Blake Shelton Releases Acoustic Version of ‘Minimum Wage’

by Josh Lanier
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Blake Shelton is standing by his song “Minimum Wage” despite the backlash. In fact, he’s doubling down on it — or as much as you can when you earn $7.25 an hour. Shelton just announced he’s putting out an acoustic version of the song, which is sure to reignite some of the debates.

Minimum Wage” tells the story of a couple who has nothing but bills piling up and unconditional love. It’s a tried and true country love ballad. Think Alan Jackson’s “Livin’ on Love” or even the duet Shelton did with his fiancee Gwen Stefani called “Happy Anywhere.”

Blake Shelton Relates to Having to Struggle

Blake Shelton wasn’t always rich and successful. And he says he remembers what it was like to struggle and make tough financial decisions. And, paradoxically, he cherishes those times.

“I just related to the lyrics so much, you know?” Shelton said, talking about his life before fame. “Just like probably 95 percent of artists out there, I struggled for so long to get by. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Those days when the big struggle was, ‘Man, do I pay my rent or my electric bill, or do I just say screw it and go buy some beer?'”

And that’s the rub with his detractors. His fond memories of being nearly destitute reads as poverty tourism. There was no backlash against “Happy Anywhere” because it was a song about sharing a struggle and bonding over it. “Minimum Wage” makes poverty seem both frivolous and punitive.

And now that he has a swiveling chair on The Voice and a slew of No. 1 hit songs, he should help those still struggling, his critics say.

“Hey @blakeshelton, you’re worth $100 million. It’s a bad look to sing about feeling rich on the minimum wage when actual minimum wage workers are hungry and can’t pay rent. Instead, how about you join us in fighting to #RaiseTheWage to $15 per hour?” one person tweeted.

To be fair, the backlash to this song, at least online, appears to be minimal. And Shelton isn’t phased by it. The detractors, he says, just don’t get it.

To him, the song is about how finding love and happiness is striking it rich.

“As country artists and as an industry, we have to stay focused here and know that what’s right is right,” he told USA Today. “And I believe this song is a great message and I’m proud of it.”

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Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Gwen Stefani Drops New Song Called ‘Slow Clap’

Gwen Stefani is against dipping back again into her past to find her new path. Earlier this year, she released “Let me Reintroduce Myself,” a song filled with references and callbacks to her old music videos, songs, and lyrics.

Slow Cap” follows that same aesthetic. It sounds as it could have been a B-side to a song off of No Doubt’s early 2000s album “Rock Steady.” She said her new album is meant to help her find something new in the music she grew up loving.

“I just had this lightbulb moment,” Stefani told Billboard. “I was like, ‘I really want to investigate where I started in music — the reggae and ska when I first fell in love with music when it defined who I was. … Once I got into that mode, it was like a wildfire, because every person I went in with, we were just so inspired and excited to be doing that kind of music.”

Stefani will soon release her first full-length album in four years. There’s no release date as of yet, but she told Billboard in January that she had about 20 songs written for the untitled album.

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