Some guys choose interesting songs to release…and some guys never do.
Nashville’s “newest” faceless young male singer is Jameson Rodgers, a Mississippi native who has been kicking around the city for nearly a decade but only recently received major label support in the form of an official pact between River House and Sony Music Nashville. Rodgers “stormed country radio with debut single ‘Some Girls'” back in June, and the move was so successful that six months later…the track has finally limped to the doorstep of the Mediabase Top 50. (Put another way, Thanos celebrated two #1 hits over the same time frame.) After a few listens, it’s not hard to see why this things has gone nowhere fast: This is a bland, boring song that offers nothing new or interesting to the listener, and it’s forgotten the moment it ends.
The production here feels incredibly cookie-cutter and unimaginative: You’ve got the opening guitars (an acoustic on land, and an electric drowning in yet another sea of audio effects), a pair of keyboards (an organ-sounding one in the background, and a classical one chiming in with some simple riffs), and a drum set slowly eased in over time. The vibe this arrangement generates is surprisingly unsettling, with the brighter, higher-pitched keyboard giving the mix a slightly-eerie feel that doesn’t fit either the subject matter or the rest of the instruments. As far as energy, the mix is surprising lethargic for such a middle-of-the-road tempo, and despite the usual “quiet on the verses, swell for the choruses” setup, it doesn’t build up much momentum along the way. The atmosphere it end up creating is one of generic sameness, and the audience never shakes the feeling that they’ve heard this thing a million times before (and it’s no more interesting now than it ever was). It falls into the age-old trap for newer artists: The thing is so indistinguishable and soundalike that it doesn’t make a case for why we should set aside an airplay slot for it.
Vocally, Rodgers seems to fall into this weird space between Cole Swindell and Brantley Gilbert, but he lacks the tone and presence of even these artists. His range and flow are only moderately tested by the track, and he’s able to maintain his tone well enough to stay listenable, but his real failure is his lack of charisma and personality. The on-off, string-them-along relationship track is nearly as old as the genre itself, so to properly sell such a track, you’ve got to draw the listener in and make them sympathize with your plight. Unfortunately, Rodgers doesn’t seem to have the earnest charm to let the audience share his feelings (in fact, despite the explicit “tonight I’m lettin’ it ring” line, his feelings seem a bit unclear here: He wants us to believe he’s exasperated over his situation, but I don’t really buy it), and his lines just flow in one ear and out the other without leaving a trace. His performance is ultimately forgettable, and that’s not a great sign for his future prospects.
Then we get to the writing, and while the story has a decidedly modern touch to it this time around (Thomas Rhett name-dropped Instagram a while back, but this might be the first Twitter reference I’ve noticed in the genre), it’s the same arc you know and expect: Guy and girl break up, girl keeps reappearing in the guy’s life, guy has trouble moving on because he keeps getting reminded of the past. It’s a cross between Swindell’s “Stay Downtown” and Sam Hunt’s “Break Up In A Small Town,” and honestly, it’s not a good look for the narrator: The writing tries really hard to paint the woman as the bad guy for everything she does, but all that complaining ends up reflecting poorly on the narrator instead. The switch from talking about “some girls” to the one particular woman in the story isn’t handled well either, as the shift feels jarring when it has absolutely no reason to. The song’s whole “you’re making my life so hard” take on a breakup feels completely superficial and completely uncompelling, and doesn’t make me interested in hearing more from this artist.
Overall, “Some Girls” is a no-op of a song: It serves no meaningful function, and the listener just moves on to the next song when it’s over. The production is lukewarm and flavorless, the writing is poorly framed and awkwardly constructed, and James Rodgers’s only distinguishable quality is being indistinguishable. It may not be Boyfriend country (in fact, “Ex-Boyfriend country” might be a better descriptor here), but it still fails to justify its own existence, and Rodgers doesn’t justify getting a seat at the country music table. Perhaps “some girls make it easy on you” when it comes to forgetting them, but some songs are the same way.
Rating: 5/10. *yawn*
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