I’m fine with Kenny Chesney releasing an ode to a tropical bar in January, but I wish the song was a bit more fun than this.
Chesney has long fancied himself the modern version of Jimmy Buffett, and by now we all know what to expect from a Chesney single—namely, copious amounts of beer, beautiful women, and palm trees. You certainly can’t fault Chesney for this (after all, the man’s built a 20+ year career and made a small fortune on songs like this), but you have to wonder just how long Chesney can remain an A-list mainstream celebrity relying on this schtick. In particular, Chesney’s latest single “Bar At The End Of The World” suggests that this particular well might be running dry.
The production is standard pop-country, driven primarily by electric guitars and mostly-real percussion. The bright tone of the guitars gives the song a positive, optimistic vibe, but there isn’t a lot here that grabs the listener’s attention. The lack of island-flavored instruments like bongos and ukuleles is particularly surprising, as they would have matched the theme of the song perfectly while also adding a unique sound that could have distinguished the song from its peers.
Thematically, this song is essentially the Alolan version of Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar,” although Chesney spends more time describing the journey to the bar rather than the bar itself. The lyrics here are as dull as a butter knife, as they use bland, uninteresting imagery and lazily stretch syllables to cover gaps. Chesney himself does the song no favors by delivering a listless, slightly-awkward performance that exhibits none of the energy that his better material features. As much as Chesney lauds this supposedly-incredible bar, he doesn’t make the place sound fun enough to make me wish I was there.
Overall, “Bar At The End Of The World” is just another Kenny Chesney beach song, one that lacks the flavor or punch I expect from a happy-fun-time-at-the-beach song. We’re all looking for a taste of warm weather at this time of year, but this lukewarm track will leave you wishing you’d gotten more for your money.
Rating: 5/10. If your ears are itching for an island getaway, check out Chesney’s “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem” instead.