Song Review: Billy Currington, “Bring It On Over”

If this is what Billy Currington’s bringing on over, I’d prefer that he stay over there, thank you very much.

I’ve got to give Currington some credit: Much like Earl the Nidoking from my Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke adventure, Currington is a country music survivor, adapting just enough to keep his 15-year (!) career afloat through the transitional 2000s and the Bro-Country and Metropolitan sounds of the 2010s. Even Earl wound up giving up the ghost eventually, however, and after hearing Currington’s latest single “Bring It On Over” (in theory the leadoff single from his upcoming seventh album), I have to wonder if his spotlight is about to fade as well. It’s yet another meatheaded sex jam that lacks any sort of sexiness at all, and it’s backed by a glaring Metropolitan sound that feels a little out of step with today’s radio climate. With a flood of newcomers hitting the genre, this song is supposed to be Currington’s argument for sticking around, and frankly, it’s not very strong.

The production sounds like it was slapped together in thirty minutes using a Fender and a MacBook, and feels painfully artificial and shallow as a result. The track opens with a drum machine beat recycled from Easton Corbin’s “A Girl Like You” (because that song worked out so well for everyone) and a slick guitar borrowed from Old Dominion’s “Snapback,” and outside of some background synths on the chorus and a bright guitar solo, that’s basically all you get. (And then there are those bizarre, robotic vocal effects that are dumped all over the track, which…well, the less said about them the better.) The mix creates a fair bit of energy, bit it feels misguided when contrasted with the lyrics: Its uptempo, club-ready groove and bubbly, celebratory atmosphere feel like something you would hear at a midnight party, not during the passionate night of lovemaking discussed by the writing. (No wonder the narrator says they will “make a little love to a Motown beat”—they certainly wouldn’t be getting busy to this song.) The sound here is just too clean and clinical to capture the emotion and passion of a true sex jam, leaving the listener confused as to the song’s true purpose actually is.

Currington has pulled off sensual performances before (“Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right,” anyone?), but this song is not one of them. The biggest problem is that the song doesn’t really give him a chance to bring any charisma to bear: The tempo is so fast that he barely has enough time to get the words out (let alone deliver them with any sort of passion), the energy level is too high for him to make the song feel personal or genuine, and lines like “‘Bout to hear my footsteps down your hall” and “I’m getting closer!” make him sound more like a stalker than a lover. While his range and flow sound fine, the song pushes him so far out of his comfort zone that he doesn’t sound believable at all, and his audience feels absolutely none of the passion that the song desperately wants them to feel. Giving Currington’s track record, however, I’m placing the blame less on him and more on whoever thought song was a good fit for him in the first place.

Lyrically, the song takes Jon Pardi’s “Night Shift,” cuts out all the stuff about work, and focuses on the narrator’s drive home and how awesome the sex is going to be when they get home to their partner. I’ll say it again: There is absolutely nothing sexy about this song. There’s no setting the mood, no romantic language, and barely any scenic details besides the bed—it’s just “You’re horny, I’m horny, let’s get it on!” That simplistic setup is the biggest reason this song fails: Unlike the characters in the song, you can’t just tell the listener to be horny along with them—you’ve got to light the fires of passion within the audience using your words and instruments. The reason why songs like Marvin Gaye’s oft-cited “Let’s Get It On” and even Aaron Watson’s “Run Wild Horses” work so well is because they take the time to set the mood and give the listener something to latch on to and picture in their minds, and thus really make them feel the passion and romance with the songs. This song, in comparison, tries to take the express lane to love town, and eschews the verbal foreplay required to move its audience.

In short, “Bring It On Over” really doesn’t bring anything at all. It features ill-fitting production and incomplete lyrics, which make Billy Currington deliver one of his least-inspiring vocal performances ever. Two years ago, this might have had a place on the radio, but these days, I’d listen to Pardi’s boring “Night Shift” ten times before I’d give this track the time of day. If Currington hopes to keep his career alive, he’d better bring over a whole lot more than this next time.

Rating: 4/10. Leave this one off your Valentine’s Day playlist.