It appears that Aaron Watson’s “Outta Style” is finally done riding its monumental wave. As of Wednesday, January 10th, “Outta Style” fell from #8 to #10 on the Mediabase chart, and considering that “Run Wild Horses” has already been announced as the next single, all signs point to its run being over. No, “Outta Style” was not ultimately a number one hit. Heck, it wasn’t even a top five single. Considering what this song had going against it though, its chart success should be seen as nothing but a victory for Aaron Watson, and possibly Country music.
Released in November of 2016, “Outta Style” seemed to be nothing more than a lead single. Sure, it was being sent to Country radio, but this wasn’t anything to get too excited about. Previous singles like “That Look” and “Bluebonnets” managed to chart, sure, but their peak positions weren’t all that surprising or revolutionary for Watson. Even at the beginning of its chart run, “Outta Style” looked to join those disappointing peaks. Aaron had the support of the Texas stations, but that was pretty much it. Over time it grew more support though after being promoted by GrassRoots Promotion as well as Big Label hiring more people for their promotional department. Texas stations were always the reason “Outta Style” kept chugging higher and higher however. Eventually the little engine that could managed to find some steam and become that hit that Aaron Watson has deserved for so long.
The only unfortunate part is that by all means, “Outta Style” probably shouldn’t have been a hit. It was radio friendly (aside from those fiddles obviously), sure, but its sales were terrible during its run. As of today (I’m writing this on Wednesday, January 10th), it was ranked #429 on iTunes.To put that into perspective, you have to get down into the top forty and fifty to find songs that AREN’T outselling it. The determination to promote this song ultimately helped it. Of course, that’s not to speak to the quality of the song. I personally don’t think it’s one of Aaron’s best and would easily say it’s one of the weakest off of Vaquero, if not the weakest. Facts however are facts. The bright side of it all is that even though radio’s method of determining what people like is completely outdated, “Outta Style” tested well throughout its run.
So what does this ultimately mean? Once again it proves that Aaron Watson was the underdog once again (his last album, The Underdog debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart in February of 2015). It also is Aaron’s first ever top ten hit. As far as bonafide facts go, it’s hard to actually go off from this. After all, the impact may not be seen until months after it actually does fall off the chart. Regardless, it shows that “hits” or even gaining prominence from the mainstream country community doesn’t always require a major label to do it. Aaron remains independent. Who knows really what this means aside from it being a moment of victory for the independent Country scene? Perhaps disgruntled fans that don’t enjoy everything on the radio were turned onto Aaron Watson and found that he’s got way more than just that one single. Perhaps that in turn helped them latch onto some other cool acts from Texas that they never knew about. If anything, it provided a much needed dose of energy and tempo for the airwaves. Perhaps even too, some artist out there is inspired to stay true to themselves as well. You never know.
Or maybe it doesn’t mean anything. After all, one single breaking through a large amount of barriers doesn’t mean that a neo-traditional revival is imminent. It also doesn’t mean that independence is going to become the new way of operating for artists. The system will remain as it is. As I said before, maybe that impact won’t be felt until much later this year or years from now. That doesn’t change the fact though that Aaron Watson did what many Country artists have tried and failed to do – keep his (or her) integrity while still attaining success. Not to get too cliched here, but the road for “Outta Style” to do anything was a long and winding one, and yet Aaron and his team stuck with it anyway because at the end of the day, even if it had gone #1, Aaron doesn’t care about attaining that continued radio success anyway. He’s got a whole career to be proud of.
Now, “Run Wild Horses” is the next single, and already I can see it drawing ire from fans. Granted, it is the most “trendy” song on the album once you cut out that pretty cool extended solo, and it does seem to negate what I just said. After all, this seems to suggest Aaron’s team want some more radio success and that they’ll release the most radio friendly song next to “Outta Style” to do it. I do think radio success is a small part of what Aaron wants, I won’t deny that. The difference here though is that even if Aaron isn’t able to catch lightning in a bottle once more, it won’t ultimately matter. We aren’t going to hear him dabble into EDM for that next album. We’re going to hear Aaron Watson be Aaron Watson.
If anything, “Outta Style”’s success provides at least a chance for fans of the artist to high five each other knowing that someone managed to do the unthinkable. I say unthinkable because Aaron Watson just proved it’s no longer impossible.