“American Kids” by Kenny Chesney

At the time, Kenny Chesney tried to tout this song as a positive alternative to the ‘Bro-Country’ genre that was then dominating Country music, but there’s a reason why it didn’t wind up starting the revolution Country needed. Granted, it’s better than the vast majority of Bro-Country songs, but it features exactly the same kind of swaggering, rhythm-heavy musical sound favored by those songs, so it hardly qualifies as a return to Country’s roots. And while the lyrics, with their array of cultural references, have some fairly rich content as a celebration of American culture, they’re not particularly dramatic. This is certainly a good song, and given the state of Country music in 2014 I’m definitely glad we got it, but it was obviously never going to do what Chris Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson wound up doing, no matter how much Chesney wanted it to.

Verdict: Not quite as good as Chesney himself liked to think at the time, but good nonetheless.

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