When faced with a problem, you have two options: You can do something about it, or you can sit back and enjoy your view of the world burning. Unfortunately, on “Just A Phase,” Adam Craig chose the latter.
Craig has been kicking around Nashville since 2004, and while he’s managed to get a few songwriting credits on some more-prominent singers’ albums (including Parmalee’s 2014 Top 5 hit “Close Your Eyes”), he didn’t get a chance to step into the spotlight until 2016 with his self-titled EP and debut single “Reckon,” which performed so well that Billboard doesn’t even have a record of it in its database. Undeterred, Craig released “Just A Phase” as his follow-up single from the EP, and while it’s already cracked the Top 50 on Mediabase and Billboard, I don’t see it being remembered any more than its predecessor.
The production here is very sparse and restrained, and frames the song as a slow-groove R&B tune. The song opens with a quiet electric guitar keeping time (it reminds me a little bit of Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color”), and gradually adds brighter guitars and a drum set, as well as a piano keeping time in the background. Instead of building volume and energy as it goes along, however, the track just plods along lazily, projecting an easygoing vibe that unfortunately fits the song a little too well.
Vocally, Craig sounds like a carbon copy of Billy Currington, with the exact same range, flow, and delivery. Currington is a decent vocalist in his own right and isn’t the worst person in the world to sound like…except that he’s an established veteran with a sizable discography and who’s still active today (in fact, he’s on the verge of cracking the Top 30 with “Do I Make You Wanna” at this very moment). There’s nothing about Craig’s vocals that make him stand out in his own right, which means he runs the risk of being overshadowed even if the song does well. People will just wonder why Currington has two songs on the charts at the same time!
My biggest problem with “Just A Phase,” however, are the lyrics and theme. The narrator here is in a relationship with a woman that he is absolutely certain is doomed to fail, and that said woman will soon realize that this whole thing is “just a phase.” Question for you, Craig: If you think this relationship is destined to crash and burn, why don’t you, oh, I don’t know, do something about it? You could analyze the reasons why this whole thing is doomed and take steps to address those reasons before everything collapses, or end the whole thing right now to let both of you get on with your lives and find relationships that are more sustainable. Instead, the narrator chooses a third option: He throws up his hands, puts up his feet, and decides to milk the relationship for all that it’s worth until it ends. Consequently, the narrator comes off as lazy and self-centered, someone that’s more inclined to take the easy way out than put in the time and effort to make things work. It’s an infuriating attitude, and no amount of R&B or Billy Currington can redeem it.
Overall, “Just A Phase” is a mediocre song that gets dragged down by the uncaring nature of its narrator. I’m sure Adam Craig isn’t as bad a guy as the character he portrays, but if he doesn’t come up with some stronger, less-irritating material next time, he runs the risk of his career ending up the same way as the relationship in this song.
Rating: 4/10. It’s not worth your time.