Song Review: Michael Ray, “Get To You”

*sigh* I wasn’t looking forward to this review, but with “Get To You” officially in the Mediabase Top 50, I can’t put it off any longer.

I’ll be honest: I consider Michael Ray to be the absolute worst artist in country music today, and my opinion of him has only dropped with every single release. “Kiss You In The Morning” was generic Bro-Country, “Real Men Love Jesus” was an antiquated, out-of-touch ode to stereotypical male behavior, and “Think A Little Less” is a creepy, disgusting pile of garbage (the song boils down to “stop resisting and get in my bed”) that’s in the conversation for the worst song I’ve EVER heard. (Had I started this blog early enough to review it, it would have earned a flat 0/10.) Needless to say, I was very apprehensive when I saw “Get To You” appear on the charts, but I was duty bound to give it a listen, so I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and hit play….

…actually, this song is surprisingly tolerable. Forgettable, but tolerable.

The production here is your standard modern pop-country mix, with an electric guitar carrying the melody, a steel guitar providing some background atmosphere, and (mostly) real drums keeping time. The overall sound is very spacious, giving the vocals space on the verses before swelling up for the chorus (unlike the Zac Brown Band’s “Roots,” this track does a decent job building and releasing energy), and the track leans on minor chords to set a somber, serious tone. Ultimately, the production here is fine, but it lacks that special something to make the song feel unique or memorable.

I have to admit, Ray does a decent Chris Young impersonation with his vocal performance on this track. Ray’s voice isn’t a great fit for the track, however, as the song constraints him to his lower registers where he sounds a bit rougher and doesn’t seem to be as comfortable. He’s much better when the choruses allow him to stretch into his upper range, and the falsetto he closes the choruses with actually sounds pretty good. The biggest thing, however, is that Ray doesn’t sound nearly as sleazy as he does on his past singles, demonstrating enough charisma to come off as a concerned human being rather than a meatheaded, sex-crazy bro. There’s a believability here that I didn’t think Ray could pull off, and makes me wonder if he might actually have a future in the post-Bro era.

The lyrics here describe a narrator trying to to understand why a woman is so reluctant to commit to a relationship, and trying to figure out what to do to “get to you.” (To be honest, if I was a woman and my only romantic option was Mr. “Think A Little Less,” I’d “run away, run away from love” too.) There’s no outright misogyny here, but the narrator does feel a little pushy in his demands for a reason why the relationship is ending, and seems a little too sure that the woman will eventually fall in love with someone again. (Have you considered that the woman is just not that into you, and is letting you down easy with the old “it’s not you, it’s me” line?) To his credit, Ray keeps the narrator from feeling overbearing or offensive, but in the end, there’s not a lot here to keep the listener paying attention. Frankly, I’ve heard this song done before and done better (see: Thomas Rhett’s “The Day You Stop Lookin’ Back”).

Overall, “Get To You” isn’t a great song (or even a good song), but I can listen to it without my gag reflex triggering, and for Michael Ray, that’s progress. He proves that he can pull off an empathic narrator here, and if he can get some better writing and more interesting production behind him, maybe I’ll stop getting queasy whenever I see him on the charts.

Rating: 5/10. It’s radio filler, but at least it won’t make you turn the radio off in disgust.