Body Like a Back Road

Body like back road tits.jpg

Date Aired
May 19, 2017
Running Time
Previous review
Next review

Todd plays "Body Like a Back Road" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: So, I've been up here talking for pretty much all year about the decline of pop music, but it's really starting to come to a head here.

Clip of Zedd and Alessia Cara - "Stay"

Todd (VO): I started listening to pop radio so I could be in touch with what's popular. But increasingly, the top 40 stations are not [Clip of Kendrick Lamar - "HUMBLE"] playing what's in the actual Top 40. [Shot of the Billboard Hot 100 top 10] I've never felt so disconnected from what's actually big.

Todd: So I've been forced to try and mix it up here.

Clip of Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert - "Bad and Boujee"

Todd (VO): Last time, we looked at the biggest hip-hop song of the year and... well, we all agree I totally failed there, right? We're gonna write that off as a complete failure? All right, good, good, good.

Todd: So let me try something a little less challenging here. Let's look at the country charts.

Clip of Big & Rich - "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)"

Todd (VO): As I've said before, I grew up listening to country music.

Clip of Lonestar - "I'm Already There"
Richie McDonald: I'm already there

Todd (VO): I kinda grew out of it, partly because of how... limited it was. As I got older, it just seemed more and more formulaic, stodgy, and culturally isolated. [Back to "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)"] This is why Big & Rich and the rest of the MuzikMafia seemed like such a breath of fresh air. Country music that was fun, rowdy party music with a hard rock edge and even some hip-hop influences? My God, that's brilliant! Just what we needed -- something to shake things up, to expand the sound of country music with other genres, to stave off the bland dullness that was taking it over. Finally, something with some creativity, some...

Todd:, some balls, some life.

Big & Rich: Save a horse, ride a cowboy

Todd: And ten years later, it had all gone horribly horribly wrong.

Clip of Luke Bryan - "That's My Kind of Night"
Luke: Uh, uh
I got that real good...

Todd (VO): Bro-country is, without question, the most embarrassing and shameful music trend of the 2010s. It is the music we're gonna have the hardest time explaining to our children. Like Vanilla Ice was to the '90s, or The Black Eyed Peas and Nickelback are to the 2000s.

Todd: Like, this isn't just gonna be lame in hindsight, it's lame now. Not the least because of its humiliating, one-sided crush on hip-hop.

Clip of Florida Georgia Line ft. Luke Bryan - "This Is How We Roll"
Tyler Hubbard: Mixtape's got a little Hank, little Drake...

Todd (VO): The only rappers they can attract are washups like Nelly or prostitutes like Pitbull. [Clip of Jerrod Niemann with Pitbull - "Drink to That All Night -- Remix"] And even there, it's like a favor they're doing for country music. Like, Jason Derulo doesn't ask Luke Bryan to be on his record. Even he's not that uncool. I just imagine Drake and Lil Wayne deleting texts from Jason Aldean and laughing.

Thomas Rhett - "Get Me Some of That" plays in background

Todd: What we learned from all this is that country musicians have terrible taste in hip-hop.

Clip of "Get Me Some of That"

Todd (VO): So what we've got from mixing the two is just an epidemic of ballcap-wearing numbnutses trying to fake enough Southern charm to cover for how they use outdated rap slang to talk about butts.

Todd: If you weren't paying attention, you have no idea how bad it got.

video of Jerrod Niemann performing "Donkey" in concert
Jerrod: Gonna ride that donkey, donkey
Down to the honky tonky
It's gonna get funky, funky

Todd: Fortunately, we seem to be getting away from that. After the low point around 2014...

Clip of Maddie & Tae - "Girl in a Country Song"

Todd (VO): ...there's been a pretty serious backlash, and not even just from the old-timey traditionalists. Just people who want country music to be less monotonous and lunkheaded. [Clip of Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood - "The Fighter"] Country music is still in the grips of a profound identity crisis, where they seem to be trying to be everything but country, but at...

Todd: ...least they've moved on from all the bro-ness. So, let's take a look at the genre's future with the biggest country song today, [single cover appears for...] "Body Like a Back--"

Todd balls up his fists, gets up, punches the wall, then kicks it

Todd: [holding his foot in pain] Ow, ow! Fuck! [sits back on the stool] Are you kidding me?! No, no, no, that is not a real title. That is not.

Video of Sam Hunt performing at the 2017 Academy of Country Music awards
Sam Hunt: Body like a back road
Drivin' with my eyes closed
I know every curve like the back of my hand

Todd: I'm going to puke.

Footage continues

Todd (VO): Wh-what does it even mean? "Body like a b--" Is this a riddle?

Clip of the Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice in Wonderland

Todd (VO): [as the Mad Hatter] How is a body like a back road? (laughs)

Sam: The way she fits in them blue jeans
She don't need no belt...

Todd (VO): [normal voice] Okay, first off, apparently the announcement of bro-country's death was premature. And... do I have to even explain what's wrong here? What the hell is wrong with this guy?

Todd: Okay, let's back up. Who's the idiot singing this?

Clip of "Break Up in a Small Town"

Todd (VO): His name is Sam Hunt.

Sam: I knew I'd see her around
I'd be at some party, she'd show up and I'd be walkin' out

Todd (VO): He looks not so much like a country singer and more like the leading man in a dull rom-com.

Clip of "House Party"
Sam: We'll have a house party...

Todd (VO): He broke out a couple years ago, right when country music was at its very dumbest. I -- you know, I've listened to his songs, and I get the feeling his lips move when he reads. But despite that, I never thought of him as like, the worst thing about country music or anything. He's not Luke Bryan or Thomas Rhett. He seemed like an okay guy.

Todd: But this... wow. I tru-- I don't even know where to start. This is heinous.

Footage of Sam performing "Body Like a Back Road" continues

Todd (VO): Anyway, there's not a video for this 'cause it's 2017 and no one watches videos, so we're gonna use this live footage from last month's country music awards.

Sam: [singing to a woman in the crowd] Tangled up in the tall grass
With my lips on hers

Todd (VO): That's his fiancée, by the way. Yeah, they just got married. And I believe that, now that they've survived this disaster, they're prepared for anything. [footage zooms in] I mean, look, she looks like she's gonna die from embarrassment. I mean, I know she's laughing, but if they divorce, this'll be the first thing she mentions.

Todd: I mean, that's her future husband, singing in front of a national audience that her body's like a back road.

Sam: Body like a back road
Drivin' with my eyes closed

Todd: Sam! Do you not get that this is not a compliment?

Pictures of muddy roads

Todd (VO): This is what a back road looks like. It's a shit-ass, unkempt, pothole-ridden patch of dirt.

Video of Sam singing continues

Todd (VO): Is that what you're trying to say? You're trying to say she's covered in dirt and pockmarks?

Todd: It's so obviously an insult that it's literally been used as an insult for the past century!

Clip of a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon
Foghorn Leghorn: I say, what happened to you, dog? You look like two miles of bad road.

Todd: It's a country expression! You should already know this!

Sam: The way she fit in them blue jeans
She don't need no belt

Todd (VO): Like, the first thing everyone criticizes bro-country for is its objectification of women, right? But all I'm saying is, can't you objectify them into...

Todd: ...attractive objects? I dunno, like... sweet as chocolate, [picture of woman eating chocolate] sexy like a car. [picture of woman in front of a car] Those are pretty popular ones. I'm not turned on by cars, but, you know, I can at least see the association. [picture of a back road] Why would you compare her to a back road? Even if we were comparing her body to, like, [picture of a highway] a really fresh, pristine, well-maintained patch of road, it's still a road. Who's turned on by a goddamn road?

Footage of the Beatles

Todd (VO): Paul McCartney sang [cover for UNCUT Magazine tribute album entitled...] "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?", not "Why Don't We [red lines obscure "It In"] Do the Road?"!

Todd: See, this goes back to one of the bigger problems country music has -- completely unrelated to bros or bro-ness.

Clip of Florida Georgia Line - "Dirt"
Tyler Hubbard: It's that elm-shaded redwood clay you grew up on...

Todd (VO): See, a big part of country music right now is the glorification of the small town. Farms, rural areas, and so on. And, you know, I've lived in some small towns, I get it. I understand the charm. But there's apparently nothing left to say about them, 'cause country songwriters have given up.

Todd: At this point, it's devolved into just... lists of things.

Clips of Keith Urban - "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16"...
Keith: I'm a 45 spinnin' on an old Victrola
I'm a two-strike swinger, I'm a Pepsi-Cola
...Zac Brown Band - "Chicken Fried"...
Zac: Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
...and Kenny Chesney - "American Kids"
Kenny: Double-wide, quick stop, midnight, T-top
Jack in a Cherry Coke town

Todd: This stuff is barely even songs anymore. It's more like a game of I Spy during a road trip in the middle of nowhere.

Footage of driving through a small town, accompanied by acoustic guitar music

Todd (VO): Tractors, American flag, epidemic of prescription pill addiction...

Todd: And since the one thing that's universal to every small town is crappy unpaved roads...

Clip of Kip Moore - "Dirt Road"

Todd (VO): ...that's the thing they've latched onto as like, the all-encompassing symbol of small town America.

Clip of Rodney Atkins - "Take a Back Road"
Rodney: It makes me wanna take a back road

Todd (VO): Seriously, they have beaten it to death. Turn on a country station in the last 10 years, and it's just [Clip of Jason Aldean - "Dirt Road Anthem", with Todd singing over the song] "Dirt road, dirt road. Dirt road, dirt road".

Todd: 'Cause nothing says "I love my hometown" like [image of a car surrounded by potholes] fucking up your axles.

Clip of Jon Pardi - "Back on the Backroads"
Jon: On the backroads

Todd (VO): So that's where we're at. We love dirt roads, we love back roads. It symbolizes...

Todd: Something. I dunno. I mean, whatever value we're assinging to it, I'm pretty sure it wasn't how fuckable they are.

Sam: Body like a back road

Todd (VO): I mean, country music is corny, fine. Bro-country is douchey, fine. But it was like he was trying to do both at the same time, and it-- it just sounds insane.

Todd: Who the hell wrote this?

clip from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Brick Tamland: I love desk.
Ron Burgundy: Brick, are you just looking at things in the office and saying that you love them?
Brick: I love lamp

Todd: I--I--I-- I still don't get it! What does it even mean?

Sam: Had to get her number
Took me like six weeks
Now me and her go way back
Like Cadillac seats

Todd: [while song keeps playing] Oh, okay, because you were really close with this girl.

Sam: I know every curve like the back of my hand

Todd (VO): Her body's like a back road 'cause you know her so well. You and her go way back.

Todd: So you're not really talking about a back road here, but, like, a specific back road. Like [picture of a dirt driveway] the one to your house. There's nothing intrinsically familiar about back roads in general.

Sam: Drivin' with my eyes closed

Todd (VO): The road I'm most familiar with is the highway. I'm not gonna tell a girl her body's like the New Jersey Turnpike.

Todd: And if that's all you're going with this, like, you know her body like the back of your hand -- am I wrong, or are you saying you're having really boring sex?

Sam: I know every curve like the back of my hand

Todd: Baby, you are like this back road. Really predictable. I mean, hell, he sounds bored!

Sam: 15 in a 30
I ain't in no hurry
I'm gonna take it slow just as fast as I can

Todd (VO): I know the vibe is supposed to be relaxed, but he sounds like he's already asleep.

Todd: The only excitement comes from those DJ Mustard guys shouting "Hey" in the background.

Sam: I'm gonna take it slow just as fast as I can
Clip of "Don't Tell 'Em" by Jeremih ft. YG
Jeremih: Don't tell 'em, don't tell 'em

Todd: God, country still can't get over its jealousy of hip-hop, can it? In fact, the first line is wannabe hip-hop.

Sam: Got a girl from the South Side
Got braids in her hair

Todd: What south side? Isn't the whole point of this song to evoke small towns? Small towns don't have a south side! [clip art of a small town] They don't have sides! It just has one part: the town.

Sam: Body like a back road
Drivin' with my eyes closed

Todd: I don't get it. This is just such a stupid idea for a song!

Sam: Got hips like honey
So thick and so sweet
Ain't no curves like hers in them downtown streets

Todd: Ohhhhh. Oh.

Footage of Sam singing continues

Todd (VO): 'Cause it has curves. [picture of a curvy road] Oh, curves like a girl's body. As opposed to [picture of...] city streets, which are in a straight line, I guess.

Todd: Apparently Sam Hunt's never been to [map of Birmingham, England appears] Boston. I guess that makes sense. Maybe I'm just an idiot.

Todd (VO): Maybe I should've gotten that already. I mean, he says "curves". But it's not like he really emphasized it. I mean, he said the word "curves", but then -- that's maybe like the 16th most notable thing I can think of about a back road.

Todd: In fact, I've driven plenty of rural roads [picture of a dirt road] that were straight shots! I'm just saying I would've made this distinction clear before the second verse.

Sam: Drivin' with my eyes closed

Todd (VO): And I don't care how well you know the road. You should keep your eyes open! I get that there's no traffic, but back roads have ditches, potholes, guys on tractors, and animals.

Todd: Where do you live that you don't have to worry about [picture of...] deer? I mean, I live in the city now. Say what you want about all the traffic, I no longer have friends tell me they couldn't come over 'cause they hit a [picture of...] cow.

Footage continues

Todd (VO): No this song is, like, even worse than I imagined it was gonna be when I saw the title. It's -- it's just the sound of it. You can just picture the punchably smug look on his face. And yet, it's the biggest country crossover in years. Collaborating with Pitbull couldn't do it. Making just straight '80s pop couldn't do it. This did.

Todd: The dopiest country song since... well, all the others.

Sam: I'm gonna take it slow

Todd (VO): Sam, if your girl's a back road, you're the abandoned sewage plant it goes to.

Todd: [shakes head] Seriously, just stop. Just stop with this shit, please.

Song ends

Closing Tag Song: Willie Nelson - "On the Road Again"

"Body Like a Back Road" is owned by MCA Nashville
This video is owned by me

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.