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Cheesecake conundrum

Country Musings by Robert Loy, March 2005

Did you happen to catch the March issue of FHM (For Him Magazine)? They have a very revealing article on the women of country music therein.

Well, maybe not an article, more like nine pages of these talented musicians provocatively posing in their bikinis and underwear, talking about the shape of their butts and how much they enjoy walking around naked. If that's not enough it's also wrapped in a fold-out cover which you can unfurl and see three of these chanteuses starting to shimmy out of their skivvies.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. These aren't your clichéd "American Idol" rejects willing to do anything to be a star. Between them, these young women have four Grammy nominations, one top 20 hit and have toured and/or recorded with everybody from Wynonna Judd to Elton John.

These are legitimate up-and-comers. But is this the best way to perk up interest in your new album? I realize this is the video age, and it's at least as important to look good as to sound good. But where does it end? Are Penthouse Pets going to get record deals because they look so good with nothing on? Are you and I going to buy them? Is Country Standard Time going to have a centerfold?

Look, I'm no prude. I subscribe to FHM, for gosh sakes, and I even bought an extra copy of this issue because my mailing label partially obscured Kerry Harvick's plummeting plaid panty. (And it just occurred to me that FHM might have done this on purpose since the UPC code on newsstand copies is not covering up anything like that.)

And if I'm honest, in the unlikely event CST does start featuring a centerfold, I already have a list of disrobed divas I'd like to see.

And maybe this kind of approach does help get the word out about music. I'll probably pick up at least one or two these singers' CDs now that I wouldn't have if I hadn't read this article because their passion for music shines through the cheesecake photos.

So does the end justify the means? Is this soft-core porn or legitimate publicity? Are these women being exploited, or is this the wave of the future and a warning for old fogies to get off the beach?

I don't know. Do you?

The views in this column are those of Robert Loy and do not necessarily reflect those of CST.