With a voice like Brett Eldredge’s, he should never sound this boring.
For such a powerful vocalist, Eldredge’s hold on country music stardom feels a lot more tenuous than it should be. The “Somethin’ I’m Good At” experiment (despite being a great song) fell flat on the radio and didn’t crack Billboard’s Top 20, and while “The Long Way” earned a respectable #3 peak, it generated neither the sales nor the buzz of his Bring You Back and Illinois singles (five #1’s and a #2 from 2012 to 2016). Now, Eldredge has returned with “Love Someone,” the third single from his self-titled album, and while it’s got an distinct-enough sound to pique your interest, it minimizes its best asset (Eldredge himself) so much that it ends up coming across as just another run-of-the-mill love song.
The production starts off fairly strong, using an electric guitar (whose sound falls somewhere in between a mandolin and a sitar) to establish a relaxing atmosphere that borders on psychedelic, with some real drums thrown in for flavor. However, as the song continues and more instruments are tossed in (acoustic guitars, steel guitar stabs, and synthetic hand claps get tossed in), the mix begins to feel crowded, and its unique sound is replaced with something that feels a lot more generic and uninteresting. To its credit, the song at least maintains its bright tone for the duration, propping up a celebratory vibe that complements the writing well. Still, that vague sense of happiness is about the only thing the listener gets out of the track, as its gradual fade to bland mediocrity really blunts whatever impact it hoped to have.
The most damning this I can say about this song is that you could stick just about anyone behind the microphone and it would sound about the same. When you have a singer as talented and powerful as Brett Eldredge at your disposal, this should never happen. Eldredge is the best vocalist in the genre today (yes, I’d even rank him above Chris Stapleton) with range, power, and charisma to spare, and frankly, only the last of the three is on display here. Eldredge certainly sounds believable and earnest in the narrrator’s role, but if his team wants to maximize his potential, he needs material that will stretch and challenge his voice à la “Somethin’ I’m Good At” (even if that song was too far out-of-the-box for radio). “Love Someone,” unfortunately, is not that kind of song, keeping Eldredge’s range surprisingly constrained and forcing him to dial back his delivery (making him sound like a mere mortal in the process). In the hands of someone with equal charisma but less vocal power (Thomas Rhett comes to mind), this would have been a suitable song, but here, it just feels like a waste of Eldredge’s time.
There’s still enough here for some clever lyrics to elevate the track to a memorable level, but sadly they’re as bland as everything else here:
When I wake up in the middle of the night
You’re holding me so tight
Good Lord, I mean, my oh my
Sure feels good to love someone
When you laugh at the way I dance
When you smile when you hold my hand
I look at you and I understand
Sure feels good to love someone
There’s nothing here that you haven’t heard a million times before in a million other love songs, and even the small twists on old ideas (“You put the weak there in my knees”) feel more “meh” than witty. On top on that, the whole “love someone” hook feels awkwardly distant: The narrator spends the entire verse and chorus fawning over what sounds like a specific individual, and then suddenly steps back and hits you with a broad generalization? Put it all together, and you’ve got a shrug-inducing track that just doesn’t connect with its audience the way it should.
“Love Someone” is an average song with an average sound and an average vocal performance, which makes it an affront to Brett Eldredge fans everywhere. Sharpen up the writing, pare down the production, and remove Eldredge’s reins, and this song could have been something special. As it is, however, it’s nothing more than six months worth of radio filler, and with his stardom not looking as shiny as it once did, Eldredge can’t afford to waste this kind of time.
Rating: 5/10. You won’t hate it, but you won’t remember it either.