Well, at least Kip Moore’s taste in fantasies is improving.
It’s been a struggle for Moore to maintain his grip on mainstream relevance for the last few years: His terrible “Last Shot” took over a year just to peak at #6 on Billboard’s airplay chart, and when he vented his anger on the equally-terrible “The Bull,” country radio slapped an unsightly #55 peak on it and stuck Moore in timeout to make him think about what he had done. Moore must have finally gotten the message, because he’s closed the door on the mediocre-to-awful Slowheart era and released “She’s Mine” as the presumed leadoff single for his next project. While I hesitate to call this a good song, it’s a huge step up both from his Slowheart work and some of the garbage I’ve been sifting through recently (*cough* “Now You Know” *cough cough* “Hell Right”).
The production is easily my favorite part of the track, as Moore goes back to working the country-rock angle that earned him some hosannas back in the Wild Ones era. The song blasts out of the gate with a rollicking, rough-edged pair of guitars (the deeper-toned axe sticks around to carry the melody with some methodical rock chording, while the higher one backs away to cover riff duty for the rest of the song) and a sharp drum set that tries to match the guitars’ intensity (it doesn’t quite get there, but it’s close). I’m really impressed by how bright this mix sounds even with a prominent lower-ranged guitar, and it does a nice job driving the song forward and creating a ton of positive energy to support the narrator’s optimism and imagination. The song is a testament to how far “just another guitar-and-drum” mix can go if organized and executed well, and shows up other mixes that do so little with this kind of arrangement.
While Moore remains one of the worst vocalists in the genre, the “hoarse caterwauling” I couldn’t stand on “The Bull” actually works well on “She’s Mine.” His range and tone are tolerable for a change, and his gravelly voice gives the narrator an added sense of world-weariness, and it makes him sound maxed-out and passionate on the choruses. Most of all, he makes good use of his charisma to pour on the sunshine and cheeriness, shrugging off the romance-seeking struggles of the past and looking forward to the love that he just knows is somewhere in his future. The result is a sympathetic, likable narrator who feels more committed than creepy, and wholets the audience share in his dream (delusional though it might be). In short, Moore has finally found some sort of comfort zone, and he should try harder in the future to stick close to it.
The lyrics have a striking similarity to those of Maren Morris’s “The Bones”: The sentiment is okay, the execution is decent, and the hook is flat-out terrible. (I’m just not comfortable with the narrator declaring “she’s mine” and asserting ownership over someone they’ve never met, and I wish he’d stuck to the bridge sentiments of “don’t worry, I’m coming!”) I really like the interesting/unexpected details within the potential partners descriptions: Dealing blackjack, working on Wall Street, being torn between devout beliefs and sinful-but-fun behavior, and so on. I’d love to hear more about the romantic failures in the narrator’s past (perhaps some self-reflection would make the search more successful), but I also appreciate the never-say-die, “next one could be the right one” attitude, as wallowing in sorrow or bitterness (such as Morgan Wallen did on “Whiskey Glasses”) would make them much defeated and less appealing (and more annoying). Overall, it’s a decent piece of work that give Moore and his producer something useful to work with.
“She’s Mine” won’t threaten my year-end “best song,” but in what’s shaping up to be a rough August for single releases (seriously, I haven’t given out anything higher than a five yet), it’s a breath of fresh air that wouldn’t move me to turn the radio off for a change. It’s light years ahead of “The Bull” and “Last Shot,” and while I need to hear more from Kip Moore before I conclude he still has a future in this league, this has the potential to start his redemption arc, and right now, that’s probably the best he can hope for.
Rating: 6/10. Give this one a spin and see what you think.