Wait, so radio is getting another midtempo, acoustic-based, pensive song involving conflicting emotions? I’m okay with this, but I’m not sure how many other people will be.
Walker McGuire is a Midwest-based duo who have already built up a substantial fanbase via streaming services and…an appearance on the “Big D and Bubba” show? (And I thought Carly Pearce had a unique “discovery” story.) “Til Tomorrow” is the pair’s first official release to country radio, and I’m admittedly a little torn about it: While the fact that the genre landscape has shifted enough to make this song feel generic is a net positive…it still means that this song doesn’t stick out from the crowd much.
Production-wise, this song follows the in-vogue pop-country template: Real drums for the foundation, an acoustic guitar to carry the melody, steel guitar accents for authenticity, an electric guitar to spice up the mix and add a brief instrumental break, and a slightly-dark tone to reflect the seriousness the subject matter. (If there’s any synthetic production here, it’s hidden deep in the background and isn’t noticeable.) It’s the sort of mix that I’ve heard quite a bit of lately, and while it’s enjoyable enough, it doesn’t really stick with me after the song’s over. I kind of wish the producer has worked in a less-common instrument to make the sound a bit more unique—for example, the fiddle hasn’t returned to prominence the way the steel guitar has, so adding it here might have been an easy way to diversify the mix.
Lead singer Jordan Walker is a capable vocalist whose voice bears a slight resemblance to 90s one-hit-wonder Ty England. His delivery demonstrates decent tone, range, and charisma, and he does a good job in the role of a heartbroken-and-self-aware narrator. I’m not completely sold on the duo’s vocal chemistry, however, as Walker and Johnny McGuire have very similar voices that don’t always blend effectively when they harmonize. Still, while the singers don’t really stand out from their radio contemporaries, I’d argue that they compare favorably with them (and honestly, I’d much rather listen to Walker McGuire than Florida-Georgia Line).
Thematically, “Til Tomorrow” is the story of someone who is finally getting out of the house after a breakup and enjoying a night on the town. Unfortunately, the song is running upstream against two major issues:
- The “drinking to forget” idea has been done to death in country music.
- “Til Tomorrow” is going up against some serious competition in this same lane—namely, Jason Aldean’s soon-to-be chart topper “Any Ol’ Barstool” and Midland’s fast-rising “Drinkin’ Problem.”
To its credit, the song differentiates itself from Aldean’s defiance and Midland’s acceptance by taking the mindful middle ground: Sure, the narrator knows the pain isn’t going away, but at least the night’s revelry will force it into a brief, enjoyable hiatus. Unfortunately, the songwriting comes off as lazy at certain points (“I’ll worry about the morning in the morning?” Really?), and while the production mostly threads the needle with its tone between the highs of the night and the anticipated lows of the morning, it seems to favor its darker tones a bit more, which makes you question whether or not the narrator is really enjoying his night out as much as he claims. For a debut single that needs to stand out amongst its peers, it end up getting overshadowed by its stronger competition.
Overall, I like “Til Tomorrow,” but I wish I liked it a lot more. It’s a decent song that teases the future potential of Walker McGuire, but it’s also a bit too generic to make the kind of radio impact that a new act needs. Luckily for the duo, Aldean’s single will be winding down soon and the winds of change within the genre are at their back, so there’s an opening coming for a song like this to make an impact. I’m just not sure this track is strong enough to capitalize on it.
Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a few listens, but I’m not sure it will stick with you very long.