Wait…a country singer gets a booty call from someone, and they reject it? I guess Bro-Country really is gone for good.
Baldridge released his debut album Dirt On Us last year, but his debut single “Dance With Ya” was an awkward disco/country fusion that would have made even Thomas Rhett cringe, and it was promptly discarded by country radio after peaking at a miserable #48 on the Billboard airplay chart. To his credit, Baldridge seems to have learned from his misstep, as his follow-up single “Rebound,” while not a world beater, is at least a step (if not several) in the right direction.
Production-wise, this song is dominated by drums, first in the form of a bizarrely-effected drum machine, and then by throwing in a real drum set on the choruses. Regardless of the source, the percussion is way too loud for the mix, and it mostly drowns out the guitars that are trying to carry the melody, and makes the vocals a lot harder to understand than they should be. (The electric guitar also opens with the same strange effects as the drum machine, giving it a retro-sounding buzz that doesn’t really match the rest of the mix. ) As it is, the mix kinda-sorta sets the serious atmosphere that the song desires, but it would have been a lot more effective if the drums had been turned down a notch or three.
Vocally, Baldridge has an okay voice that bears passing resemblance to Cole Swindell, and he’s got enough charisma to sell himself as a bitter former lover with a long memory, but I wouldn’t say there’s anything terribly compelling about his tone or delivery. The song mostly confines Baldridge to his (passable) lower range, but he sounds surprisingly strong when asked to pump up his volume and emotion, so much so that I think he would better off with a song that pushed him into her upper ranges more often. For her part, Emily Weisband adds some nice harmony on the choruses, and her raspy-yet-sultry delivery is perfect for her post-chorus monologues in which she plays the role of the ex trying to convince the lead singer to let her back into his life.
The songwriting is definitely the song’s strongest selling point, as it takes the classic Bro-Country trope of a guy asking a girl for some foreplay and turn its completely on its ear. Here, it’s the narrator who’s repelling the advances of a unwanted suitor (similar to Swindlell’s “Stay Downtown”), but with the added bonus of having Weisband give the suitor a voice instead of leaving them silent as in other songs. The lyrics themselves are fairly sharp, with neat lines such as “I ain’t trippin’ over all the words that you’re throwin’ out,” and images like the appearance of a deleted-but-not-forgotten number on a cell phone. The whole package is well-crafted, and helps the song stand out from the annoying sex jams that still haunt the genre.
Overall, “Rebound” is an okay song that hints at Drew Baldridge’s potential future in country music, despite its glaring production flaws. If you turned down the drums and bumped up the song key’s a chord or two to get Baldridge into his higher range more often, this would easily be one of the better songs on the radio right now. As it is, however, it’s still a significant “Rebound” from his confusing Metro-Bro debut.
Rating: 6/10. It’s worth giving a chance to see how it make you feel.