Blake Shelton, the country music superstar and longest-tenured coach on The Voice, premiered his new song, “Minimum Wage” in December 2020 and officially released it in early January. The song instantly received backlash from fans and listeners with some calling it tone-deaf.
The song was written about Shelton’s love for his fiance, Gwen Stefani.
“Girl, your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage,” Shelton croons at one time during the ballad. People took to social media to express their takes on the song, and Shelton has now responded to the backlash he received.
Shelton Says People Who Criticized the Song Don’t Listen to Country Music
Speaking with CMT, Shelton defended the song and talked about why he knew what it was like to work on minimum wage, as he worked as a roofer and painter.
“If I was making minimum wage back then, it was barely minimum wage,” he shared. “But at the same time, I was super young, and just needed what I needed to get by.”
He said that he did whatever he had to do in order to be a singer, but he wasn’t surprised there were people who were upset by the lyrics.
“No matter what the 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 said. “With ‘Minimum Wage’ at first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I’ve just missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real.”
He added, “Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music. 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.”
Shelton said that “if that’s offensive to you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
Some Fans Said the Song Was ‘Tone-Deaf’
After Shelton released the song on New Year’s Eve, fans took to Twitter to say that the singer is a millionaire and shouldn’t be singing about what it’s like to live on minimum wage, especially since so many people are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Blake Shelton singing ‘your love could make a man feel rich on minimum wage’ just cements the fact that rich people have absolutely no f***ing clue,” one user tweeted.
Other people thought the song would be fine if it had been released another time.
“I wish he wrote more of his own music because he’s an incredible songwriter,” one person wrote. “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.”
“Does anyone else find Blake Shelton’s ‘Minimum Wage’ song to be incredibly tone-deaf to our country’s current state?” one person wrote after watching his performance.
Replies to the original tweet were mixed, with some people saying that the song may have been tone-deaf and others saying it’s just a song and wasn’t meant to be taken the way that it has been.
In his interview with CMT, Shelton shared the reason he initially didn’t respond to the backlash was that he didn’t think that people were “entitled to a response” from him and it was “absolutely ridiculous.”