Song Review: Kane Brown, “Lose It”

Hold up…did Kane Brown just do Jason Aldean better than Aldean does?

Brown might be one of country music’s most polarizing artists, but with his last two singles (“What Ifs,” “Heaven”) topping Billboard’s country airplay charts, even his detractors have to acknowledge his position as an established artist in the genre. I’ve never had a terribly strong opinion either way on Brown, but I have noticed that his releases have drifted towards a more ‘conventional’ sound over time, and that trend continues with “Lose It,” the leadoff single for his eventual second album. It’s a hard-driving country-rock blend that gives off more of a classic Aldean vibe than a Metro-Bro one, and even tosses in a bit of raw sensual energy (much like Aaron Watson’s “Run Wild Horses”) for good measure.

The production opens in a similar fashion to Aldean’s “She’s Country,” with a prominent bass drum, kinda-token banjo, and even some drawn-out notes on a fiddle (!). The big difference, however, is the dark, serious tone of the instruments, giving the song a sense of danger and foreboding that “She’s Country” actively avoids (despite the fact that Aldean’s song features minor chords more prominently than Brown’s). The mix gets a bit more conventional as it goes along (adding some in-your-face electric guitars and a drum machine on the choruses and bridge solo), but that foreboding tone never goes away, coming together with the lyrics to generate the same sort of restrained-but-raw passion that Watson brought to bear in “Run Wild Horses.” The main difference between Watson’s tune and “Lose It” is where the song draws it energy from: Watson himself delivered much of the passion for his song, whereas it’s the production (especially the electric guitars) that provide much of the power on this track. Nevertheless, it’s a nice mix with a head-bobbing groove, and it’s not something I’d object to hearing on the radio.

I’m admittedly a little torn on Brown’s vocal performance on this track. Most of his songs up to this point have used plumbed the depths of Brown’s deep voice and used it as a selling point for the track, and while he never sounded quite as comfortable at that range as singers like Josh Turner, it was certainly something that made Brown’s singles more unique and less generic. “Lose It,” however, keeps Brown mostly in his voice’s upper range, and while he sounds much more comfortable in this area, his voice loses a bit of its distinctive tone and causes him to sound like just another generic male country singer (actually, he reminds me a lot of Granger Smith, except Brown is more believable and charismatic). Otherwise, there isn’t a lot to say here: Brown’s flow is fine, he does a nice job filling the narrator’s shoes, and he comes across as passionate without feeling sleazy or creepy. I’m just not sure he and his team has found the optimal balance of tone and comfort with his voice just yet.

The writing here is very similar to Jordan Davis’s “Take It From Me”: Guy is smitten with girl, guy asks girl about an impromptu makeout session. However, while I detested Davis’s track, I didn’t mind the lyrics here all that much. What’s the difference?

  • Unlike the impromptu meeting between Davis and the object of his affection, the story here places the narrator and their partner in a car heading off towards a party. Setting aside the tired “evening driving” trope, the scene at least indicates that the characters knew each other beforehand and had some prior relationship (perhaps even a romantic one).
  • The “lose it” isn’t the strongest hook in the world, but it’s tolerable, and it helps provide some of the details that set the scene (which Davis’s song lacked): The “little ringing buzzing good-for-nothin’ phone,” the bobby pins in the woman’s hair (didn’t see that coming), etc.
  • While Davis spends the chorus hammering home a message of “let’s go have sex already!”, Brown instead focuses on how the woman affects his mind (i.e., makes him “lose it”). It may not seem like a major difference, but given how often the last few lines of the chorus are repeated, it has an outsized affect on how the song is received.

We should also acknowledge the role of the song’s other pieces: Unlike Davis’s bland production and unconvincing vocals, the sound here has some real bite to it, and Brown demonstrates enough vocal chops to keep the track out of the gutter.

“Lose It” is an interesting example of the fine line between a good song and a bad one. Take a run-of-the-mill Bro hookup song, tweak a few details to move the focus away from the sex slightly, back it with intriguing production with some energy, and hand it to a singer who has enough skill to elevate the song, and suddenly you’ve got a song that’s tolerable, and perhaps even enjoyable. I still don’t have a terribly strong opinion on Brown, but I’m okay with him sticking around a while longer.

Rating: 6/10. Give it a listen and see what you think.