Blake Shelton’s new song “Minimum Wage,” released as a New Year’s Eve treat for his fans, is getting major backlash over its central message, a refrain of “your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage.” The song is reportedly an ode to fiancée Gwen Stefani, who recently agreed to marry the country singer after five years of dating, and to be fair, the duo have sung about the theme of not needing anything except each other’s love on duets like “Happy Anywhere.” That being said, with their respective $100 million and $150 million net worths, fans are less than thrilled with Shelton engaging in this fantasy world. And Stefani’s new music video for “Let Me Reintroduce Myself,” also released in the new year, seems to be comically at odds with Shelton’s message.
Here’s how Stefani’s video starts: “Google, call Steve Berman,” she commands her Google home device in a seamless moment of product placement that likely came with its own paycheck. “Hi. I’m totally freaking out and please don’t hate me, but we’re going to need some more money for this video.”
Music producer Steve Berman’s response? “You got it! Sending you [construction noise] dollars.”
Stefani thanks him profusely, walks over to stage, and sings a song in her most iconic outfits of all time. And here’s the thing: this is what we’re used to seeing from stars, especially musicians, and even especially a musician like Stefani, whose 2004 hit “Rich Girl” is all about the designer goods and luxury items she wants to buy. Truthfully, Stefani’s new music video is a good time. It’s only when compared with fiancé Shelton’s lyrics like “you can make a one bed room apartment / feel like a house up on the hill” that we start to cringe.
While country songs undoubtedly skew toward referencing a different kind of culture, Shelton’s particular message — that the difference between being happy or unhappy with a minimum-wage job is really just dependent on your mindset, despite the fact that one 2018 study from MIT, among many others, found that “the minimum wage does not provide a living wage for most American families.”
If Shelton doesn’t want to take all that on, which many will argue country stars shouldn’t, that’s fine too. But he shouldn’t be naming songs “Minimum Wage” and writing lyrics like he knows anything about it — especially at a time when so many American families face unemployment, debt, and severe financial distress. Knowing Shelton, we’re hoping he’ll realize this misstep and commit himself to getting it right.
Before you go, click here to see our favorite country music couples.
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