Now the whole country thing doesn’t really replicate it’s success overseas. Here in the UK, I don’t think there is a single soul walking about mentioning the American country scene; we’ve all heard of it and see it on the Billboard, but we always dash over it. Why do we do that? Well the quality of country music the last ten years or so, has dropped dramatically. Now all we hear are these pop-country fusions with over produced vocals and terrible lyrics; the heart is missing from country music. Brantley Gilbert however has been often cited for never keeling in to this watered down tripe that is being currently produced. He has a huge, loyal and intelligent fan base that seem to love their rustic country rock roots. So for the love of the fans, I hope this track is okay…
Well it’s not good, but there is potential. Unfortunately this track is all the things I said I didn’t want; it’s over produced, watered down, the lyrics are terrible and the instrumentation is lacking imagination. However, there is a good track underneath it’s poppy flesh. There are catchy sequences, a fun hook and guitar solo that was just about to let loose (before being cut way too short). Now I don’t know whether it was Brantley’s choice or the studios choice to go down this pop-country root, but it didn’t pay off whatsoever; his voice doesn’t suit this ball-less sound.
Production wise the track is a freaking mess. It’s all way too over produced and everything sounds manipulated. The whole organic and raw approach country usually uses, has been ripped from this tracks carcass leaving just a glossy, pop shell. The vocals sound unnatural and robotic, the transitions are over the top with studio effects bolstering a very cheesy sound, and the guitar lacks cutting edge. Brantley clearly possesses a fantastically unique tone, but it’s so watered down here that he just comes across as any other country singer. The guitar also has a sweet distortion to it, so why keep it so quiet in the mix! I want the guitar to melt my face off in a track like this, not just supply backing instrumentals/transitional instrumentals.
Musicality wise, the good stuff is all there; it’s just ruined with cheap cliches. This gruff, over-pronunciation of each word made Gilbert look like he was doing his best ZZ Top impersonation. The form of the track is a little unimaginative and lord behold… WHY DID YOU STOP THE BRIDGE?! This song builds and builds to this huge climax in the bridge and then they cut off the guitar solo short to keep the track soft again… Why? Not only does it not suit the song, but it’s also a pop trope, not a country one! The progressions aren’t particularly creative but they are functional. The drum beats pretty darn simple, but again it’s functional. The bass is just strummed slowly, but for last time, yes it’s functional. That’s my problem. Everything is functional but nothing stands out. The guitar solo (what we heard of it) is slow and weak, the drum fills are subdued and lack any explosivity and the bass just keeps to the same 8 bar routine.
Lyrically the song is dreadful. Just about every Southern American stereotype is mentioned in this track; the song makes me chuckle from a British stand point. It just felt like he was trying too hard to be this ruff and gruff biker dude, when he really came across as a poser. I think a lyrical re-evaluation is in order… The vocal delivery of the lyrics is okay, strong in parts and weak in others. When he actually sings, sure it’s great, but when he does this low, rough, ‘talky’ voice, it just sounds so cheesy.
All in all then this review is a little muddled and it was difficult to spit some words out, but we got there. I don’t really recommend this track but I guess if you’re a fan of his work, check him out. I feel no propulsion to go out and listen to anymore of his tracks which is a little sad really.
5/10 – Your standard, country-pop tripe sprinkled with some decent moments.