Near the end of 2013, country music critic Grady Smith came to the depressing realization that the most popular songs in the genre that year were all basically the same song.
"I hope country fans will stop settling for this derivative junk. I love a dumb party song every once in a while (including some of these!), but when they're the only flavor available, they get old very, very fast. Here's to better music in 2014," he wrote at the time, "Here's to better music in 2014."
Sorry, buddy. It was a beautiful dream, but it emphatically did not work out.
Here's a mashup of six recent pop-country smashes, four of which were released in 2014, that sound so similar that you can play them on top of each other and lose almost nothing. It's the Nickelback incident of ought-five all over again, but for a whole genre.
Here's to better music in 2015, although saying it out loud likely jinxes us with another year of that guitar riff and those trucks.