If nothing else, “Body Like A Back Road” cements Sam Hunt as the class clown of country music, determined to push the boundaries to see just how much he can get away with before he gets caught.
For everything that Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida-Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, etc. have done, no one takes more flack for “destroying” country music than Sam Hunt. This is because while most artists at least make a token attempt to “sound country,” Hunt instead flips a long, stiff bird at the establishment, and doesn’t even try to conform to traditional standards. Listeners have responded favorably to Hunt’s unorthodox style and rewarded him with four No.1 hits off of his debut album Montevallo, emboldening Hunt to take another step beyond the usual boundaries with the leadoff single for his second album, “Body Like A Back Road.”
The production heroes is surprisingly minimal, but what is here sounds like a turn-of-the-millennium R&B song than anything else, complete with synthetic hand snaps/claps, electric guitar stabs (whose tones call to mind Rhett’s “Star Of The Show”), and people shouting “Hey!” rhythmically in the background. The song sets a poor tone at the opening with some bizarre synth sounds that never reappear again, and some steel guitar is thrown in at random times, but unless you’re a country purist, there’s nothing terribly offensive here.
To his credit, Hunt ditches his usual talk/sing style and mostly sticks to singing here. His raspy vocal tones suit the tone of this song fairly well, and while Hunt isn’t the most proficient vocalist in the world, he’s able to convene his affection for the women that he’s sings about. Again, if you don’t reflexively recoil from Hunt’s material, it’s a passable delivery.
Where this song falls flat on its face is in its lyrics: This is a guy ogling his girl and describing his sex life with her, and no amount of clever metaphor use can hide that fact. While the writing actually has some wit to it (Exhibit A: “me and her go way back like Cadillac seats”), most of it is wasted on Florida-Georgia-Line-level innuendo like “on the highway to heaven, just south of her smile.” Apparently Hunt and his co-writers didn’t get the memo about Bro-Country falling out of fashion. The lyrics wear on your ears like a cheese grater, and the so-so production and vocals do nothing to ease the pain.
Overall, “Body Like A Back Road” is a mediocre song with garbage lyrics, and is further proof that Hunt will be doing his own thing regardless of the rest of the industry. While this devil-may-care approach has worked out for Hunt so far, this song is a bridge too far for me, and I wonder how many other listeners will feel the same way.
Rating: 4/10. It’s not really worth your time.