Song Review: Priscilla Block, “My Bar”

The first artist I thought of when I heard this song was Niko Moon. That’s not a good thing.

Priscilla Block rode a burst of social media virality to a record deal back in 2020, but the radio wasn’t as thrilled with her work as TikTok was, and “Just About Over You” wound up with a mediocre #14 peak on Billboard’s airplay chart after over a year of climbing. The song, which covered the narrator’s reaction to seeing their ex at a bar, just didn’t resonate that much with listeners, and a sensible reaction would be to try something different, maybe something that showcases Block’s personality a bit more (“PMS”? “Thick Thighs”? “Peaked In High School”?). Instead, we get “My Bar,” which…covers the narrator’s reaction to seeing their ex at a bar? Seriously? Is the label trying to turn Block into a Moon-esque one trick pony? The narrator has a bit more attitude this time around, but otherwise this is the same darn song we just got from Block, and it’s no more interesting now than it was last time.

The production here is about as generic as it could possibly be, dominated by the same guitar-and-drum arrangement that the rest of Nashville is using. There’s a steel-guitar-sounding instrument floating around in the background, but otherwise these are the same freaking instruments with the same freaking tones and (lack of) texture that we always get, with absolutely nothing added to make the sound distinct or memorable. The regular minor chords and darker elements of the sound cast a pall over the song, making it feel less like a confident kiss-off and more like a petulant rant over a turf war, which really limits the enjoyment that the listener gets out of the track. The sound isn’t muscular enough to add some punch to the narrator’s demand, isn’t fun enough to enough the confrontation, and isn’t melancholy enough to make you sympathize with the narrator…so what exactly is the song supposed to be? The mix is nothing but a soundalike space-filler, seemingly pulled off the shelf just so the song wouldn’t be an acapella performance, and it holds the song back rather than pushing it forward.

Unfortunately, Block doesn’t give the audience any more to work with than the producer does. There aren’t any technical issues to speak of, but the main issue lies in the emotion (of lack thereof) in Block’s delivery. The verses are delivered with all the passion of an evening news anchor, the effort to project some attitude on the bridge is halfhearted at best, and when Block raises her voice and channels some emotion on the choruses, the feel is more indignant whining than righteous anger. Instead of scorning the ex who may or may not have come to the bar on purpose, the listener ends up thinking that Block is the one in the wrong for complaining about it, which is probably not what she intended. I feel like leaning in to at least one extreme would have been more effective: Get angry over the intrusion and emphasize how out of place they are, get sassy or snarky and lay out the ex’s transgressions for the world to see, or even just get kind of moody over the whole thing as she did on “Just About Over You.” Instead, we get this passive-aggressive, kinda-sorta annoyed approach from Block that simply doesn’t move the audience and convince them to keep listening.

The story here is that the narrator is hanging out at one of their longtime hangouts when their former partner walks in unexpectedly, and the narrator tells them to leave because “this is my bar.” The writers spend a lot of time establishing the narrator’s connection to the bar (they have the same drink in the same spot on the same night all the time), but they don’t give it much character, making it feel like a generic club that could be anyone’s bar. The hook is fairly weak, but the chorus opening is even weaker (“Don’t come walking in like you own it, I hate to break it to you, you don’t”), making the narrator’s complaints feel flimsy and overdramatic. Even if the narrator is a regular here, it doesn’t really bolster their case—you’re going to run into an ex everywhere if they’re local (even if they’re on “your side of town”), and they’ve got as much of a right to be there as anyone. (To the writers’ credit, there’s at least a little evidence presented that the ex’s presence is suspicious, but Block doesn’t emphasize it enough in her own performance to make the charges stick.) In the end, the story doesn’t bring anyone into the narrator’s camp, and doesn’t really convince anyone to pay attention at all.

“Just About Over You” was “just another song” when I reviewed it, and “My Bar” is pretty much a carbon copy of it—if anything, I’d say this song is actually a step backwards from its predecessor. The production is bland and boilerplate, the writing is weak and uninteresting, and Priscilla Block’s vocal performance is underwhelming and unconvincing. If there were lessons to be learned from Block’s debut disappointment and better songs to be released as a follow-up, Block and UMG Nashville didn’t seem to notice them as they essentially gave us the same darn song as before, with only a failed attempt as adding some attitude to try to bring the audience on board. It wasn’t enough, and Block’s career won’t survive too many more bad decisions like this one.

Rating: 5/10. Meh.

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