Song Review: Seth Ennis, “Woke Up In Nashville”

Yawn. Seth Ennis may have woke up in Nashville, but he’s putting me to sleep in Texas.

Ennis is fairly new to the mainstream country scene, having only recently signed a deal with Arista Nashville. Newer artists tend to play it safe with their first few releases, but their first single has to do something to announce their arrival, and make people sit up and pay attention, “Woke Up In Nashville” is…well, it just is. There are intriguing pieces here, but they don’t come together well enough to make Ennis stand out in the country music crowd.

The production starts out as a piano-driven melody, and bears a slight sonic resemblance to Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day.” Unlike Powter’s tune, however, “Woke Up In Nashville” doesn’t seem to build any momentum or energy as it progresses, and winds up setting a low-energy, almost sleepy tone. Doing more with the song’s drums and synthetic beats might have helped, and having more instruments to drive the melody besides the plodding, methodical piano would have been nice, but as it is, the music doesn’t do enough to capture the audience’s attention.

Ennis has a decent voice that reminds me a little bit of Hunter Hayes, and to his credit, he’s trying really hard to cover for the production and inject some energy and emotion into the song. There’s something missing in his delivery, however, and whether it’s the emotion of someone like Hayes or the vocal texture of a Drake White, Ennis isn’t quite able to engage the listener and compel them to keep listening.

The songwriting is okay here, although there are a couple of lines that are broken in awkward places across the song’s measures, and the topic of a guy who leaves his lover to pursue his dreams (only to realize the decision was a mistake) is at least one that I haven’t heard covered in a while. That said, when combined with the underwhelming production and unremarkable vocal delivery, the lyrics aren’t strong enough to break the song out of its malaise.

Overall, “Woke Up In Nashville” is a song that doesn’t quite fulfill its potential, and leaves no real impression on the listener when it’s finished. Ennis has good reason to question his decision to pursue his dreams of music stardom, because without more-compelling material to back him up, he won’t be waking up in Nashville for long.

Rating: 5/10. It’s background music and nothing else.

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