If I were to sum up this song in a word, it would be safe.
Blake Shelton’s got a lot going for him in life these days: a career as an A-list country superstar, a side gig as a judge on the hit TV show The Voice, and a happy relationship with fellow Voice judge and pop superstar Gwen Stefani. However, when Shelton’s last single “She’s Got A Way With Words” (which many people interpreted as a swipe at ex-wife Miranda Lambert) broke a string of seventeen (!) consecutive No. 1 hits by peaking at #7, one had to wonder if time and controversy (he’s 40 in the young man’s town that is Nashville, and he’s taken a lot of flak for his hateful tweets and high-profile split with Lambert) had finally caught up to him. Shelton’s team was apparently thinking the same thing, judging by their latest single choice “A Guy With A Girl.”
The production here is right out of the standard 00s-era pop country playbook: generic electric guitars driving the song, some steel guitar filling space in the background, and some actual drums keeping time—in other words, there’s no trace of any polarizing Bro-Country or Metropolitan influences here. At the same time, however, there’s nothing overly compelling about the music that might draw in a neutral listener.
Similarly, there isn’t a whole lot to this song lyrically: The narrator spends the whole song marveling about how is woman is so darn awesome that it makes people ignore him completely. Unlike the bitter resentment that permeated “She’s Got A Way With Words,” “A Guy With A Girl” is all about being positive and celebratory. Shelton furthers this notion with a perfect vocal delivery that is full of wide-eyed wonder at the way this woman draws attention and how she makes people react. While there’s an underlying trace of smug satisfaction in the words (as if the narrator is winking to other guys and saying “yeah, she’s excellent, and she’s mine”), Shelton’s tone and his charisma—he’s just so darn believable!—effectively sanitize the song and makes this a non-issue.
Overall, this song is okay, Shelton’s fans will find a lot to like here, and it might even start a new streak of No. 1s for him. To me, though, this song is the sonic equivalent of the prevent defense, and I don’t see myself going out of my way to listen to it…or remembering it existed in a few months.
Rating: 5/10. Try it before you buy it.