“You would think” Tucker Beathard would get the hint that we just aren’t that into him.
Up to this point, Beathard is a classic one-hit wonder: “Rock On” made it to #2 in 2016, and none of his singles have cracked the top forty ever since (the last official single I can find, 2019’s “Better Than Me,” didn’t make the Billboard chart at all). The road hasn’t been particularly smooth for Beathard the last few years (record label tension, personal tragedy), and while you couldn’t really blame Beathard for playing the victim card during these troubled times, it doesn’t change the fact that his musical output up to this point has been neither inspired or interesting. He’s back now with “You Would Think,” the leadoff single for the second half of his double-album debut project, and much like “Better Than Me,” it’s dominated by the narrator’s whiny, woe-is-me attitude and an unhealthy fixation on their ex. It’s neither an interesting nor pleasant listen, and it’s not something I’m keen to waste my time with while sheltering in place. (*sigh* But I guess I’m going to do it anyway…)
The production here is your standard moody guitar-and-drum mix that doesn’t aspire to do anything besides exist. The song opens with a softer, slicker electric six-string, quickly dials back to an acoustic axe and an underwater drum (it emerges from the deep by the second verse though), and then mixes in rougher electric guitars on the chorus, all the while leaning on spacious synths in the background to give the sound some presence and atmosphere. The darker instrument tones do complement the narrator’s melancholy, but otherwise the mix feels pretty basic: The guitars riffs are basic, the drums are methodically monotonous, and there’s nothing here that makes the listener sit up and pay attention. The whole thing feels incredibly lifeless and lethargic, as if the session players were just there to cash a paycheck and didn’t really put any feeling into the song. Ultimately, this is a forgettable mix that rinses clean the moment the next song hits your ears.
In a word, Beathard’s performance here feels tired, as if he can’t muster up the energy or emotion to really care about what about he’s saying. The song doesn’t test his range, flow, or power, but the writing’s persistent focus on how the other person should feel about this relationship requires a strong, charismatic singer to keep from sounding overly whiny or selfish. Sadly, Beathard is neither a strong nor charismatic singer, and he just kinds of throws his lines out there without a whole lot of…well, anything behind them. There’s neither malice nor conviction in his delivery, meaning that the audience is pretty much guaranteed to be annoyed by the song: Either the insufferable lyrics will grate on them, or Beathard’s lack of a pulse behind the mic will make them feel like their time is being wasted. It’s a disappointing showing from a artist who should be well aware by this point that his career is on the line, and if he doesn’t care enough to deliver the mail here, we’re not going to sit around the P.O. box waiting for him.
If it isn’t clear by now, I cannot stand the writing on this track. The narrator spends the entire track sniffling that “you would think” their former partner would have been reminded of their old romance by now, and that they would reach out to do something, anything to rebuild that bridge that the narrator wants to rebuild. Here’s a hint: It’s called moving on, and unlike you, the other person has obviously done that. Worse still, “you would think” is generally a derogatory term that implies that the other person is doing something wrong, which we get zero indication of from the rest of the song (as Alan Jackson might say, there’s been “no cheatin’, no drinkin’, no lyin'”). In fact, I get the sense that the ex is doing the right thing by seemingly moving forward with their life, and it’s the blubbering narrator that needs a bucket of cold water dumped over their head and a swift kick in the rear. (Seriously, what sort of presumptuous prick thinks their ex has to come back and get “my forgiveness to finally set you free”?) On top of that, Beathard’s lifeless delivery points the finger squarely at the narrator as the reason why the former relationship went south: If he doesn’t sound like he cares now, why should we believe he cared enough to make the partnership work back then? In other words, the writing inspires apathy at best and frustration at worst, and makes me want to punch the narrator in the face rather than sympathize with them.
“You Would Think” is a disappointing last stand from a man whose 15 minutes of fame ran our roughly four years ago. The production is flaccid and forgettable, the lyrics are a tire fire of misplaced blame, and Tucker Beathard can’t even muster the energy to seem sad or angry anymore. Much as I suggested with Miranda Lambert, I think Beathard needs to hit pause on his mainstream career and step away for a while, given all the acrimony and tragedy he’s had to go through. It may not be the best thing for his career, but it might be better for his personal well-being, and the truth is that no one will miss him while he’s gone.
Rating: 3/10. Avoid this one.