Fans have been waiting for Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage” backlash response ever since listeners began criticizing the song’s lyrics for being “tone-deaf.” But the country singer, 44, doesn’t see a problem with his new single.
The Voice coach premiered the song on Friday, January 1, during a New Year’s performance. But in the days since, social media users have slammed Shelton for romanticizing poverty on “Minimum Wage.” Many point to lyrics like, “Your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage,” as being insensitive after a year where the U.S. unemployment rate reached record highs. Shelton—who recently got engaged to Gwen Stefani—has since spoken out in defense of his song, saying that he can only “agree to disagree” with its critics.
During an appearance on iHeart Radio’s The Bobby Bones Show on Friday, January 15, the country singer said that “If you can find something offensive about this song, you’re just looking for a fight, or you’re not a country music fan to begin with.” While many critics have called out Shelton for writing “Minimum Wage” despite his net worth as a multi-millionaire, he explained during Friday’s appearance that he does know what it’s like to struggle financially.
“I roofed houses in Ada, Oklahoma, and it may have been more than minimum wage now that I think about it,” he said. “I think I made $8 an hour, and I feel like way back then minimum wage might’ve been $6 an hour. I stepped right into the big money roofing houses.”
Speaking to CMT the day before, Shelton explained that these were days “when the big struggle was, ‘Man, do I pay my rent or my electric bill, or do I just say screw it and go buy some beer?’”
Shelton also told CMT that the song was intended as “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.” He continued, claiming that critics are missing the point. “They just want to hear what they want to hear, and they want to pick a fight,” Shelton said. “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.”
“That’s why I didn’t come out initially and say anything, because they’re not entitled to a response from me,” he added. “This is absolutely ridiculous.” And the end of the day, Shelton still thinks the song has a “great message” and says he’s “proud of it.”