Oh joy, it’s another one of them songs, isn’t it?
Lee Brice has been a bit of a wildcard in country music over the last few years. For every half-decent song you get out of him like “I Drive Your Truck” or “I Don’t Dance,” you get a garbage track like “Parking Lot Party” or “That Don’t Sound Like You.” His last few songs have been mostly forgettable (“Rumor,” his Carly Pearce collab “I Hope You’re Happy Now”), so we were probably due for a clunker, and we’ve got one in the form of Brice’s new single “One Of Them Girls,” the presumed leadoff single for an upcoming project. Much like Jimmie Allen’s “Make Me Want To” or Dan + Shay’s “10,000 Hours,” this is one of those stories about a pushy guy who just won’t take no for an answer, a Boyfriend-country wannabe who deserves to have his head kicked in by Lorrie Morgan.
The production here is your standard guitar-and-drum mix, one that feels a little to slick for its own good. An amped-up acoustic guitar opens the track, but it steps back in favor of a slick electric sidearm, with a bunch of atmospheric synth tones floating around in the background. The drums got from bass-only to a full set by the first chorus, but that’s pretty much all we get from the arrangement. Despite all the normal instruments, there’s a surprisingly synthetic feel to the mix, and the amount of darkness present in the instrument tones and chord structure doesn’t really mesh with a track that’s trying (and failing) to be some sort of love song. It’s a little like Florida Georgia’s Line “I Love My Country” in that way: The ingredients may be different (and perhaps more natural), but the final product sounds the exact same as any other generic Metropolitan or Boyfriend country track. In the end, it’s an unmemorable sound that leaves little impression on those that hear it.
I’m going to jump to the lyrics next, because they’re so juvenile and infuriating that I want them out of the way as soon as possible. The narrator here is one of those leering creeps who immediately locks on to a woman and won’t leave her alone, and when she says no, the moron assumes that she’s “one of them girls” whose actually wants to be with him and that her ‘no’ will eventually turn to ‘yes’ if he pushes hard enough. I got some advice for you, bro: Back the #$%& off. Your juvenile one-track mind might not believe this, but “no” actually means “no,” and acting like it doesn’t make you look like the slimiest jerk in the room. You antiquated mindset makes the listener actively root against you, and whoever you’re talking too has every right to imprint their knuckles on your nose. How about instead of see the woman’s resistance at a challenge (“Got a wall I gotta knock down”), you take the hint and leave them alone? Frankly, this dude is flat-out disgusting, and the audience is heading for the exits before the track is halfway through.
It would take a strong, highly charismatic artist to make this tire-fire even remotely palatable, and Lee Brice is not that artist. He’s got enough voice to handle the minimal technical demands of the track (although you get the sense that he’s straining to generate the necessary power on the chorus), but instead of coming across as even remotely classy, he sounds like a garden-variety meathead out to get lucky. As bad as the lyrics are, there are a few openings for clearer heads to prevail (“If I’m wrong, then stop me, yeah,” and the whole “I’m one of them boys who’d trade his whole world” bit), but Brice doesn’t put enough feeling behind them to make them feel genuine, and they’re washed away by the next annoying remark. Brice has shown glimpses of likeability in the past and it’s a little bit unfair to hold writing this putrid against him, but at some point you’ve got to take responsibility for your own material, and if Brice recorded it, we’re going to pass judgement on him, and right now he has been found lacking.
“One Of Them Girls” is yet another misguided attempt by country music to sell obsessive coercion as romantic, and it falls just as flat as it usually does. The production is lukewarm and cookie-cutter, the writing is downright nauseating, and Lee Brice gets dragged down into the mud without much of a fight. I’m not interested in listening to a guy trail someone like a bloodhound in heat, and if this is the best Brice can do for a leadoff single, I’d rather see him practice good social distancing and stay six feet away from all microphones from now on.
Rating: 4/10. Next!