Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Jelly Roll + more make Variety’s “Worst Songs of 2023” list

ABC/Connie Chornuk

It’s that time of the year when news outlets and music publications highlight the best music of the year. But sometimes, the pendulum swings in the opposite direction and the worst contributions are spotlighted — which is what Variety‘s done with its “Worst Songs of 2023” list.

Kicking things off at #1 is Jason Aldean‘s “Try That in a Small Town.” Though the song became a chart-topper on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the country charts, Variety calls it a “hostile anthem of proud xenophobia that basically amounted to putting up a ‘Stay the hell away… or else’ sign.”

Referencing the additional controversy over the song’s video, the publication adds, “Imagine if we could just give him credit for … being a country music uniter instead of divider.”

Viral sensation Oliver Anthony Music‘s “Rich Men of North Richmond” was the next country song to appear on the list, coming in at #8. Variety writes, “Despite his disavowals, there’s no other way to read the [lyric] ‘5’3″ and 300 pounds,’ except as some kind of right-wing editorial-cartoon caricature of welfare recipients,” adding, “Victim-blaming? Oh, fudge.”

And Dustin Lynch‘s new Jelly Roll-assisted single, “Chevrolet,” arrives at #18 on the all-genre list. Variety notes, “This song seems like it was crafted solely to get adopted by the carmaker itself for an ad campaign, the way that Applebee’s adopted Walker Hayes’ anthem after the fact.” 

The publication continues, “Since the music is lifted entirely from [Dobie Gray‘s hit] ‘Drift Away,’ did it really take three Nashville songwriters just to come up with lyrics so terrible you’d think not even one of them would want credit?”

You can check out the full “Worst Songs of 2023” list now on Variety‘s website.

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