The best thing I can say about this is that it’s not quite as obnoxious as I expected. Unfortunately, it’s still obnoxious.
Chase Rice seemed to have a breakthrough with his (mediocre) #1 hit “Eyes On You,” but his career has been on a steep downhill slope since then. Not only was he unable to replicate his success with his awful 2019 follow-up “Lonely If You Are” (the song needed fourteen months just to peak at #12 on Billboard’s airplay chart), but his callous ignorance on the coronavirus pandemic has put him on the wrong side of the news cycle several times, such as with an ill-advised jam-packed concert in May and his recent inexplicable, inexcusable, and idiotic attempt to use a joke about having COVID-19 as a way to promote his latest single “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” Frankly, this dude’s brand is toxic right now (and deservedly so), and his only hope is to ride the coattails of the track’s featured group Florida Georgia Line back to the top of the charts. I expected this track to be an absolute train wreck when I saw the title and the FGL credits, so the fact that it turned out to be only a garden-variety bad song is actually a bit of a relief. Nevertheless, this is a generic, uninteresting grab-bag of Bro-Country clichés that simply fails to justify its existence.
The garbage title and FGL inclusion might scream “Bro-Country redux” at first glance, but the production is actually more of a Metropolitan mix, with a overly-slick finish and a surprising lack of energy. The core of the arrangement is a typical guitar-and-drum arrangement, leaning on an acoustic guitar and Grady Smith’s favorite clap track for the verses and swapping in some electric axes and real drums for the choruses (oh, and the token banjo makes a no-so-triumphant return). To their credit, the producer at least tries to incorporate some dobro notes and steel guitar riffs, but they’re used sparsely and seem to fade into the background as the song goes along, leaving us with the same old uninteresting mix we keep getting stuck with. Where hard-edged Bro-Country mixes at least brought some volume and punch to the table, this thing is lifeless and boring in comparison, and it does little to catch the listener’s ear and convince them to pay attention. It’s just one of those sounds that passes in one ear and out the other without leaving a trace.
Rice remains one of the most nondescript voices in country music, and he contributes nothing of interest to this track. The song has no range demands, but the faster (but really not all that fast) portions of the chorus make Rice’s delivery feel a bit rushed at times (but even on the slower choruses, he’s doesn’t put any feeling into his lines). He’s a poor fit for the narrator’s role here, as he doesn’t give anyone the impression that he’s the kind of person to reflect on larger spiritual topics (in fact, he comes across as someone who doesn’t put much thought into anything at all). Florida Georgia Line doesn’t provide much more than name recognition here, but at least Tyler Hubbard has a distinct sound and a shred of vocal tone (and Brian Kelley is actually noticeable on the harmony vocals for a change). No one here seems prone to deep rumination, however, and none of the three do much to persuade listeners to pay attention.
The lyrics here amount to a typical Bro setup with a layer of superficial religion spread on top. The narrator is engaged in the novel activity of nighttime drinking around the bonfire, counting their predictably generic blessings (“a little piece of dirt,” “a country angel”) and claiming to be “talkin’ God” when there’s nothing religious here besides a little thankfulness and some random wondering about what heaven might be like. (There’s a bit of Cobronavirus nihilism here as well, as “when the world’s gone crazy, man, it all makes sense” to ignore it and drink yourself into a stupor.) There’s nothing here that you’ve haven’t heard a million times over the last few years, and it’s no more interesting now than it was then: There’s no real story, the level of detail is minimal, and there isn’t even enough said about the setting to make the song work on a “communing with nature” angle. It’s a party song with no party, a spiritual song with no spirit, and a throwaway track that will be forgotten the moment it falls off the charts.
“Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen” is a cookie-cutter snoozefest with zero creativity or inspiration, and is the sort of song that probably should have been left on the cutting room floor (and yet it still represents a slight upgrade the atrocious “Lonely If You Are”). The writing is hollow, the vocals are unconvincing, and the production only makes a token attempt to stand out from the crowd. It’s a blatant attempt by Chase Rice to leech off of Florida Georgia Line’s popularity in a desperate attempt to stay relevant, but any success it achieves will be in spite of its lead artist rather than because of it. This doesn’t even rise to the level of radio filler, and the sooner we kick both it and Rice out of the genre, the better.
Rating: 4/10. Next!