Remember back in the the 90s, when we all thought Garth Brooks was destroying country music? My, how times have changed.
Back in his day, Brooks was the unquestioned king of country music, deftly blending rock sounds and theatrics with a classic country sound that ruffled a few feathers and sold millions of records. An eight-year self-imposed hiatus, however, completely wrecked all the momentum that he had, and he’s spent the better part of a decade trying unsuccessfully to reclaim his throne. His latest attempt is “Let’s Lay Down And Dance,” a single that co-opts the popular Metropolitan sound that a number of lesser artists have rode to fame…and I have to say, this old dog might still have a few new tricks left after all.
The song’s production is…well, it’s exactly what you might imagine a Brooks foray into Metropolitan music would sound like. It has a light, breezy foundation similar to his 2001 hit “Wrapped Up In You,” with a rollocking guitar and groovy modern (but real!) percussion added for flavor. Instead of going for a super-sexy vibe as Love And Theft tried (and failed) to pull off, however, Brooks wisely opts for a playful, energetic tone, and pulls it off perfectly with his smooth delivery and easy charm. I don’t know about the whole “lay down” thing, but this song definitely nails the “dance” part.
Lyrically, there’s nothing terribly complicated about this song: The narrator is asking their significant other if they would like to engage in a little foreplay. While other singers (like, say, Jake Owen) might ruin a song like this with unnecessary slime and creepiness, Brooks pulls off the impressive job of taking a sex jam and sanitizing it to the point that it comes off as not only inoffensive, but remarkably fun to listen to. This dude didn’t become one of the best-selling artists of all time by accident.
Overall, “Baby Let’s Lay Down And Dance” is the best example of an artist blending a contemporary trend with their traditional sound since Brad Paisley released Moonshine In The Trunk. If this is a taste of what Garth’s current comeback is going to look like, then he’d better save me a seat on the bandwagon.
Rating: 8/10. Garth never makes it easy for people to access his music, but I’d encourage people to check this one out. It’s totally worth it.