To quote myself, “Garth’s not content with just playing the role he’s given and being a Country music star. He’s a true artist, a rebel, a maverick, a… bad decision maker.”
His latest “wtf moment” comes in the form of an alter-ego, painfully cliché, alt-rocker by the name of Chris Gaines.
Paramount Pictures and Brooks’ own company Red Strokes Entertainment are in the process of creating a film that Brooks will have the leading role in.
This film, entitled The Lamb , is to revolve around rock-star Chris Gaines and his experience of the “trials” of being famous.
The film is set to feature Brooks starring as the fictional figure. As part viral marketing and part publicity stunt, Brooks has brought the Gaines character into our “reality”.
But, much to Brooks chagrin, the Chris Gaines character is just a terrible representation of what Brooks and his team seem to perceive as “alt-rock”. This especially being the case when they dressed him like a stand-in for a member of Marilyn Manson, Rammstein or any industrial metal band.
Love him or hate him, Garth Brooks knows how to write chart topping songs. To be blunt, he should have stuck with what he knows. Sadly, he didn’t and we are left with this poorly executed publicity stunt. It has done nothing but lead people to question Brook’s mental health rather than garner interest for The Lamb.
The main reason the Chris Gaines scheme failed isn’t just because it was probably a bad idea from the beginning but because it was done totally half-assed (which is STILL better than being four-assed…but I will get to that later).
There are a couple of possible ways this could have been handled differently. Option #1 is that Garth could have tried to keep his Clark Kent identity a secret. This record was released on Capitol Records. Capitol could have promoted him as a new artist, put all the backing you need to get on MTVH1 and Clear Channel radio.
They could have pushed for late night talk show performances and interviews. He could have played smaller venues and record store performances.
Once Chris made a name for himself, they could have pulled back the curtain and it might have actually been kind of “slick”.
Option #2 is Garth could have just said “I’d like to make a pop album.” He could have released it under his own name and promoted it just like his country albums. It’s not as much fun, but it could have expanded the world’s view of him as just a country artist.
However, had he gone with either of these instead of the lukewarm middle path, there is still one hurdle to get past.
In order for option #1 to have worked, the songs would have needed to not suck. In order for option #2 to have worked… the songs would have needed to not suck.
Here’s the thing with the music on this album. It’s not all that horrible by most commercial standards. I bet your average soccer mom would find some stuff on here that she likes. They listen to Michael Bolton and Bonnie Raitt and this crap could fly just well as that crap.
The biggest problem with the thing is its utter lack of continuity.
The first single, a sappy Sade-type ballad called ‘Lost In You’ is not what one would expect from either country music hero or an aging rocker. Maybe if it was more like a rock ballad, it wouldn’t have been such a stretch. But it’s more like adult pop, in the vein of Eric Claptons recent hit ‘Change The World’ (same writers).
The B-side is some kind of rap redux of The Youngbloods ‘Get Together’ called ‘Right Now’, that left more people scratching their heads than grooving. Seriously, Garth Brooks trying to spit a few bars?
While there are worse things in life than being told than your song is as emotionally haunting as the ones put out by Sade, that isn’t exactly a glowing endorsement for a “rocker”.
This stuff is the most boring, we-need-a-song-in-the-background-of-a-restaurant-scene-in-a-soap-opera music that’s ever been written.
It’s not worthy of being one of the long blond pubic hairs that comprised Michael Bolton’s former flowing mullet. So while it’s not all that horrible, ninety-nine percent of it is.
Beyond the fact that the music was not very good in general, there is another glaring problem with the songs here and it would have been even more noticeable had the movie been made. The songs on this CD are supposed to represent the entire career of the artist formerly known as Garth. Chris had released 5 albums in his career and this CD, being a greatest hits, collected 2-3 songs from each of these albums.
So why do the songs recorded in 1986 sound so much like the ones he recorded in 1999? Of course we know why; because in reality they were all recorded at the same time. But when you’re trying to create a work of fiction, you have to pay attention to the details.
The music of 1986 does not sound like the music of 1999. The music a person makes when they are 19 is not the same music they make when they’re 32. Recording the “old” songs with a current sound is sort of the equivalent of Moses wearing a Members Only jacket when he parted the Red Sea because that’s what Charlton Heston wore on the set that day.
This lack of attention to detail is indicative of the half-baked nature of this whole project and in the end leads to its downfall.
So let me be perfectly clear on this one.
Like Doctor Alphonse Mephesto’s infamous four-assed monkey of South Park fame, this album is an abomination and has no place in the world of man.