Blake Shelton debuted his new song "Minimum Wage" on NBC's New Year's Eve television special on Dec. 31, and the country star quickly received some backlash for the song's lyrics, particularly a chorus that reads, "Girl your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage." After Shelton debuted the song and its music video, some people on Twitter criticized him for "romanticizing" minimum wage during a global pandemic that has cost millions of people their jobs.
Speaking to CMT, The Voice coach addressed the backlash, sharing that he was "not really" surprised that people had "misunderstood" the song's lyrics. "I just feel like these days; there are people out there who don’t want to know the truth," he said. "They just want to hear what they want to hear, and they want to pick a fight. No matter what your 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."
Shelton explained that initially, he thought, "Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here." But the more he looked into the response, he "realized this was really not real."
"Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music," he 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."
When asked how he responds to the negativity, the Oklahoma native said that "it doesn't even deserve a response." "That’s why I didn’t come out initially and say anything because they’re not entitled to a response from me. This is absolutely ridiculous," he noted. "I looked after the first day when those headlines were popping up, and then for the next week after that, I didn’t see any more. It was hard to find anything negative."
"If it was something negative about me, it had to do with 'I hate Blake Shelton' because of some other reason. Most people were saying, 'I don’t get what’s so offensive about this song,'" he continued, thanking Brooks & Dunn member Ronnie Dunn for his defense of the song. "And that made me so happy that Ronnie Dunn came up and spoke out about how he puts his money on the common sense of the common hard-working people out there. And I do, too."
"Minimum Wage" is Shelton's first single since his latest duet with fiancée Gwen Stefani, "Happy Anywhere," and will be released to country radio on Friday, Jan. 15.