Song Review: Kip Moore, “Last Shot”

Love can be an awfully hard thing to verbalize sometimes, but if “Last Shot” is the best Kip Moore can do to express his feelings, he’d be better off keeping his mouth shut.

I was ambivalent about Moore’s last single “More Girls Like You,” but the track resonated enough with country radio to score a #4 airplay peak and end Moore’s four-year dry spell. Now, Moore’s team has decided to release “Last Shot” as the second single from his new Slowheart album, a song that tries to tackle the age-old question of how a man can express his love for a woman. However, both Moore and the song fail spectacularly here, and the song winds up being cringeworthy instead of romantic.

Moore’s production has generally lived on the rockier side of country, and “Last Shot” is no exception. The track pairs a spacious electric guitar with a prominent drum set (and by “prominent,” I mean “it’s basically all you hear during the verses”), and tosses an organ into the background to add some atmosphere on the chorus. The guitar tones are fairly dark here, and team up with frequent minor chords to set a serious tone that kinda-sorta fits with the writing. Unfortunately, the slow tempo and sparse mix don’t generate a lot of energy, and while the percussion does its job well, none of the other instruments bother to match the drums’ intensity. As a result, the song just plods boringly along and puts its listeners to sleep. The worst part, however, is that this is actually the best part of the song.

Brantley Gilbert may sound rough, Jon Pardi may sound nasal, and RaeLynn may sound “flat and toneless,” but Kip Moore is hands-down the worst vocalist in country music. His voice is rougher than a mile of sandpaper, and listening to him sing is like hearing someone drag a shovel across a sidewalk. It’s a crying shame, because Moore is actually pretty charismatic, and sounds honest and believable in the narrator’s role. However, being honest and believable means nothing if you leave your listeners holding their ears in pain and begging you to stop and have a throat lozenge or ten.

The lyrics tell the tale of a narrator who doesn’t consider “love” a strong enough word to describe his feelings for his partner, and instead tries to use a series of metaphors to do the job. I’ve never been a fan of songs like this (for example, I though Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee” just sounded ridiculous), and this track takes the concept to a new low. Phrases like “If you were my last breath, I’d just wanna hold ya” or saying that inhaling them would leave you “floating round high as the Colorado sky” aren’t romantic in the slightest, and “swirl[ing] you around and around” like a “last shot of whiskey” is more “Ew.” than “Ooh.” I know that talking about love can be hard for some people, but there are much better ways to approach the topic than resorting to bizarre comparisons. (For example, Toby Keith’s “Me Too” is a much better song on every level.)  Combine this sort of writing with so-so production and a terrible vocal delivery, and you don’t have a song—you have a problem.

“Last Shot” is a track with no redeeming characteristics (aside from “it’s not Dustin Lynch”), and leaves me pining even for the mediocrity of “More Girls Like You.” I’ll be honest, Mr. Moore: If this is the best you can do when it comes to talking about romance, then as Keith Whitley might say, “you say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Rating: 3/10. No thank you.