit from an insecure man who's not gonna back it up and knows he won't have to. It's especially funny, 'cause [clip of BLM protests in Dallas] I'm pretty sure he's angry at the BLM protests, which actually were people putting themselves in physical danger fighting for their freedom from the government!

Todd: I said I wanted something honest, and this is the phoniest shit imaginable.

Aaron: Screamin', "What the fuck!" at my TV

Todd (VO): That I believe. That does sound like it happened. Probably a lot.

Todd: And I like how he doesn't think, "Oh, maybe...

Clip of Tucker Carlson Tonight

Todd (VO): ...the television is the problem here," but y'know, this guy doesn't think very hard.

Todd: But let's ignore the lyrics and get to the real point, which is... this sounds like shit.

Video for "That Ain't Country"

Todd (VO): Aaron Lewis has spent much of his new career talking up his redneck bona-fides, trying to prove that he deserves to be part of the country music world.

Todd: I grew up on country music, the new stuff and the classics. And lemme tell you right now... this man's a fucking dilettante.

Video for "Country Boy"

Todd (VO): I believe he's trying his hardest. I believe he is a country boy, I believe he likes country music. That doesn't make him a country singer.

Todd: I already pointed out the positives that he brings as an outsider...

Todd (VO): ...but it's very clear that he only knows one tiny subgenre of country music, and he can't even emulate that properly.

Todd: His nu-metal roots are just too obvious.

Montage clips of Seether - "Country Song"; Metallica - "Mama Said"

Todd (VO): Like, a whole bunch of these metal bands make their "country song" and it'll sound country-ish, but it never really sounds right. It's just not what they know how to do.

Todd: But they're not really trying to be country; Aaron Lewis is.

Clip of "Country Boy"

Aaron: 'Cause a country boy, is all I'll ever be

Todd (VO): [singing to the tune of "For You"] I'm a redneck. I'm a country boy.

Todd: Yeah, okay.

Todd (VO): Hide your eyebrow piercings with a camo hat all you want. It's just not you.

Todd: And if his dismal vocals were a problem in his other country songs, it's deadly here.

Clip of "Am I the Only One" performance

Aaron: I can't be the only one

Todd (VO): For this song to work, you have to believe he loves his country. I don't believe a guy who sounds like that loves anything. He's got no warmth to him, no charm.

Aaron: Screamin', "What the fuck!" at my TV

That's not the voice of a patriot, [image of stone...] that's a gargoyle that eats children.

Todd: But still, we're not really offensive yet. He just loves America. [shrugs] What's wrong with that? [pause] Well, why don't we let him finish his sentence?

Todd (VO): Come on, Aaron Lewis. Tell us what made you so angry that you had to scream, "What the fuck," at your TV? [pause] Riots? Socialism? Mask mandates?

Todd: Say it. I'm sure it's something we can have a reasonable discussion about.

Aaron: For my love of the red and white

And the blue, burnin' on the ground

Another statue comin' down in a town near you

Todd covers his mouth in shock

Todd (VO): Well, now we know. Now we know what he's angry about.

Todd: Statues comin' down.

Aaron: Another statue comin' down in a town near you

Todd: There is... no way you don't know this, but those statues coming down are...

Clip of CBS News coverage about...

Todd (VO): ...Confederate monuments erected in the 1930s as a statement against civil rights. That's why people wanna take them down now.

Clip of "Am I the Only One" performance

It's quite possible that Aaron Lewis is too fucking ignorant to know that, but even if that's true, who cares? It's well past time to ignore the "heritage not hate" argument.

Todd: And what heritage, by the way?! You're a [track listing for Sinner with track circled in red...] fuckin' northern redneck, remember?!

Todd (VO): If you're from fucking Vermont, and you're angry about Confederate statue removal...

Todd: ...there's really only one plausible reason.

Todd (VO): I really don't ever say shit this bluntly, but...

Todd: Uh, yeah, there's never gonna be a better time for it, so here we go. [angrily slams piano...]



Todd: I've had that button the entire time. And I've never used it once.

Todd (VO): I was saving it for the right occasion and there's never gonna be anything more clear-cut than this.

Todd: This shit's fucking racist.

Aaron: Watchin' the threads of Old Glory come undone

Todd (VO): [faux Southern accent] "Oh, they're takin' down Old Glory!" [normal] You're [images of "This Is Racist" spray-painted on Confederate statue...] literally crying over statues of men [...and two Civil War soldiers at arms with one another] who killed the men who carried Old Glory!

Todd: Like, I feel like an idiot for even saying that. Like...

Todd (VO): "What a hypocrite. You say you love America, but you support traitors.

Todd: "I gotcha!" Like, he knows he doesn't care.

Todd (VO): Like, yeah, I don't have to agree with a song to like it, but it sure helps! And blatant racism is a pretty tall hurdle. It's gonna have to be the greatest song ever otherwise.

Todd: Even if you ignore the racism, it's still just a ridiculous song.

Aaron: Am I the only one not brainwashed?

Who still gives a shit, and worries 'bout his kids

Todd: Real potty mouth on this guy.

Aaron: Can't take no more

Screamin', "If you don't like it, there's the fuckin' door"

Todd (VO): What is this?!

Todd: You know what this reminds me of, actually? The Team America soundtrack.

Clip from Team America: World Police

Trey Parker: What would you do

If you were asked to give up your dreams for freedom

Todd (VO): Just this guy trying to sound sincere and earnest and...

Todd: ...[singing in twangy voice] singing deep down from his soul!

Trey: Freedom isn't free

No, there's a hefty fucking fee

Todd (VO): And then just some random f-bombs in there to remind you that... this is in fact comedy.

Todd: It's a complete and total joke.

Clip of "Am I the Only One" lyric video

Aaron: Who still gives a shit, and worries 'bout his kids

As they try to undo all the things he did

Todd: [beat] Kind of an unclear pronoun there.

Todd (VO): Like, I assume "they", means the protestors.

Todd: But when I first heard it, I assumed he was talking about, uh...

Aaron: And worries 'bout his kids

As they try to undo all the things he did

Todd: [pause] Actually, now that I listen to this again, I think he actually is. He's- he's talking about his kids.

Todd (VO): His kids trying to undo all the things he did. Lot of arguments breaking out lately at the ol' Lewis family dinners?

Todd: Wouldn't that just be poetic? Him fighting with his own kids the way his dad fought with him.

Todd (VO): And for what it's worth, whoever you're talking about, they're not undoing the things you did because you didn't do shit. [clip of Staind live performance] Your contribution to this country is that you made a lot of mopey songs and you opened for Nickelback in 2004.

Todd: Y'know, this isn't the hands that built America here.

Clip of "Am I the Only One" live performance

Aaron: Holdin' back my tears

For the ones who paid with the lives they gave

Todd (VO): It's really remarkable how little of the conservative line has changed. Nam era, if you don't love it, leave it alone. Bush era, don't disrespect the troops. All your classic angry conservative lines, but with all this sentimental acoustic music that doesn't match it. Yeah, I don't buy it.

Todd: I like America. I'm second generation. My family didn't come here, they fled here. So, I think I got a better understanding of America's positives than most. I certainly know 'em more than Lewis.

Todd (VO): So, I feel pretty qualified to call bullshit here. This is not a song about loving America; it's a song about hating a certain subsection of Americans.

Todd: It's just a bitter, ugly, angry song.

Todd (VO): There's a lot of talk about America in this, but there's no talk about what he actually likes about America.

Todd: Like, prove me wrong.

Clip of Country Rebel performance

Todd (VO): Show me one lyric that says something nice about America...

Todd: ...that isn't just shitting on other people.

Aaron: Am I the only one who quits singin' along

Every time they play a Springsteen song

Todd: [beat] You've gotta be fucking kidding me. Well...

Todd (VO): Congratulations, Aaron Lewis, on being the [clip of Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the U.S.A."] first conservative in history to know what [image of Springsteen holding a cardboard "Fuck Trump" sign] "Born in the U.S.A." is actually about.

Todd: Actually, I don't believe that. I think most conservatives do know what "Born in the U.S.A." is about and they don't care.

Concert footage of Springsteen performing with the E Street Band

Todd (VO): They just like Springsteen because Springsteen fucking rocks. So, good fucking luck with your anti- Springsteen campaign, Aaron Lewis!

Todd: Like, you're just turning on Springsteen now. Did- [image of Springsteen with President Obama] did you just find out that Springsteen is a Democrat?! 'Cause it's not a secret! [image of Springsteen at No Nukes concert] It hasn't been for forty fucking years! Like, it's funny. I'm jumping through hoops to be fair to a song I disagree with politically...

Clip of "Am I the Only One" live performance

Todd (VO): ...and here he is in the actual song, just like, "Oh, I won't listen to music if I disagree with it politically!"

Todd: I mean, isn't that just the story of the partisan divide?

Todd (VO): I'm working my ass off to meet this guy halfway, and he's just sitting there being an asshole refusing to move. So, what am I even doing here? Go fuck yourself.

Todd: Like, yeah, of course you don't like Springsteen. He makes good music! And your entire life is a testament to how much you hate good music!

Aaron: Every time they play a Springsteen song

Todd (VO): I mean, that gives the game away, doesn't it? In interviews, he says the song is about how we need to stop being divided.

Clip of Fox & Friends interview

Aaron: You know, I think that we're not talking enough. I think that we're not communicating enough with each other. Together, we stand and divided we fall.

The gall.

Todd: But if he had just left it vague and...

Todd (VO): ...blamed the divisiveness on imaginary flag burners, at least it would be consistent.

Todd: But you cannot make the case that Old Glory is being disrespected by [clip of "Born in the U.S.A."] Bruce goddamn Springsteen.

Todd (VO): The man literally waves the flag like [still shot of Springsteen performing in front of a giant American flag] Hacksaw Jim Duggan. [images briefly shown of Springsteen holding a Bobby Jean poster and posing on a motorcycle] There's not a man on Earth prouder of being an American.

Todd: You cannot actually believe that Springsteen hates America. You just don't like his politics.

Clip of "Am I the Only One" live performance

Todd (VO): Like, I think I've been fair here, but this song is just extremely bad. Like even if, Heaven forbid, I agreed with it, I still wouldn't think I'd find this song very satisfying.

Todd: Like, I didn't like that Toby Keith shit either, but I get why people did.

Clip of Toby Keith - "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue"

Toby Keith: Hey Uncle Sam, put your name...

Todd (VO): America was heading to war, and Toby Keith was out there playing the role of the high-spirited, smug cowboy singing about kicking ass.

Toby: Oh, brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue

Todd (VO): If I was going to battle, that's who I'd want to imagine myself as. Just like a strutting, arrogant dick who's not bothered by anything.

Todd: I guess that's a sign of moderate conservatism's shrinking self-image.

Todd (VO): We went from confident barrel-chested baritone, Toby Keith, gonna put a boot in Bin Laden's ass, and... [clip of Aaron Lewis performing "Am I the Only One"] now we just have this bitter, shrieking lump of dough who sounds like he's shitting pinecones screaming profanities at his television.

Todd: It's more true to life, I guess, but who would wanna admit that they actually are?

Video for "Outside"

Todd (VO): I hated Staind, and you're not gonna get me to say nice things about Staind. But a lot of people did like them. And it's clear that their songs touched something deep and raw for Lewis and for his fans. He said one of the reasons he switched genres is it's rough being onstage reliving the lowest moments of his life every night. But unfortunately for him...

Todd: ...he still comes from the nu-metal style of songwriting, where you tear yourself open and bleed everywhere.

Clip of "Am I the Only One" live performance

Todd (VO): He's got no taste for the pageantry of country music. He just doesn't have the good sense to lie unlike Toby Keith or Tom MacDonald, who know exactly what they're selling.

Todd: So, what we've got is something not just distasteful, but also unintentionally revealing.

Todd (VO): He won't lie to his audience, but he will lie to himself. He thinks of himself as this bold defender of America, but he's way too honest about what he actually is: a bitter, middle-aged man who watches too much TV.

Todd: And he almost manages to hide his beliefs behind vague, pro-America stuff, but he doesn't have the sense to do it completely.

Todd (VO): He tells you what he's for and against! He's anti-Democrat and he's pro-racist statues!

Todd: So, what happens from here?

Clip of Country Rebel performance

Todd (VO): There's some news that Lewis' label is trying to get country radio to play this. I'd be really shocked if that happened.

Todd: My prediction is that Aaron Lewis isn't conservative enough for Nashville. He's too out there.

Todd (VO): Even if this song was that popular, which... it isn't, the powers that be in music row don't like change and they don't like rocking the boat. This would just get them a bunch of negative attention they don't want, and...

Todd:, he's too off genre. His awful, awful voice would turn off too many people.

Todd (VO): It's just a depressing fucking song! Like, I can't say I'd listen to this and it would get my heart pumping red, white, and blue.

Todd: Quite honestly, I don't think the people who bought this song actually like it. Just like they don't actually like those particular statues.

Todd (VO): I mean, they might like it in theory- like the ideology, they like having their own thoughts repeated back at them- but I don't think many of them actually enjoy this song as music. I think you have to be a very specific kind of guy who was in nu-metal, but just aged out of it- much like Lewis himself- if you really wanted to enjoy this. I don't think that audience is very big.

Todd: Yes, Aaron Lewis is gonna make some money off of this. But I guarantee ya, at the end of next year, conservatives will have given way more money to see Springsteen than they ever will to Aaron Lewis.

Aaron: Am I the only one

Closing Tag Song: Bruce Springsteen - "Glory Days"


"Am I the Only One" is owned by Big Machine Records

This video is owned by me