Song Review: Tyler Farr, “Only Truck In Town”

When your song tries to be two different things, it usually winds up being neither of them. …Wait, didn’t I just say that?

Tyler Farr had a brief moment back in the early 2010s with songs like “Redneck Crazy” and “A Guy Walks Into A Bar,” but he fell off a cliff in the middle of the decade, and hasn’t cracked the top fifty with a single in almost four years. Musicians are nothing if not stubborn, however, and after leaving Sony Music in 2018 and signing with Jason Aldean’s Night Train records the following year, Farr is finally ready to reintroduce himself to the radio with his new single “Only Truck In Town.” The song, however, feels caught between the language of the Bro-Country era and sentiments of the current Boyfriend country trend, and doesn’t do enough on any front to make the song interesting or memorable. It’s yet another song from yet another singer, and for someone trying to reclaim their seat in the genre like Farr is, it’s nowhere near enough.

The influence of Aldean and his team is apparent the moment the song starts, as the production trots out the same prominent, spacious electric guitars and mix of real and synthetic production that Aldean has leaned on for his arena-ready anthems for years. As spacious and atmospheric as the guitars are, the chorus axes are so in-your-face that they make the mix feel incredibly flat and monotone, overshadowing the vocals and barely changing their notes with the chords. (The lead guitar gets a few chances to breathe in between verses and even throws down a tolerable-if-not-stellar solo, but even it can’t escape the louder chord strums that wind up defining the song’s melody.) We’ve also got another unfortunate Aldean staple here: The darker instrument tones and slower tempo give the song a melancholy feel that makes being “the only truck in town” nowhere near as happy as the lyrics want you to believe. Frankly, this thing is a generic wall of noise that doesn’t suit the topic at hand, and makes me think Aldean needs to stay the heck out of the producer’s booth.

Vocally, Farr is a nondescript singer who’s voice is only slightly less raspy than Kip Moore, and he doesn’t have enough presence or charisma to break through the production and set a proper tone for the song. While he doesn’t seem terribly strained by the song (he handles the limited range and flow demands without any issue), whatever feeling he tries to deliver with his thin, rough voice is completely washed away by the guitars, and even when the mix falls away and gives him a moment to set the mood, his delivery is so stoic and toothless that it doesn’t give the listener the impression that the narrator actually enjoys their relationship. (On top of this, the harmony vocals are so buried in the mix that they might as well have let Farr sing the song by himself.) There’s just nothing in Farr’s performance to draw the audience in and hold their attention, and we’re all ready for the song to switch by the time he reaches the second chorus.

The lyrics are in a strange place here: The writing is steeped in the tricked-out truck language that the Metro-Bro era drove into the ground during the last decade, but it tries to add some Boyfriend country sensibilities by having the narrator proclaim that it’s the other person that makes the moment (and the truck) special. It tries to make use of popular language and symbols while also repudiating them to a degree, and while other songs have used this trick effectively (Easton Corbin’s “A Girl Like You,” for example), this song beats that drum so relentlessly that it’s that language that ends up defining the song:

Must be fifty other blacked out, three-inch lift kit
Mud tires, radio crankin’ out that old shit
On every corner, every street, every two-lane around here

I’m like the only wheels rollin’, the only party goin’
The only neon glowin’
Like I’m the only radio playin’ her song
Only shotgun seat with a backroad window rolled down
Yeah, she makes me feel like I’m the only truck in town

Instead of objectifying the woman in the song like most Bro-Country tracks, this one shoves her to the side and barely mentions her at all, using the space to cram in more generic references to hay bales and truck tires. Anointing something as the reason something else is special while simultaneously droning on and on about that something else makes the track ring incredibly hollow, make the writing a dead weight that the sound and vocals aren’t interesting in picking up.

“Only Truck In Town” is a collection of spare parts that do not fit together at all, and the result is a song that is neither interesting nor believable. The writing tries (and fails) to split the difference between the previous genre trends and the current one, Tyler Farr’s vocals barely rise to the level of forgettable, and Jason Aldean decided “heck with it, let’s slap the same mix I always use on this thing and see what happens.” It’s a step above Boyfriend country, but a step below being good or even mediocre, and above all, it’s a sign that Farr needs to step away from the mic and consider other career options, because he’s not the only faceless male artist in Guitar Town.

Rating: 4/10. Keep your distance.