Blake Shelton wrapped up 2020 by premiering a new song and music video, "Minimum Wage," on NBC's New Year's Eve television special.
The Oklahoma-born country singer tells of his love for Gwen Stefani with a chorus that goes: "Girl, your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage / Girl, your love is money."
Even if the country music star meant no ill will with this analogy, many on social media found Shelton's lyrics to be out of touch at a time when COVID-19 (the coronavirus pandemic) still leaves many businesses closed or operating at a limited capacity and many Americans under- or unemployed and struggling to pay rent.
"Does anyone else find Blake Shelton's 'Minimum Wage' song to be incredibly tone deaf to our country's current state?," wrote one Twitter user.
"The irony of listening to a millionaire Blake Shelton singing about 'love on minimum wage' at the end of 2020 might be lost on its target audience," adds another Twitter user.
Even relatively positive reactions to the new song question its timing.
"I wish he wrote more of his own music because he's an incredible song writer," read one fan's Tweet. "There's a time for songs like 'Minimum Wage' but it isn't now. It's not relatable. People are out of work due to the pandemic. They're fighting for their livelihoods as businesses are forced to close."
Defenders of Shelton's song include fellow Oklahoma-born songwriter Ronnie Dunn.
"Now, they want to attack country singers for being successful," Dunn wrote on Facebook. "I slept on a mattress on the floor in a musician friend's spare bedroom and played BEER JOINTS / DIVE BARS for years before I ever made a $100. Most country singers pay dues and go through things to become successful that no sane human being would."
The ?beef? is yet another of those misguided social issue (cultural scams) that are concocted to further divide this...
Shelton broke his silence about the song in a Jan. 14 interview with CMT.
"Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don't know anything about country music," Shelton said. "They 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. 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."
Other songs resulting from Shelton and Stefani's romance include the hit duets "Nobody But You" and "Happy Anywhere."
Shelton told the New Year's Eve special's host, Carson Daly, that the "Minimum Wage" music video was directed by Stefani's brother, Todd.
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