Song Review: Abby Anderson, “Good Lord”

If at first you don’t succeed…cross your fingers and try doing what everyone else does?

Abby Anderson introduced herself to the radio with “Make Him Wait”, and was met with such indifference that the song barely made Billboard’s airplay chart at all, peaking at a miserable #59 last July. You can probably guess what happened next: Stung by the smackdown and staring an early exit from Nashville in the face, Anderson and her team pivoted to the same tried-and-true generic formula that everyone else uses for her follow-up single “Good Lord.” This, in a word, was a mistake: The song is an awkward mesh of Bro-Country production and the safe, saccharine writing that all the guys in Nashville are leaning on these days. It’s an unrepentant ray of sunshine, but it’s also an uninteresting does of empty sonic calories that doesn’t convince the listener to pay attention.

Whoever set the date on the production time machine didn’t turn the dial far enough: Instead of the 90s-tinged callbacks dominating the airwaves right now, this production is ripped from the Bro-Country playbook: Loud, squealing electric guitars, rapid-fire, in-your-face synthetic production (some real drums do jump in the chorus), and even the token banjo that’s forced to carry the melody during the verses. You can tell this is a summer song, however, because the instruments are so bright and energetic that you can’t look directly at your speakers without sunglasses while this is playing. Once the sugar high wears off, however, you’re left with a mix that isn’t all this deep or interesting: The most complex riffs here are done by the drum machine, and the electric guitars are one-trick ponies that play basically the same darn riff over and over. There’s definitely happiness here, but this doesn’t feel as fun as some of the other songs I’ve covered in this lane (for example, “Every Little Thing” runs circles around this thing).  As sparse as the verses are, the whole thing just ends up feeling like a wall of noise to the audience, and it simply fails to earn more than a cursory listen.

For what it’s worth, Anderson doesn’t appear to be the problem here. From a technical perspective, her performance is fine: She show off decent range and maintains her tone on both the low-end verses and high-powered choruses, and she brings enough flow to the table to keep the song moving forward. Truthfully, though, I’m most impressed by the earnestness and charisma she demonstrates here, as she really captures the narrator’s exuberance and does a nice job transmitting that positivity over to the listener. Where she isn’t quite able to close the deal is in making the listener care about the romance in question, as the track’s surprisingly-low fun factor leaves the audience thinking “That’s nice. Why should we care again?” Listening to this song is like watching a glass box fill up with smoke: You see it happening, you know it’s there, but you’re not just moved or affected by it. Anderson acquits herself well here, but she doesn’t get enough support from her producer or writers.

Speaking of the writing, would it kill Nashville to get out of the lovestruck rut they’re in right now? The narrator here is the same lovestruck person we’ve heard on a ton of tracks recently, and while they inject a small hint of individuality into this track (noticing a new nail polish color? That’s a new one for me), the hook and most of the chorus and bridge are chock full of the same religious imagery that we’ve been beaten over the head with lately. I get that finding the perfect partner is an unmatched rush, but the narrator here is so relentless in their praise of their significant other that I’m yelling “Okay, okay, I get it already!” before the song is even halfway through. I’m also disappointed in the lack of story progression here: We get no mention of how the pair met, no talk of the future…in fact, the writing is more of a one-trick than the production, as there’s nothing to the tale besides a) my partner is great, and b) the supreme being that made them is greater. Putting the punch line first is generally a good thing, but when you just keep leaning on the punch line with nothing behind it, eventually the listener asks “…Is that all you’ve got?” and walks away when they realize the answer.

“Good Lord” is yet another happy, lovey-dovey song in a genre that’s drowning in them right now, and it’s only distinctive quality is in trying to out-happy and lovey-dovey the competition. The production is bright but unremarkable, the writing is bland and overdone, and Abby Anderson can only do so much when everything else is so “meh.” It’s not a song I’m terribly interested in hearing more of, and it’s also not one I’m likely to remember existing in a month or so. Radio didn’t pay much attention to Anderson the first time around, and they’ve got too many people running in this lane to bother paying any more attention now.

Rating: 5/10. You’ve heard it all before; don’t waste your time trying to hear it again.