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Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots

The Critics Give It 5 Stars – 2016 (Black River)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots

There have been a few country disc jockeys who have gone onto have successful careers as country singers - Bill Anderson and John Conlee being probably the most famous examples - but judging by this CD, Bobby Bones is unlikely to join that contingent. That doesn't mean this album is a failure. It just means that this feels more like a vanity project or an extended prank on his syndicated radio show rather than a shot at stardom, even the marginalized stardom of humorous or parodic country music, and so should be judged by a different set of standards. So if Mr. Bones is looking to stroke his ego, he should feel pretty good about not completely embarrassing himself. His vocals are certainly serviceable, and he has an impressive array of talent helping him out - Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, the Fake Luke Bryan (?) and others.

If he's trying to be amusing though, there's a problem. The problem is that a lot of the songs aren't funny, and when they are they are marred by an over-reliance on hip-hop arrangements or other incongruities such as the foot fetish reference in "If I Was Your Boyfriend" or the last line of "She's a 10, I'm a 2," which comes from out of nowhere with such sweetness and romance that it feels like it belongs in a whole different song, maybe even a different CD.

Humor is subjective, of course, but there is no doubt that the humor that can be derived from Starbucks' pretension, high prices and "tall" size cups that are actually small has been done to death and then dug up and done some more by every comedian who needs another minute and a half worth of material to fill his set. Even if you do find that type of rehash amusing, surely you don't need two versions of the same song, one country and one, sigh, hip hop.

The lone intentionally-unfunny song "Fishin' With My Dad" is so different that Bones does an intro for it, basically apologizing for the seriousness of it. It does feel appropriate to have Garth Brooks helping out on this one, as it has sort of a Brooks first-draft feel. You can just see Garth looking this over and saying, "Yeah, it's a little too literal, but I can probably punch it up with a few nautical metaphors."

It doesn't look as if Bones' heart is really in it. Maybe he'd rather be watching TV. A lot of the lyrics sound as though they were composed by someone with one eye on a guitar and one on TV Guide, as Bones references "The Bachelorette," "Full House", "Home Alone," "Home Alone 2" and "Home Alone 3" (that last being the only show he didn't like) as well as "Friends," "Sixteen and Pregnant," "Saved by the Bell," "Family Guy," "The Walking Dead," "Dexter," "The West Wing" and televised baseball and football.

The listener may understandably think Bones has a point - that there are better entertainment options - and turn off the CD player and turn on the television.