Musician Jason Isbell is having none of this sensationalizing headline from Billboard that implies country music’s songwriters are “battling alcohol”.
What a headline.
The headline in question comes straight from music giant Billboard, which published the article today. The article’s full title, “Country’s Songwriters Grapple With Alcohol’s Abundance,” is a doozy.
Within, Billboard’s Tom Roland discusses alcohol and its influence on the country genre. It seems far-fetched at first, but as any country fan knows – a whole lot of excellent country music is about alcohol.
Roland pulls in statistics to back up said title. “But the liquor flows in more subtle ways,” he insinuates. “Thirteen of the top 20 songs reference beer, whiskey, wine, bars or drinking in the verses, as do 25 of the top 40 singles.”
Moreover, the article even goes so far as to bring in quotes from country songwriters to back up this headline and thesis. “It is getting harder to write those songs, and I think it should be,” says Ben Burgess, crafter of Morgan Wallen’s smash single “Whiskey Glasses.” “You can wear something out, and you know, there’s certain lifestyles you can only keep up with for so long. Ironically, drinking is one of them.”
That, however, does not make Burgess – or fellow country songwriters – alcoholics. And Billboard’s poorly-worded, meant-to-sensationalize article title is getting lampooned for insinuating such a thing.
Doing it better than most, too, is Jason Isbell.
Jason Isbell Responds in Kind to Sensationalized Billboard Headline
Far from a stranger to country, songwriting, or substance abuse battles of his own, storied musician Jason Isbell is perplexed by Billboard’s article title.
“Wow this isn’t the onion,” Isbell tweets upon seeing it for himself.
Isbell is, of course, referencing the hysterically-accurate but always farcical “news site” “The Onion.” Which, in-kind, references itself (sarcastically) as “America’s finest news source”.
In Billboard’s original tweet seen below, the choice of cover image becomes clear, as well.
Alongside a cover depicting generic whiskey pouring into a tumbler with no country songwriters in sight, the article’s subtitle reads:
“Country fans might not see all the world through ‘Whiskey Glasses’, but they’re definitely hearing it through alcoholic earbuds.”
“The Onion” would be proud.