I’m gonna need some wine to go with all this cheese.
Has the window for country superstardom already closed for Kane Brown? Where once he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt as one of the most polarizing figures in the genre, he now seems to be at risk of sliding into irrelevance, with his most-recent single “Cool Again” getting shut out of the Mediabase top spot by Lee Brice and having to settle for a #3 peak on Billboard’s airplay chart. Now, Brown is back with an official follow-up single from Mixtape, Vol. 1 (“Worldwide Beautiful” didn’t receive a full push to radio) called “Worship You,” and good grief, if Boyfriend country hasn’t jumped the shark already, it has now. This thing is the most cheesy, over-the-top, sticky-sweet love song I’ve heard in a long time, going so far out on a limb with its declarations of love that they’re more laughable than believable.
For someone who used to make traditionalists’ blood boil with their genre-fusing mixes, Brown’s production has become much more safe and predictable over time. The song leans on an acoustic guitar to carry the melody and a restrained, inoffensive drum machine keeping time behind it. Outside of the slick electric guitar solo, this is pretty much all you get here: Despite experimenting with classic country instrumentation on tracks like “Homesick,” the steel guitar and fiddle are barely used here (with the former pushed so far into the background that it’s barely noticeable), and the real drums that jump in are completely overshadowed by their synthetic counterparts. The instrument tones seem very neutral here, and while the resulting atmosphere is serious, it’s not especially romantic and doesn’t do a great job conveying the depth of the narrator’s feelings. It’s an arrangement that just kind of exists, and it fails to offer adequate support to the lyrics and vocals.
Of course, part of the reason that the production struggles in its role is that the lyrics completely fail in theirs. We’ve seen other Boyfriend country tracks fall all over themselves professing their unending affection for their partners, and we’ve seen other tracks rely on religious imagery to express their romantic conviction, but this track cranks the cheesy dial up to eleven and lays it on extra-thick: They compare the other person to an entire religion, saying that they “might have to worship you” if that were the case. I mean, I get that love can be a spiritual experience, but putting them on par with a god? Yeah, that’s going a little overboard (and frankly, it strikes me as a pretty dumb comparison). What’s worse, however, is that the argument behind the comparison is based purely on physical attraction, with lines like “Your body, baby, it’s divine,” and “Sleeping next to you is heaven.” It makes the relationship feel incredibly shallow, and makes the narrator sound like they’re speaking from their penis rather than their heart. Combine this with the fact that there’s only really half a song here (we only get one-and-a-half verses) and that most of the chorus is wasted on meaningless statements about what the narrator would do if their partner actually was a religion, and we’re left with a mess of a song that doesn’t convince anyone that this is really about love.
Thanks to the track’s lyrical deficiencies, Brown is left with a gargantuan task: Can he make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what and turn this into a heartfelt love ballad while keeping it from careening into the gutter? He only half-succeeds here: He’s mostly able to keep the track from sinking into the mud, but he doesn’t make the audience feel the love. Technically, it’s a solid effort: The range and flow demands are minimal, and Brown breezes effortlessly through the track. On the charisma front, he offers enough emotion and charm to both feel kinda-sorta believable in the narrator’s role and keep the track’s darker insinuations from bubbling to the surface (at least during a cursory listen). Unfortunately, he isn’t to sell the narrator’s outrageous claims of love, and he doesn’t let the audience share in his good feelings, leaving us to feel like bystanders as he gushes over his partner. It’s just not an interesting or engaging performance, and given the sheer number of these tracks that have been dumped on us over the last few years, it’s not enough to make the track stand out.
In the end, “Worship You” is just not a good song: The awful writing drags it down like it an anchor, and the ambivalent production and a merely decent performance from Kane Brown just aren’t enough to bring this mess back above water. This is subpar even by mediocre Boyfriend country standards, with declarations so outlandish that no one could really take them seriously. I get the sense that Brown is looking for a moonshot here to re-energize his suddenly-stagnant career, but I don’t see that happening with this single. He’s officially just another country singer now, and unless he can find some better material, he’ll be stuck in that position for the foreseeable future.
Rating: 4/10. Skip it.