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Blake Shelton says anyone criticizing the lyrics of his new single, “Minimum Wage,” knows nothing about country music.
The Voice coach debuted his “classic-country love song” on New Year’s Eve, which was met with mixed reviews on social media. With lyrics like, “Girl, lookin’ at you lookin’ at me that way / Can make a man feel rich on minimum wage,” Shelton sings about how priceless real love is. Some people called it “tone deaf” during a time of record unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic, especially since the superstar isn’t struggling financially.
Shelton addressed the backlash telling CMT, “These days, there are people out there who don’t want to know the truth. They just want to hear what they want to hear, and they want to pick a fight.”
“No matter what your intention is, no matter what the truth is, they want it to be something that they can be upset about so that they can get on social media and try to grab a headline,” he continued. “With ‘Minimum Wage,’ at first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music.”
Gwen Stefani’s fiancé said anyone upset “clearly hadn’t heard the song or read the lyrics.”
“If they had, they couldn’t feel this way about the song. It’s literally a love song about how if times are tight and you ain’t got much money — as long as you have love and you’re happy — at the end of the day, that’s all any of us can really hope for,” he stated. “You got it if you got that. That’s all that matters. And if that’s offensive to you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
Shelton said he’ll “bow out” if people start to get this nit-picky.
“I have to say, if we have to start thinking like this, then I guess that’ll be where I have to bow out. Because that’s one of the longest-standing traditions in country music is lyrics about love. And if you’ve got love, then that’s all that matters,” he added. “There won’t be much left to play or write about on country radio if this is something that we have to think twice about. So I’m going to put out the records that resonate with me and my life and not look back. As country artists and as an industry, we have to stay focused here and know that what’s right is right. And I believe this song is a great message and I’m proud of it.”
After his New Year’s Eve performance, Shelton saw criticism online — but he felt like it didn’t “even deserve a response.”
“That’s why I didn’t come out initially and say anything, because they’re not entitled to a response from me,” he said. “This is absolutely ridiculous.”
During the interview, Shelton added how he “related to the lyrics so much” as he struggled financially before hitting it big.
“Just like probably 95 percent of artists out there, I struggled for so long to get by. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade those times for anything,” he shared. “Those days when the big struggle was, ‘Man, do I pay my rent or my electric bill, or do I just say screw it and go buy some beer?’”
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