At long last, we have an answer to the question, “What would happen if you took ‘Mr. Lonely’ and sucked all the fun out of it?”
I’m afraid it’s time to bestow the dreaded “one-hit wonder” label upon Lauren Alaina. Outside of her not-quite-a-breakout hit “Road Less Traveled” back in 2016, she hasn’t been able to crack even the Top 25 as a headline artist (although she has been featured on a pair of #1s, 2017’s “What Ifs” and 2020’s “One Beer”). After watching “One Beer” and releasing a pair of EPs in 2020, Alaina has returned to the radio with “Getting Over Him,” a duet with fellow country artist Jon Pardi, and…honestly, if this is what we get after going a year without singles, I would’ve rather waited a little longer. It’s a track that feels forced, ominous, and surprisingly dour for what’s ostensibly a party track, and it fails to convince the audience that Alaina’s return from a semi-hiatus is a good thing.
My first problem with the song is the production, which emphasizes the negativity of the breakup rather than the carefree vibes of the rebound party that the lyrics focus on. The song opens with a dark, swampy electric guitar and a programmed drum loop that come across as incredibly cold and bitter, and that latent anger is never exorcised from the track, even as more instruments are tossed in (a token banjo, real drums, and eventually Pardi’s trademark fiddle). While the song doesn’t fall into plodding territory, the methodical tempo and dark, hard-edged guitars make it feel like the song is struggling to move forward, as if you can actually hear its gears grinding. This labored, frustrated vibe completes saps the fun out of the track, clashing badly with the lyrics by making the whole night out feel like a forced exercise. It makes the whole thing endeavor feel like a business arrangement rather than a good time, and it’s surprisingly hard to listen to, which is not what you want from what amounts to a comeback track.
Similarly, neither Alaina nor Pardi come across as terribly believable or sympathetic on this track. Alaina’s performance, while fine from a technical perspective, feels like it was sung through clenched teeth, giving the impression that her character is still steaming over being cheated on and isn’t having any fun at all, despite her claim that ” it was a damn good time.” For his part, Pardi comes across as an unrepentant, unsympathetic dudebro looking for an easy sexcapade, smugly relishing his role in the affair while exhibiting exactly none of the charm of Mark Wystrach’s “Mr. Lonely.” Instead of a wild night out, the image these two create is that of a irritated ex reluctantly executing a calculated revenge plan with a horny meathead just happy to be along for the ride, a look that flatters neither party involved. The pair has some decent vocal chemistry, but neither Alaina nor Pardi show off much charisma here, and by the end of the song everyone from the artists to the audience is just happy that it’s over.
The lyrics here tell the tale of a rebound hookup: A betrayed ex calls in a good-time specialist to help forgetting their breakup, and a wild night ensues. On one hand, the first narrator lays out their reasoning clearly and understandably (given the circumstances, you’re inclined to give the debauchery a pass), and the chorus tries it darnedest to convey that a good time was had (as opposed to what both the sound and the vocals convey). On the other hand, however, the second narrator’s perspective is full of needless bravado and really isn’t that interesting (they took the call, said yes, and leave us with the cringey “demin-on-demin” line), and the wild action is not only cliché and cookie-cutter (burning matches, lack of strings, etc.), but there’s very little action outside of the “dive-bar kissing” line. It’s the sort of song that really didn’t need to be a duet, and could have broadened its focus instead (for example, a lot of tracks like to show us the aftermath of the night; that would have been a better play here). Instead, we get a mediocre tale that tries to tell both sides of the story, but ends up not telling either that well.
“Getting Over Him” is a song that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to accomplish. There was some potential here and the lyrics desperately want to be fun, but the production wants to be moody instead, and the vocals try to split the difference and wind up being neither fun nor believable. It’s a mediocre rebound track that barely qualifies as radio filler, which means it’s nowhere near the comeback single Lauren Alaina needs to reestablish her radio presence (and I don’t see it doing much for Jon Pardi’s career either). Alaina needs to find some stronger material fast, or her mainstream career could be the next thing that’s over.
Rating: 5/10. It’s not worth your time.