Here’s a word problem for you: What does Bro-Country minus its “Bro” equal? The answer is Chris Lane’s “For Her,” and it’s honestly a better sounding result than I expected.
Lane arrived onto the music scene with “Fix,” a slick Metropolitan track based around the overused love-as-a-drug trope, and featured such Shakespearean poetry as “I’m more than recreational” and “get you fallin’ in love at the end of the night with that good ish.” (Naturally, the song ended up being a No. 1 smash.) Both Lane’s performance and the song’s production were decent, but neither managed to overcame the absurdity of the writing. In selecting “For Her” as the follow-up single, it seems that someone at Lane’s label came to the same conclusion.
From a production standpoint, “For Her” sounds like a generic Bro-Country anthem, complete with loud guitars, synthetic beats, and the token banjo that slowly rolls along in the background. (There are hints are a steel-guitar-sounding instrument at certain points, however.) You get a strong Florida-Georgia Line vibe while listening to this song, which is surprisingly part of the song’s genius: You expect the usual objectifying, “hey girl, let’s get drunk and make out” drivel that usually comes along with songs like this, but instead the lyrics take you in an unexpected (but very welcome) direction.
It’s not the words themselves that catch your attention—the song is a standard, slightly-generic ode to the narrator’s special someone; nothing is particularly witty or clever here. Rather, it’s what not there that makes this song stand out: There are no references to sex, alcohol, or booty-shaking, and the word “girl” never appears at all. Instead, we get a more-mature (albeit a bit vague) take on love, one that focuses less on the physical aspects of romance and more on the emotional and spiritual components. It’s a surprising yet refreshing take on the Bro-Country sound, and one that I’d like to hear more of in the future.
For his part, Lane does a great job of making the song feel heartfelt and believable, and delivers a strong vocal performance that showcases his impressive range and charisma. (Seriously, Lane may have the best falsetto this side of Adam Levine.) I wasn’t sure how much staying power he would have after “Fix,” but the fact that he can pull off both the sleazy narrator of his debut single and the thoughtful one of “For Her” makes me think he’ll stick around for a while.
Overall, “For Her” is a pretty good song, and not at all what I expected from Chris Lane. If this is what the future of Bro-Country sounds like, I am totally on board with it.
Rating: 6/10. If you wrote Lane off after “Fix,” I’d suggest giving him a second chance. You may be surprised at what you hear.