We were pretty excited for the Country Music Association Awards, at least in comparison to the rest of the country awards programs that will be filling the airwaves soon. And then we heard about Taylor Swift's Pinnacle Award, which was announced on Monday.
The Pinnacle Award is the highest honor given by the CMAs, and Swift will be only the second to ever receive it. The first was Garth Brooks, for whom the award was apparently designed in lieu of giving him any more Entertainer of The Year trophies (he's got four, tied with Kenny Chesney for most all time). We've got a problem with Swift being described as "Pinnacle" when the club is this limited.
Let's clarify that our issues have nothing to do with the kind of music Swift makes; plenty of country fans argue that she's gotten too pop to be country, and we're not going to take sides on that issue. And from a sales perspective, there's a good shot she'll end up the best-selling country performer of all time. But she's 23 years old.
Again, don't get us wrong: She's done a lot in those 23 years. But throughout the history of country music, there's been a lot done in general. Consider, for example, George Strait, who's also nominated for Entertainer of The Year along with Swift. Strait will be retiring from touring after his current run, and it would be fair to say he's among the most influential musicians to the current generation of Luke Bryans and Jason Aldeans. Consider Loretta Lynn, who's been an influence on all country music performers from the mid-'60s until now. Consider Johnny Cash, who is is more beloved across genre lines than everyone outside of Jimi Hendrix. These individuals have apparently not qualified for the Pinnacle Award.
The fault here does not lie with Swift. The fault lies with the Country Music Association for devising such a prize to be awarded at the Association's will without setting any benchmarks. If anything, this somewhat meaningless award will generate more disdain for Swift amongst the genre's faithful, which she doesn't deserve. The CMAs would do everyone a favor by canceling this prize.