by: Jess Walker
Editor’s Note: Some will feel as though New Slang is dragging this Josh Abbbott Maxim controversy out for the sake of website traffic. We said we would publish Walker’s opinion piece today (Monday), last Friday. For the previous opinion pieces, click here and here. I promise, this is the last opinion piece on the Josh Abbott…until he releases his next album, etc. Also note that Walker didn’t write this up out of the blue. We had already been speaking about him writing columns on New Slang for a while. This just happens to be his first.
Josh Abbott’s interview in Maxim has done exactly what his music has always done: drawn ire from haters, scoffs of feigned indifference from those who read it, say they don’t care, but then post about it on social media, and cheers from the Abbott loyal. Before anyone spends more than a few seconds treating this article, printed in the world’s foremost ‘bro’ magazine, as any sort of serious piece of investigative reporting, please remember the context of where it is published, who the interviewer was, and what audience it was intended for. That point has been made in other editorials of his interview, but hopefully it serves as a reminder not to take this too seriously.
In the interest of full disclosure let me first say that Josh is a friend of mine. I am also friends with his ex, who was an employee of mine for a short while. The point is, I’m friends with both independently and my opinion should be even because of it.
To understand Abbott’s answers, first look at the questions. Is this article even remotely about his new EP, Tuesday Night? In fact, none of the questions asked even referenced his music or the new EP. The only semi-reference was this question: “Can you talk about having a largely female audience?” Besides being poorly worded, the question here doesn’t address his music at all, but rather his audience. Abbott references his music directly and said the one thing no seems to want to mention when critiquing this article:
“And it just so happened that the music I enjoyed writing and perhaps the vocal delivery I have was more attractive to younger college females.”
That’s the answer, the end. Does Abbott write songs to attract female listeners? No. Abbott writes songs that he enjoys writing. Does that mean anyone has to like them? Of course not. But, it does mean that Abbott writes the kind of music he likes. It may not be your cup of pumpkin spice latte, but it does happen to be hundreds of thousands of other people’s. The fact that he addresses that his music and live show create a party atmosphere continue to support the point that he writes the music he likes to listen to. He’s not saying you have to like it. He’s not saying you can’t have substance in lyric writing. He’s saying when he was just a mere fan of Texas country he loved the partying that happened at concerts. Now that he’s an artist, he loves creating that party. If you think he’s all party and no substance go back and listen to the She’s Like Texas track “Let My Tears Be Still.”
A few of the other fantastic questions in this article are as follows: ‘You Mingle?’ ‘What’s Next?’ and ‘What Did you Learn?’ This collection of well crafted questions from an underpaid staffer who writes articles for the website that will never see the light of print really doesn’t ask Abbott to go deeper into who he is as a person and what his music is really all about. The questions asked by the author, who’s LinkedIn profile reveals is also the project manager for Maxim‘s Hometown Hotties contest, wanted to know one thing: “are you a party guy or what?” Obviously, Maxim is the world’s foremost ‘bro’ magazine. Abbott is being asked questions that the author thinks the readers will want answered. Abbott answered in the way Maxim was asking the questions. It’s a party magazine and Abbott is a single guy on top of his game. You may not like his game, but it’s his and not yours.
For some reason, no critique of this article can be done without mentioning Abbott’s very public Twitter confession from February 2014. The author of the Maxim article asked him about pretty girls and he answered them. The author asked more questions about pretty girls and he answered them. If you want to be judge, jury, and executioner, put your skeleton’s on Twitter and let’s all have a look at your life. His skeletons, which clearly aren’t hidden away, don’t define his life and neither should mine define my life, nor yours define your life. He’s on the road playing in front of thousands of people who like the same music he likes, while living life the way he wants.
So before you take this article as the defining piece of information for a FAQ section on the nonexistent ‘who is Josh Abbott’ website, remember the context of the Maxim article, the author’s glowing resume, and the intended audience.
Would you answer questions about your personal finances differently to your best friend than you would an IRS auditor? Me too. It’s all about context.
Jess Walker is the host of JD in the Morning on The Rebel 105.3 in Lubbock, Texas. He’s also our newest New Slang column contributor.