Crapped Out

After his latest CD, few of Pat Green's fans are feeling like Lucky Ones

"So why not boycott Lucky Ones on principle alone? Well, because there's some really good music here…The result is a solid, fine-sounding, edge of country album that should have appeal beyond the beer & bong crowd."

It used to be critics who led the "Pat Green sucks" charge. But John Goodspeed of the San Antonio Express-News goes beyond Cooper in his praise of Green. "With so many standout, potential hits, how will they ever choose which songs to pitch to radio?" he writes. "Lucky Ones is a career milestone…This is not just Pat Green's finest CD -- it's one of the year's best."

Even though I was anything but a fan of Green before, I was still among those who expected more from Lucky Ones, only to have my hopes dashed. Wave on Wave, despite the garbled metaphor of its overblown title song, was at least a small artistic step for Green. The John Mellencougar production style fit Green's Texas dancehall frat rock well. And even if he still didn't seem to get what makes the names he drops -- like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark -- so special, damned if I didn't punch the car radio button one day to hear "Guy Like Me" and find it, well, kind of catchy. So I was hoping that Green might at least, if not hit one out of the park, maybe get past first base on his next release.

"Your new album sucks ass!" Pat Green's fans are 
voicing their disgust on the Internet.
"Your new album sucks ass!" Pat Green's fans are voicing their disgust on the Internet.

But on Lucky Ones he fouls out, hitting the ceiling of his limited talents with a resounding thump on a set that's a turgid country-rock mishmash. Green swings for the fence on collaborations with co-writing slut Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 fame and sapmeister Radney Foster (who also contributes the title tune) and comes up with strings of clichés that would embarrass even a Hallmark writer. He nods to his "beer & bong crowd" base on "College," a co-write and duet with Brad Paisley that, for all its hooky groove, is little more than an ode to party-pig ignorance (though it does have a fitting line for the Dumbya years: "I learned almost everything that I know without ever gaining knowledge in college").

As Green trades verses with a real singer like Paisley, it only places in bold relief the limitations of his voice, which wears awfully thin by album's end. And to prove that his disaffected fans have a point, the best tracks on the disc are Texan: Green's take on Jack Ingram's "One Thing," even if it is a fuzzy Xerox of Ingram's original, and his bluesy co-write with Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Sweet Revenge."

Oh, but maybe I should just shut my yap. After all, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also has jumped onto the Green bandwagon with a rather amazing (and hilarious) bit of hyperbole. "It's almost impossible to write anything bad about Green. That would be akin to criticizing Willie Nelson," writes "critic" Jay Webb of a recent concert.

Oh, really? Has the Bush administration already cracked down on free speech? Because if anyone has the right to slam Green, it would be those music fans whose money has lined the pockets of his jeans. "Pat Green was always my favorite artist but now I really am having problems," writes "Wesley" in his customer review of Lucky Ones on "This CD sucks and I am starting to think that now, so does Pat Green."

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