“Stars Like Confetti”? More like “Song Like Garbage.”
I’m starting to get the feeling that Dustin Lynch isn’t even trying anymore. He spent much of 2022 clogging up the airwaves with “Party Mode,” a lifeless, repetitive song that flamed out at #17 on Billboard’s airplay chart (and when your album leadoff track gets smacked down, that’s not a good sign), and he’s back now with “Stars Like Confetti,” a song so derivative in every facet that it could have been written and produced by an AI tool (but not performed; an AI tool would have more personality than Lynch does). I don’t feel like wasting any more time than I have to with this drivel, so let’s get this over with.
Remember how I thought the one place on “Party Mode” where “progress seems to be happening is in the production”? Yeah, they went right back to square one here: This is a bland, plodding guitar-and-drum mix that actively works against its subject matter with its tenor and tempo, and it does so unnecessarily. All the pieces that could have potentially spice up the mix are still here (pedal steel, dobro), but they’re buried so deep in the mix that you barely notice them, and the result is an undercurrent of slurry noise on the chorus that adds nothing to the sound. (Heck, the pedal steel mirrors the guitar lead on the bridge solo, but it’s impact is blunted by the electric axe it has to share with.) If that wasn’t enough, the arrangement also “pulls an Aldean” by using minor chords and leaning on neutral-to-negative instrument tones that create a bizarrely-ominous atmosphere that’s neither fun nor reflective nor nostalgic, and its leaden pace and beat cause the song to bog down and collapse under its own weight. This is about as mailed-in a mix as I’ve heard in a long time, an attempt at inoffensiveness that winds up being the sound’s most offensive trait.
As far as Lynch goes, could somebody check this man for a pulse? The man has all the charm and charisma of a hat stand, and he struggles to inject any sort of feeling or emotion into his lines. He seems to have trouble getting through the uneven lyrics (more on that later), and he’s only able to muster up a slight volume increase when he tries to ramp up the intensity on the chorus. He’s supposed to be looking back fondly on a long-forgotten rendezvous, but his delivery is a little too nonchalant (and honestly a bit sleazy too), and he falls far short of passing his nonexistent feelings to the listener. (I think the sound works against him a lot as well, but a better vocalist could overcome this, and “better” has never been a word to describe Lynch.) There’s just not a lot to say here: Lynch fails to earn the narrator’s sympathies or make the song interesting, which means he did exactly what we expected.
It’s the writing here that really gives me ChatGPT vibes: Not only is the story a cookie-cutter nostalgia trip that trots out all the usual buzzwords (we got the beer, we got the truck, we got the dirt road, we got the nighttime cuddle session, and so on), but it’s about as badly-written a song as I’ve heard in a long time. A surprising number of lines try to cram in too many syllables unnecessarily (and then the “see-forever sky” line is inexplicably left short), and the “God was throwing stars like confetti” hook is more awkward than it should be (stars falling kind of makes sense, but stars being thrown does not). The whole mess feels like exactly what you’d get if you ran the last two years of mainstream country music through a machine-learning algorithm, and you’ve heard everything here at least a hundred times before. It just feels like a lazy effort on the part of the writers (did it really take three writers to cobble this junk together?), and when you combine something everyone has already heard with an artist no one wants to hear at all, the results are not pleasant.
“Stars Like Confetti” is an amalgamation of everything I can’t stand about modern country music. The sound is ill-conceived and ill-fitting, the writing is haphazard, paint-by-numbers, and borders on plagiarism, and if personality were dynamite, Dustin Lynch wouldn’t have enough to blow his hat off. At some point, even Nashville has to realize this guy has jumped the shark, and after a decade of letting him foist his mediocre material onto the public, it’s long past time to toss him out and give his roster spot to someone with some actual talent. I’m sick of wasting my time on this joker, and with any luck I’ll never have to do so again.
Rating: 3/10. NEXT!