Only a select few can wear the title of The Greatest: Ali, Jordan, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, etc. No offense to LANco, but the song formerly known as “American Love Story” hasn’t quite earned the rights to its new name.
LANco has been around for a few years, but doesn’t have a lot of released material to show for it (basically one-and-a-half EPs, given how much material the second cannibalized from the first). The group’s biggest claim to fame up to now was having this song featured in a Netflix TV show, as their first single “Long Live Tonight” topped out at a paltry #32 on Billboard’s airplay chart. “Greatest Love Story” is the group’s second attempt at chart success, and while I think the title oversells the track a little bit (“Slightly Above-Average Love Story” would have been more appropriate), it’s nice to know that cheesy romantic ballads finally appear to have a place on the radio again.
The song’s production is surprisingly minimalist and mostly made up of acoustic elements (guitars, drums, and a slow-rolling banjo), with a light, bright electric guitar giving the song some spacious atmosphere during the choruses. (The use of the banjo here deserves special praise, as it feels like an integral part of the production rather than a token ‘country’ instrument like on Bro-Country tracks.) The tempo and tone of the mix do a good job matching the lyrical content, and the whole thing is actually plenty pleasant to listen to.
While I wasn’t exactly bowled over by lead singer Brandon Lancaster’s vocals (he reminds me a little of Train frontman Pat Monahan), he does a good job capturing the youthful spirit of the song’s narrator. The song’s construction keeps Lancaster well within him comfort zone, but also keeps him from showcasing whatever range or flow he might have. Thankfully, he has enough vocal charisma to come across as sincere and believable, which allows him to sell the song’s story.
The story itself, however, is a little vague and generic, and the lyrics fall into a common trap for romantic ballads like these: Using broad, bland imagery in an attempt to connect with as many people as possible, at the cost of being too shallow to leave any real impact on the listener. The tale of young lovers separating and eventually rekindling their love is as old as time itself, and while it’s kinda-sorta d’awww-inducing, it just doesn’t include enough detail to really hit home for a lot of people. The song is all breadth and no depth, and is overly reliant on Lancaster’s salesmanship to draw in listeners.
Overall, “Greatest Love Story” isn’t really all that great or memorable, but it’s okay, and that’s all that it needs to be for now. There’s enough here to suggests LANco has some future potential, and I’m curious to see whether radio picks up on this one or leaves it behind.
Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a listen or two to see how it makes you feel.