Song Review: Brad Paisley, “Today”

Need a song for your upcoming wedding, graduation, or special event? Have no fear: Brad Paisley’s got you covered.

Looking to rebound from the underperforming closing single “Country Nation” from his album Moonshine In The Trunk, Paisley teamed up with pop superstar Demi Lovato to produce the steamy anger-love ballad “Without A Fight”…which ended up performing worse than “Country Nation” (topping out at #16 compared to “Nation”‘s #12). Having back-to-back singles stall in the teens had to be a sharp blow to Paisley, given that his average single peak up to that point was #4, so it looks like he and his team have decided to regroup and push out another single, “Today,” before releasing his next album.

Production-wise, this song is a stark departure from Moonshine In The Trunk‘s blend of synthetic and real instruments. “Today” (and “Without A Fight,” for that matter) sound 100% organic, and “Today” is especially unafraid to show it off (forget the fiddle and steel guitar for a moment—this song opens with a freaking mandolin. When was the last time you heard a mandolin on country radio?) Stylistically, this song sounds like a track off of 2007’s 5th Gear, with a little bit of “Perfect Storm” (Paisley’s last No. 1) thrown in for good measure. However, while the song does a nice job building momentum before exploding into the crescendo, it seems to lack the punch of “Storm,” mostly because the bass line is pretty limp (not even plugging in into my subwoofer-backed speakers helped).

Vocally, Paisley once again demonstrates that he’s one of the best in the business. He has no trouble climbing the ladder to reach the high notes, but has enough range to cover the low notes, all while showing enough charisma to make you believe what he’s saying.

That said, while you certainly feel that the song is moving him…it didn’t move me quite as much. The song looks to cause the listener to recall the super-special moments in their life—weddings, childbirth, long-awaited reunions—and the lyrics are intentionally left generic and vague to cover most any emotional moment it might bring to mind. It strives to hit the listener straight in the feels, but if an emotional memory doesn’t immediately spring to the listener’s mind, the song only lands a glancing blow, even after multiple playthroughs. The song can’t quite stand out on its own—it needs a special moment to properly connect with the listener, and when it doesn’t have it, it’s just a song.

Overall, I like a lot of things about this track, but it doesn’t connect with me on a deep emotional level like it wants to.

Rating: 7/10. I recommend you close your eyes, listen to the song once and twice, and see where it takes you before deciding whether or not to purchase it.

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