Song Review: Jason Aldean, “Trouble With A Heartbreak”

I’ve been calling Luke Combs “Thanos” for a while, but does someone else deserve the title?

Don’t look now, but eighteen years into his career we might be seeing Jason Aldean at the peak of his powers. He hasn’t missed #1 on Country Airplay or the Top 30 of the Hot 100 with any of his single releases this decade, and his duet with Carrie Underwood “If I Didn’t Love You” wound up as one of the biggest hits of 2021. At this point in his career, Aldean has a strong sense of who he is as an artist and knows how to play to his strengths, and that’s exactly what he does on the leadoff single for the second half of his Macon, Georgia double album, “Trouble With A Heartbreak.” With his trademark ominous and hard-hitting sound, as well a surprisingly-decent message in the writing, Aldean continues yet another impressive streak, one of getting slightly-favorable reviews here at the Korner (even as I question whether he should be on the airwaves in the first place).

Generally, if you’ve listened to Aldean for any length of time you pretty much know what you’ll be getting from his production: The guitars will be hard-rock and hard-edged, the overall tone with be dark and foreboding, and the intensity will be cranked up to ten whether or not the song warrants it. This is still mostly true on this track, but there are some deviations as well: The amplified acoustic guitar that opens the track has a slicker, cleaner feel, and the classic Aldean guitars and drums that jump in on the chorus are noticeably dialed back, and lack the punch that his songs usually feature. (The minor chords also don’t dominate the chord progression the way they do on some other Aldean tracks.) This, however, is a good thing: The mix’s more-measured approach helps the writing cut through the noise, and the old Aldean sound that comes out during the choruses gives you a sense of the depths you can sink to in the aftermath of a failed relationship, while stopping just short of going too far and overwhelming the message. Some songs can’t be in your face the entire time without losing sight of their raison d’être, and the producer recognizes the potential for a problem here and pulls in on the reins a little to keep the audience focused. It’s still an Aldean mix, but by being more deliberate in its application of force, the sound does a respectable job providing support for the song.

Aldean follows the lead of the production and dials back his usual intensity long enough to get his point across, but he still gets a chance to showcase the attitude and intensity that he’s known for. In a way, this song is set up perfectly for Aldean, “a one-trick pony when it come to his singing style,” because it gives him a target for his frustration that lets him project his usual defiance and negativity (in this case, the target is those who doubt the severity of a painful breakup) while also giving him a chance to show a sensitive side when he talks about heartaches that defy time and alcohol. (It reminds me a lot of “Any Ol’ Barstool,” except that the narrator is able to be honest here instead of putting up a feeble and transparent wall of defiance.) By allowing Aldean to be true to himself and do what he always does, it enhances his believability because he can deliver a performance that the audience expects and accepts, while also letting him stretch out in a way that doesn’t feel out of character. Even a one-trick pony must do something well, and by staying mostly in his wheelhouse and using it as a basis for his message, Aldean is able to connect with listeners and entice them to ruminate on his words.

So about those words: The narrator here is mostly trying to tell us about how much they suffered in the aftermath of a failed relationship, but they frame the tale as a public-service message, warning all those who pass later that such unimaginable pain is conceivable and perhaps even normal, regardless of how others may downplay it with their advice. The speaker is a bit combative in the first verse, painting themselves as a trustworthy insider by taking an “us vs. them” to dispensing advice (nearly every line starts with “Don’t let anybody tell ya…”), but their point is valid: Everyone reacts to a lost love differently, and “the trouble with a heartbreak” is that some people are cut deeper and take longer to recover than others, and sometimes people never truly get over what happened. The imagery and plot devices here are admittedly generic and cookie-cutter (we’ve got whiskey, we’ve got long drives, we’ve got “rearview sunsets”), but the rebutted advice (get back out there, meet somebody else, etc.) is also pretty common too, which helps the track resonate with a broader audience. Despite being just another lost-love song at its core, the writers give us just enough of a twist on a trope to catch the listener’s ear and entice them to pay attention.

“The Trouble With A Heartbreak” is a decent example of an artist pushing the boundaries while still staying true to who they are, and while I wouldn’t call it Jason Aldean’s best work, it’s a decent addition to his discography that features a suitable-yet-recognizable sound, writing that both vents and advises, and a vocal performance that fits Aldean’s persona to a T. While Aldean has released his share of clunkers over the years, I’m starting to think that in another decade we’ll be looking at him the way we look at Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney now: As an artist that’s managed to stick to their guns, connect with the people, and last far beyond their expected expiration date.

Rating: 6/10. It’s worth giving this one a shot.

Song Review: Maren Morris, “Circles Around This Town”

“Writing circles around this town” is a low bar to clear these days, but at least Maren Morris is trying.

I tend to be a contrarian when it comes to Morris’s work: I’m usually ambivalent about her best-performing songs, but the ones I like don’t seem to do that well. Case in point: I was bored by “The Bones” and intrigued by “To Hell & Back,” so naturally the latter song limped to a #32 airplay peak while the former nearly cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Morris spent 2021 teaming up with husband Ryan Hurd on “Chasing After You,” but she’s back with her own song this year with the leadoff single for upcoming album Humble Quest, “Circles Around This Town.” It doesn’t stray too far from the standard formula in its sound, but the angle of the writing is different and interesting enough to make it a decent listen, which means it falls in between her last two solo singles and I have no idea how it’ll perform on the charts.

The production here is a bit of a mixed bag, and seems to achieve whatever success it gets in spite of itself. The instruments are mostly what you’d expect from a country song (the mandolin is the only item that come close to qualifying as a surprise), and they have an annoying habit of running together on the chourses and turning into an indistinguishable wall of noise (the video claims there’s a steel guitar in the mix somewhere, but good luck finding it). Still, there’s a roughness to the instruments on the verses that instantly identifies this as a Morris track (the snare texture is particularly distinct), and the brightness of the mandolin makes it the one instrument that can cut through the sonic wall and announce its presence. The vibe here is an interesting one: While the overall tone is neutral and invites reflection of the narrator’s journey, the mandolin and acoustic guitar give the sound a a hint of optimism, suggesting that the narrator has grown comfortable with the struggle and content with their position, and they have no regrets over the journey. It’s a mix that feels like it shouldn’t work and yet somehow does, complementing the story without ever getting in its way.

When you’re trying to tell your own story like Morris does here, the key to success is believability: You don’t have to tell the exact truth (or at least not your truth), but do listeners actually buy what you’re trying to sell? Morris already has one of the more distinct voices in the genre and doesn’t run into any technical issues here, and she passes the believability test because a) she’s got enough charisma in her delivery to come across as trustworthy, and b) there’s enough verifiable evidence included in the song to back her up. Even beyond the specific songs that are cited (“My Church,” “80s Mercedes”), Morris invites you to scrutinize her discography here, and while I’m not always impressed with her work (see: “Rich”), her songs do tend to be a little different than others, and more recently they feel a bit deeper too (see: “To Hell & Back”). In turn, her vocals and her background lead you believe the rest of her claims, from the small (coming to town in a Montero with no A/C) to the big (she’s really tried to distinguish herself from other artists, and has struggled to compete with them at times). It’s a solid effort and a well-constructed offering from Morris, and I’m hoping she continues this trend with her third album.

The writing here is mostly a personal tale about the struggle of getting started in Nashville, which isn’t always the most novel topic (we heard hints of this in Thanos’s “Doin’ This” earlier this week), but what stand out in the angle from which the song approaches the topic. Most songs in this vein focus on the struggle of the performing artist: We hear mostly about the dive bars and tip jars and all the perils of performing. This song, in contrast, is about the battle of the songwriter: How do you write a song that stands out amidst a sea of writers in Nashville, and how do you convince someone with the power to make things happen to take a chance on you? The visuals here avoid the usual locations (heck, this might be the first song I’ve ever heard reference apartment security deposits), and the song works to drive home how long it takes you to be an overnight success (“a couple hundred songs” in this case). The line that resonates with me the most was about “trying to compete with everybody else’s ones that got away”: I’ve already ranted about how every song talks about the same stuff nowadays, and trying to find a way to differentiate your take on a topic that’s already oversaturated and forces you to use the same ten buzzwords as the rest of the field must be a nightmare for modern writers. (Honestly, it feels like a lot of people have just given up and are now just leaning in to the bland sameness, hoping to blend in enough to sneak onto the radio without anyone noticing.) It’s something that Morris has been dealing with for a while, and although she’s hasn’t always succeeded in doing so, she does a decent job of doing so here.

“Circles Around This Town” is a good example of how to make a song stand out in a crowded field: Try to take a different approach to a common topic, bring in some things that people don’t often hear about, and use your sound and your vocals to bring some freshness and credibility to the table. I wouldn’t call it a great song, but it’s a solid, well-executed effort with hooks in both the production and writing to catch your attention, as Maren Morris does a nice job drawing the audience in with her performance. It’s a decent return from last year’s solo hiatus, and I’m hoping that she can write a few more circles around Nashville going forward.

Rating: 6/10. Give this one a few spins and see what you think.

Song Review: Luke Combs, “Doin’ This”

Honestly, I wish Luke Combs was doin’ a lot more than this.

I first bestowed the nickname “Thanos” on Combs almost three years ago, and for a long time he owned the title by owning country music, racing up the charts with each single and spending weeks (and even months) at #1. However, his material started growing stale and more formulaic (to the point where he seemed to sing the same darn song over and over), and his momentum started to waver late in 2021, as “Cold As You” didn’t show Combs’s usual speed in climbing the charts and only spent a single week at #1. Granted, a bad day at the office for Combs is a terrific day for any other mere mortal, but there are higher expectations for Thanos, and after going seven singles deep into What You See [Is | Ain’t Always] What You Get, it felt like time for Combs and company to go back to the drawing board and come up with something fresh. At long last, the moment has arrived: Combs is releasing “Doin’ This,” the presumed leadoff single for his third album, and it’s…well, at least it’s not yet another iteration of a cheesy love song. Unfortunately, it’s not much of a step up either: The sound is still too boilerplate and doesn’t fit the story, and the story itself isn’t terribly interesting or inspiring. Combs deserves some credit for trying, but he’s set the bar pretty high over the last few years, and this doesn’t clear it.

The production here is…well, let’s see if I can say it without saying it. We’ve got an acoustic guitar that opens the track, some heavier electric guitars adding some weight to the chorus (and a lighter one handling the bridge solo), a piano to get the signal the song’s seriousness, a steel guitar relegated to background atmosphere duty…you know, the same things everyone else is sticking in their mixes. This isn’t automatically a bad things, but even the instrument tones feel generic and soundalike, as if there are only five session players in all of Nashville anymore. The arrangement gives a track a spacious, arena-ready sound that reaches for an uplifting and inspiring feel, but it’s severely overselling the subject matter: This is a personal song in which the narrator declares that fame hasn’t changed them and that they would be the same person doing the same things, and doesn’t really have the inspirational angle that the mix would have you believe. Because of this, there’s a slight ’empty sonic calories’ feel here, as if the production is writing checks that the writing can’t really cover. In short, this sound is a bit of an awkward fit here, and it doesn’t grab the listener the way that it needs to.

Combs’s performance suffers from a similar issue: Much like with “Cold As You,” he puts a lot of force behind his delivery that just doesn’t seem warranted. It’s not a technically-demanding song and Combs sounds comfortable on the verses, but you can almost feel the veins in his neck bulging as he shouts his way through the choruses. Such an approach would make sense if there were a grander message for the audience behind all this (see: Cody Johnson’s “‘Til You Can’t”), but for a personal song like this one it feels like overkill and makes it sound like Combs is framing this song as a rebuttal to anyone who thinks fame has changed him. (I think the issue stems from how raspy his voice gets when he cranks up the volume; if he could better maintain his tone it wouldn’t be that big an issue.) I know he gets asked a lot about what he would do if he weren’t a radio star, but his tone implies that there’s some mysterious negative intent behind the question. Given his relatable everyman charisma, applying this much power to his delivery is unnecessary—the man could sell an ice maker in Antarctica, and if he says he’d be the same music addict with or without the fame, I believe him. This should be the perfect song for someone like Thanos, and my guess is that just like the producer, he’s oversinging here to try to make the song something that it’s not and doesn’t need to be, and it hinders his ability to connect with the audience as a result.

The lyrics here are fairly simple: The narrator is a big-time musician now, but they were planning on being a musician regardless of their stature in the industry, and if they weren’t rich and famous, they’d still be grinding it out on the local venue circuit. The story has some detail with it, but outside of the “burning CDs” line, it’s pretty standard and predictable: They’d be driving an old car, working a low-wage job, and playing with friends for tips at any place that’s willing to give them a platform. We’ve gotten a bunch of songs about “the struggle” before (for example, Alan Jackson’s “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow”), and this one really doesn’t stand out in any way. The production and vocals try to push this song as an inspirational anthem, but it’s a bit too personal and the message isn’t quite there—it’s less “follow your dreams” and more “I’d be doing this anyway.” (The “I’d still be doin’ this if I wasn’t doin’ this” hook isn’t as catchy as the writers think either.) There’s just something missing here to really convince the listener to pay attention, and keeps the song from making the impression it’s hoping for.

While I’m happy that “Doin’ This” keeps Luke Combs out of saccharine ballad territory, I’m disappointed that it doesn’t get him to explore more-interesting topics either. While someone like Thomas Rhett is more interesting when he draws on his life experiences, Combs seems to be less interesting when he tries the same trick, which is not great for someone who co-writes all of his own material. This is a small step in the right direction, but I was hoping for a giant leap to kick off Combs’s third album cycle, and this one simply doesn’t do enough to draw the audience in. Combs is still Thanos for now, if only because there’s no one else in a position to challenge his dominance in the genre (although Walker Hayes has a lot of momentum right now; let’s hope that fizzles out quickly), but he’s going to have to up his game if he wants to keep his crown and his Infinity Gauntlet.

Rating: 5/10. You’re not missing much.

Song Reviews: The Lightning Round (December 2021 Edition, Side B)

The train for the Korner’s year-end lists leaves tonight, and if a song hasn’t gotten a ticket/review by then, it won’t make it to the list in time! This means that songs have one shot, one opportunity to seize everything they ever wanted. So will they capture it, or will they let it slip? Let’s find out…

Walker Hayes, “AA”

All the viral success in the world can’t hide the fact that Hayes is a really poor excuse for an artist, and “AA” merely confirms this point. The song tries to make light of life’s common hardships and strike a “laugh to keep from crying” tone to signal solidarity with the working class, but between the slick synthetic beat, the guitars marinated in audio effects, Hayes’s raspy, toneless voice, and his utter lack of charisma (hearing him try to sell himself as “just another John Deere guy” is not only unbelievable, it’s downright laughable), the song completely fails to connect with its intended audience. As a result, the upbeat sound clashes badly with the gloomy lyrics (which are hit-and-miss at best—the oil-changing lines are okay, the pointless Nick Saban reference is not, and the “keep my daughters off the pole” line is just awkward), and the song winds up as a failed attempt at pandering, feeling neither believable nor relatable. It’s not easy making that common-man connection as Alabama does in “Forty Hour Week (For A Livin’),” and Hayes doesn’t even come close here.

Rating: 4/10. We all should try to avoid songs like this.

Brett Young, “You Didn’t”

Five years ago Young looked like the future of country music, but these days he’s scrambling just to remain part of the genre’s present. This song was released a while ago, and I was wondering why it wasn’t finding any traction on the radio. Now that I’ve heard it, I think I see what happened: Country music is drowning in tracks where unlikeable dudebros make pushy demands to be liked or cling to long-lost romances for way too long, and Young bucks the trend by doing the exact opposite. The narrator admits that the relationship it over, casts no blame on anyone, and tries to act in the best interest of the other person, and while a weaker vocalist would fall on their face trying to sell that last part, Young pulls out his best impression of another Brett (Eldredge), and while he doesn’t quite reach BE’s level, he does more than enough to make the narrator feel genuine and believable. The slick guitars and mix of real and synthetic permission give the song a slightly-sensual feel (honestly, this comes closer to being a sex jam then some actual country sex jams), and while the steel guitar doesn’t get a ton of screen time, it provides some nice accents for the arrangement. This feels like a return to form for Young after his more-generic Ticket To L.A. singles, and I will happily take it.

Rating: 6/10. This one’s worth taking a chance on hearing.

Old Dominion, “No Hard Feelings”

…Wait, didn’t I just review this song? After the nihilistic tire fire that was “I Was On A Boat That Day,” Old Dominion has returned to their senses, and take the Brett Young approach to approaching a failed relationship. This takes a slightly different approach than “You Didn’t”: For one thing, the vibe is much more springy and upbeat, with bright acoustic guitars and light-touch, improvised-sounding production (are those wood blocks, glass bottles, or something metallic?), and even some swelling bass notes all anchoring the production. The narrator achieves believabilty through a) lead singer Matthew Ramsey putting a spring in his step and matching the positive atmosphere of the sound, and b) by being honest about how much the breakup affected them initially: They were mad, they got drunk, and they’d still rather be together than not, but they worked through their grief and eventually came to the same conclusion that Young does (i.e. what makes the other person happy makes the narrator happy too). Old Dominion is much better when they try to be more thoughtful in their work, and here’s hoping they stay sober and off of that boat for a while.

Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a few spins on the turntable.

Ingrid Andress & Sam Hunt, “Wishful Drinking”

Sadly, we close out the year with a pair doing some delusional “wishful drinking,” and it’s no more interesting than Cole Swindell & Lainey Wilson’s recent failed attempt at closure. In contrast to Swindell/Wilson’s more-fiery take on the scenario, this one takes a smoother, more-pop-infused approach, with its prominent snap track and synthetic beat and its overall minimalist approach (less loud, less busy arrangement, using a dobro to drive the melody instead of harder guitars), and while I think this approach is the more effective of the two (I’d also argue that Andress & Hunt have better vocal chemistry), it still doesn’t help make the story any more interesting or compelling. There’s too much alcohol and not enough detail here: We don’t get any sense of the relationship that was lost, so the listener is forced to fill in the gaps will all the things the pair misses about each other, and in the end the benders accomplish nothing of purpose or interest. (Unlike the Swindell/Wilson track, you don’t even get the sense that the narrators made out or even met up at the end of the night; they might as well be on opposite sides of the world.) It’s more of a boring song than a bad one, and if teaming up with Hunt is the only way to get Andress more time on the airwaves, I suppose I’ll just have to put up with it for now.

Rating: 5/10. Both Andress and Hunt have better songs that are more worthy of your time.

Song Reviews: The Lightning Round (December 2021 Edition, Side A)

With time winding down and work ramping up, we here at the Korner are in a mad scramble to cover all the major (and a few not-so-major) releases in time for them to be eligible for the year-end lists. It seems like there’s been a lot more late-year activity in 2021 than in years past, so I want to make sure everything gets a fair shake before the big lists and awards drop next week.

Will these be good? Will they be bad? There’s only one way to find out, so without further ado, let’s get started!

Morgan Evans, “Love Is Real”

Love may be real, but I wish it wasn’t so generic. On one hand, there’s a lot to like about this song: The faster tempo, lively acoustic guitar, and generally upbeat vibe makes this the rare modern love song that actually sounds like a love song, and Evans uses an off-brand Keith Urban impression to deliver a performance that’s equal parts fun and charming. That said, the writing leaves a lot to be desired: The Mad Libs laundry-list approach is the dominant force here (the first verse, with its bench seats and blue jeans, is especially hard to stomach), aimless lovestruck driving has been done to death as a story concept, and there’s a noticeable focus on the other person’s physical appearance (something that country music had been trying to avoid in the wake of the sleazy Metro-Bro era) that makes the song feel a bit shallower than it should. (Also, the phrase “the rust runs out these wheels” feels too clever by half and should have been left out.) That said, it’s not a bad song as far as these tracks go, and Evans and the producer do their part to make this an enjoyable (if not all that satisfying) listen.

Rating: 6/10. If you absolutely have to listen to a cookie-cutter love song, this isn’t a terrible choice.

Justin Moore, “With A Woman You Love”

So we get yet another run-of-the-mill love song…and I don’t really mind this one either? The production gives its guitars and drums more a purpose by going for more of a classic-rock feel, and the textured, hard-hitting sound provides plenty of energy to help the drive the song forward. Moore is a decent fit for the “reformed bro” persona of the narrator, and the longer-term focus of the track makes it feel much less ephemeral than Evans’s track. Once again, I’m still not a huge fan of the writing here—it feels a bit too stock to warrant the energy the production throws behind it, and lines like “with a woman you love, you’ll get home at a decent hour” come across as weak and uncompelling (they don’t do a great job selling the “find someone you really love!” message). While I’d put this on the same level as Evans’s song, both tracks feel like they’re being carried by their sound and whatever charisma the artist can muster. I’ll take it, but I’d like to see a bit more effort on the songwriting front to make things more interesting.

Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a few spins to see what you think.

Lee Brice, “Soul”

Okay, I think I’ve had my fill of these things now. Brice gives us yet another song singing the praises on their partner, but this is the worst of the bunch so far. With a base line stolen from The Police and Grady Smith’s favorite snap track, the song feels a bit too slick and cold to generate the romantic warmth of either Evans’s or Moore’s song (and the regular minor chords don’t help matters any). The writing feels more than a bit disingenuous here: You can’t call someone “Mozart in the sheets” and say that “your body makes me weak,” and then try to claim that it’s their soul that you find attractive. (Additionally, the song feels short and half-written, and gets really repetitive at the end.) Brice tries to bring some soul to his performance, but it’s an inconsistent performance at best that winds up feeling more creepy than romantic (seriously, the way he says “kiss you from your head to your toeses,” which is a dumb line to begin with, just makes my skin crawl). In the end, this is another failed sex-jam attempt from a genre that should really know better by now, and it’s outclassed by even the far-from-perfect tracks we’ve already discussed.

Rating: 5/10. Feel free to skip this one.

Morgan Wade, “Wilder Days”

Wade is a Virginia native who released her major-label debut album Reckless earlier this year, and my initial impression from the sound and vocal stylings of her debut single reminds me a lot of Miranda Lambert, but I don’t think Wade quite measures up to her predecessor on this track. For one thing, her voice sounds very muddled and she struggles to enunciate with her delivery, making it really hard to tell what she’s saying at times (especially compared to Lambert’s sharper vocal tone). Both artists lean on attitude and a wild streak in their songs, but I don’t like the way the narrator applies said wildness here, as she spends the entire song trying to goad the other person into being someone that they’re obviously trying to distance themselves from now (and based on the little glimpses we get, leaving it in the past is probably for the best). Additionally, beyond some drinking and smoking we don’t get any glimpse at what anyone’s “wilder days” look like—the onus is on the listener to fill in the gaps, and if you can’t do it, the song just falls flat. The darker guitar tones and deliberate tempo and straight from the Lambert playbook, and they do the best job among all the pieces in imitating her style, but otherwise this is a bland story that just doesn’t hold the listener’s attention. It comes across as a bootleg version of an artist who doesn’t really need to be replaced yet (although I would have said otherwise a few years ago), and why settle for an imitation when you can hear the real thing?

Rating: 5/10. Go check out Lambert’s “wilder days” instead.

Song Review: Niko Moon, “PARADISE TO ME”

Okay, I have officially had it with this loser.

Back In 2020, Niko Moon rode the Cobronavirus movement to success with his debut single “GOOD TIME,” but he appears to be completely incapable of singing any other sort of song. “NO SAD SONGS” was just a reheated rehash of “GOOD TIME,” and country music just raised an eyebrow, said “is this all you got?”, and made Moon settle for a pathetic #49 peak. Any rational individual would take this as a sign that they need to up their game, and change up their formula (whether it be sound, subject matter, or vocal approach) to find something that resonates with the public. Instead, Moon’s giving us “PARADISE TO ME,” which is yet another reheated rehash of “GOOD TIME,” and it isn’t any more compelling to listen to than its predecessors. To get absolutely zero sense of growth or even awareness from an artist trafficking in such drivel is simply infuriating, and as far as I’m concerned, this is three strikes—Moon is out.

If you’re going to try to drop a fun, chill song on us, you should back it with a sound that is suitably fun and chill. Instead, we get the same “reheated Bro-Country mix” I called out in my “NO SAD SONGS” mini-review, dominated by a cold, lifeless drum machine that’s so leaden that it weighs down the rest of the arrangement. The piano that opens the track is far too dark and dour-sounding to be fun, and its basic riffs are so mailed-in that they had to slap a stamp on the instrument to cover the postage. Their are some acoustic instruments that try to bring some sunshine to the mix (an acoustic guitar provided some background noise, a mandolin interjecting on the second verse), but they’re overwhelmed by the beat and fail to even elevate the mix to a tolerable level. (As for the random whistling, it makes the song feel more sleazy than anything else.) The result is that this is about as bad a mismatch between sound and subject matter as I’ve ever heard: The writing tries to celebrate the ability to have a party and relax anywhere, and this heavy sound give off a hard, serious vibe that makes you think that no one is actually enjoying themselves as they drink themselves into oblivion. (Seriously, the battle theme from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a better fit for the track than this mix.) It’s more of a downer than an upper, which is the exact opposite of what the song was going for.

Similarly, Moon seems to be trying a little too hard to play it cool for the track, and winds up sounding pretty ambivalent about an activity he’s supposedly trying to hype up. There aren’t any technical issues here, but it’s mostly because Moon leaves his voice in a narrow range and plays it overly safe, refusing to put any passion or power into his delivery, and the result is a narrator describing a close-to-home drinking party with all the passion of a news anchor taking about a liquor store robbery. It’s as if even Moon himself has grown tired of his shtick, because he mails in this performance as much as the piano does. (The occasional “Woo!” and “Yeah!” he tosses in in the end are the only signs that the man has a pulse at all.) It’s a flat, soundalike performance that doesn’t set Moon apart from any of his peers, and he gives the listener no reason to tune in and fails to sell them on his drunken escapism.

If you combined “GOOD TIME” with Old Dominion’s awful “I Was On A Boat That Day,” this song would be the result. I’m not even sure this clears the low bar of Mad Libs songwriting, because it never really gets past the alcohol: We get “cold ones,” “piña coladas,” “whiskey and cola,” “Corona”…we’re just a glass of red wine away from opening our own bar. Then we’ve got the truck, the Yeti cooler, the Ray-Bans, the pontoon boat, the random name drops (I’ll admit it, I’d never heard of the Ying Yang Twins until now). The narrator spends so much time talking about drinking that he never actually gets around to telling us why “this lakefront view is paradise to me.” I mean, you can drink yourself silly anywhere (at home, at the bar, etc.), so outside of a single line mentioning “wake boards and Seadoos,” what’s the appeal of being here? This is just another nihilistic ode to alcohol poisoning, just like every other single Moon has released, and with lazy, repetitive lyrics like this, it’s a weak track even among bad company.

“PARADISE TO ME” is a poor excuse for a song that’s be done (and done a lot better) a million times before. In a word, this song is uninspired: Throw together a list of overused tropes and alcoholic beverages, have Niko Moon deliver it with the passion of a tired sloth, and hammer it home with a joyless drum machine that drowns out everything else. It’s a Cobronavirus leftover that even Old Dominion’s recent tire fire shows up, and it indicates that Moon is regressing as an artist instead of branching out and searching for a formula that actually resonates with the radio. Personally, I’m out of patience with this one-trick pony—he needs to get the heck out of Nashville and not let the door hit him on the way out.

Rating: 3/10. Yuck.

Song Review: Midland, “Sunrise Tells The Story”

Because it wouldn’t be a year in country music without them.

Midland may remain a favorite act of this blog, but it’s been almost two years since they last appeared in a review (“Cheatin’ Songs” was released back in January of 2020), and nearly three years since they made any meaningful impact on the radio (“Burn Out” hit #3 on Billboard’s airplay chart in March of 2019; they haven’t even cracked the Top 20 since). This isn’t to say, however, that the band hasn’t been active: Since “Cheatin’ Songs” first appeared, the group has released a live album, a documentary with accompanying soundtrack, and eventually an EP The Last Resort that feels like either a prelude to or a stand-in for a third studio album. “Sunrise Tells The Story” was chosen to be the project’s first radio release, and it’s a nice addition to their discography that captures the post-euphoria shock and buzz of the day after an unexpected tryst.

I’ve gone after a lot of tracks for their basic guitar-and-drum mixes, but you could level the same charge against the production here as well, so why does this mix succeed where others fail? Let’s start with the time signature, as slower 3/4 tracks are pretty rare these days (I might call this 6/8 rather than 3/4, but that’s a nitpicky distinction). The instrument tones play a role as well, with the guitars and drums featuring a slightly rougher tone and texture that evoke the group’s traditional-leaning sound more than the slicker mixes of modern times. (The steel guitar isn’t as prominent as it is in Scotty McCreery’s “Damn Strait,” but it gets enough screen time to leave its mark on the sound instead of feeling token.) While the vibe of the song feels too neutral to help the listener feel something, in this case it’s actually the point: There’s a sense of numb bewilderment to this sound, accentuating the fact that no one really knows if what transpired was a good thing or a bad thing. There’s a real sense of atmosphere to this mix: Rather than passing judgement, the mix gives you the sense that you’re surveying the aftermath of a chaotic event, letting you feel the unease in the air rather than just telling you about it. This is a messy moment for everyone involved, and the producer does a nice job transporting the listener into the moment, giving them the facts, and letting them draw their own conclusion. In other words, it’s a very different sound and approach from many tracks on the radio today, and it helps the track stand out from its peers and draw people into the story.

I had some issues with lead singer Mark Wystrach’s performance on “Cheatin’ Songs,” but he rebounds nicely on a track with a deceptively-high degree of difficulty. The band has created a roguish image for themselves that lets them fits comfortably into the rowdier part of barroom life while lending them credibility for the hard-earned perspective they get in the aftermath, and this song requires both sides of this coin to be believable. Wystrach’s easy charm and smooth delivery do much of the heavy lifting here: His past work makes you believe his character would absolutely stumble into a night like this (he was “Mr. Lonely,” after all), but he’s able to take a step back here and survey the scene objectively—he’s neither too high or too low about what happened—in a way that makes him seem genuine and even sympathetic, especially as he wonders if the one-night stand could become something more. The primary feeling here seems to be shock, as if the narrator is still feeling the effects of the encounter and is a bit surprised at what happened, and Wystrach’s distanced tenor (mixed with a small drop of disbelief) meshes well with the mood set by the production. (As usual, the band contributes solid harmony and instrument work for the track—one of the benefits of having a standout sound is that it justifies the band’s place on the payroll!) It’s a solid overall performance from the trio, and it makes the song feel more compelling as a result.

I really like the lyrics here for a couple of reasons:

  • The one-night stand story here is nothing new in country music, but the narrator’s attitude is refreshing: No blame is cast, no buck is passed, and no spin is spun—the narrator is processing the scene at the same time as we are, and they take a just-the-facts approach to allow us to draw our conclusions, and they neither dodge culpability for the event nor critique the other person for causing it to happen.
  • The level of detail is amazing (especially in the opening verse), painting the picture of a messy, chaotic scene that the audience can sink their collective teeth into and visualize. Unlike the “ineffectively vague” songs we usually get, this is a story that the listener isn’t expected to have experienced, so we get the full breakdown to be able to place ourselves on the scene.
  • Yes, it’s an ephemeral one-night stand and even the narrator admits that, but there’s something endearing about the way the narrator expresses their preferences on the bridge (“don’t know where it’s going, I just want you to stay”). This may have started as a no-strings-attached meeting and may yet end that way, but there’s something about this part that really humanizes the narrator and makes you wonder if there might be more to the story in the end.

It’s not a perfect piece (for one thing, the writers tried to cram too many syllables on some of the lines), but it’s a well-told story that grabs the listener’s attention.

“Sunrise Tells The Story” is a good song that stands up to the best stuff on the radio right now, and while I have no illusions that the industry will give it the time of day, it’s cool to see that Midland is sticking to their guns and taking a new old approach to catch our attention. It’s not really a positive or negative song, but through thoughtful writing, understated production, and a well-executed vocal performance, the trio turns an ambiguous fling into gripping theater that keeps people turning the pages to see what comes next. What comes next for Midland may be anybody’s guess (hopefully The Last Resort gets expanded into a full LP, although I’m not all that enamored by some of the EP tracks), but for my money they’re still doing the right things, even if they aren’t rewarded for it.

Rating: 7/10. Technically this is the lowest score Midland has ever gotten here, but that says more about the tougher scale I seem to be using this year than anything else. Go check this one out.

Song Review: Parmalee, “Take My Name”

Don’t look now, but it’s time for our yearly dose of Parmalee pop-country. Just like last time, you won’t taste a thing.

As much as the Boyfriend country trend annoyed me, the members of Parmalee probably wake up every day thanking their lucky stars that it came around. After several years of embarrassing failures (“Hotdamalama,” anyone?) and complete irrelevance, the group teamed up with Blanco Brown and did their best Dan + Shay impression for “Just The Way,” a forgettable Boyfriend track that nonetheless broke the band out of their slump and put them back at #1 (even if it took nearly ten months for it to happen). With no other options or redeeming characteristics, the band has decided to ride this train to the end of the line, and thus we’re now getting “Take My Name,” a boring by-the-numbers love song that feels consciously and conspicuously crafted to be a part of every wedding playlist in 2022. The track is equals parts cheesy and synthetic, and will be quickly forgotten once the newness wears off.

I feel like analyzing the production here is a complete waste of time, because let’s be honest, you already what instruments are here and what the mix sounds like. The song is primarily piano-driven, and while there are other instruments present (some acoustic and electric guitars for background noise, some steel guitar notes for flavor, and even what sounds like a token banjo buried deep in the arrangement), they don’t add a lot to the sound, and for the most part you won’t realize they’re even there (even the electric guitar solo is so short it feels kind of sad). Still, pianos are the ultimate “serious song” indicator are at least a defensible choice for the song, I can’t say the same about the percussion, which is dominated by a slick, synthetic beat (real drums occasionally pop in, but they sound dull and canned). The beat clashes badly with the song’s subject matter: If you’re trying to create/celebrate a love that is supposedly deep and everlasting, leaning on percussion that sounds this cheap and fake really undercuts your argument (after all, these are the same beats used in all the sleazy pick-up songs we’ve gotten over the last few years). I’m also not a fan of the overall feel of the sound, with the piano sounding too dark and the minor chords being too prevalent to let the song feel happy or romantic. In other words, this whole thing feels like a series of bad decisions, and simply doesn’t establish the right vibe for the writing.

On “Just The Way,” I declared that “Brown is the only big addition to Parmalee’s bland formula,” and with him gone the group reverts back to their usual bland mediocrity. Lead singer Matt Thomas avoids any technical issues on the track, but there’s nothing compelling about him as a vocalist (or distinct either; if you told me that, say, Matt Stell was singing this song, I would believe you). I’m sure the narrator cares a whole bunch about their significant other, but Thomas fails to allow the audience to share in those feelings, and thus he can’t convince them to give two you-know-whats about their love story, and as a result the song simply bores them to tears (seriously, I would have walked away from this song after the first listen if I wasn’t reviewing it). The rest of the band is as invisible and replaceable as ever: There’s nothing distinct about their sound or their harmonies, so why does Stoney Creek bother keeping them on the payroll? This song has been done a million times before (heck, Dan + Shay have done it several times themselves, although whether they did it any better is a matter of debate), and with nothing special to catch your ear from the vocals, you’re not missing anything by missing this one.

The lyrics are…well, they’re really just an extended marriage proposal, and frankly it’s so cheesy that you could serve it with red wine. The narrator is just so smitten with their partner that they’re throwing caution to the wind and asking them to “take my name” (which is pretty weak as far as hooks go). I understand trying to be “effectively vague” to make the song applicable to as many people as possible, but the song doesn’t provide any backstory for the narrator at all: No first meeting, no first kiss, no anything for the listener to visualize and imagine. The whole thing comes across as way more ephemeral than it should—it’s as if the pair just met and the narrator immediately decided it was forever (which is both creepy and par for the course for Boyfriend country). Another issue is that the song is heavily dependent on the performer’s charisma: With the narrator being the only character that’s even partially fleshed out (they’re declared to be “the last guy anybody think might ever be talking like this”), they’re reliant on the singer having a notable footloose-and-fancy-free persona to make the song believable, and Thomas isn’t really notable on any level (although anyone who sings a song like “Hotdamalama” might well be the last person you expect to make this kind of statement). In the end, this is a run-of-the-mill, paint-by-numbers love song that barely qualifies as the framework for a story, and we’ve all got better things to do than listen to a half-written song.

“Take My Name” is the country music equivalent of a no-op: It exists, but it does nothing, says nothing, and ultimately makes you feel nothing. The production is ill-fitting and bland, the writing is vacuous and half-baked, and Parmalee demonstrates all the charm and catchiness of a bag of potatoes. At a time when even Dan + Shay appear to have lost some of their luster (“Steal My Love” is barely crawling up the charts right now), I don’t see this off-brand version of that pair gaining much traction with this track, especially with wedding season so far away. You won’t hate the song if you hear it, but you’ll hate yourself for wasting valuable time listening to it, and by the end you’ll be telling this group to keep their crummy name as you head for the door.

Rating: 5/10. Don’t bother with this one.

Song Reviews: The Lightning Round (November 2021 Edition)

With the end of the year approaching and song reviews being some of the least-interesting posts that I make, it’s time to take a wider view of the genre and try to cover our bases for the end-of-year lists coming next month. I think the genre has improved slightly overall from the bland soundalike tracks we got for most of the year, but if the Pulse scores are any indication, there’s still a lot of uninteresting junk flooding the airwaves right now. So how does our latest crop of singles fare? Let’s start with the biggest of the bunch:

Adele ft. Chris Stapleton, “Easy On Me”

This song has dominated the Hot 100 basically since it arrived on the scene, and bringing in Chris Stapleton seems like a dream pairing of two of the best power vocalists in the business today…so why is my reaction to it so muted? Part of it is that the writing here is surprisingly weak and vague, as it doesn’t really make it clear who the song is aimed at (I thought it was at her ex, but apparently it’s for their son?), and the narrator’s story and explanation just isn’t that compelling or interesting (people making relationship decisions that they later come to regret makes up at least 25% of Nashville’s entire catalog). The two artists have decent vocal chemistry and it’s nice to see a Stapleton feature that actually uses him to push the song’s emotional boundaries (probably because Adele is one of the few singers in the planet he can’t out-sing), but he adds a rougher edge to the vocals (especially when he’s screaming them out on the bridge) that clashes with the softer, slicker feel of the piano (which is the only non-vocal instrument present here), and the tracks veers hard into ear-splitting territory when both singers turn it loose on the bridge. In the end, the song is okay, but there are a surprising number of tracks on the Mediabase chart right now that I’d pick over it.

Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a few listens, I suppose.

Cole Swindell & Lainey Wilson, “Never Say Never”

This song is trying way too hard to be something it’s not. The tale of two star-crossed lovers who just can’t seem to makes things work beyond the physical attraction is a tale old as time, and the song tries to use minor chords, dark, foreboding instrument tones, and loud, hard-edged guitars and percussion (which bounces between a drum set and a slicker beat) to inject a sense of drama and danger into the song. Unfortunately, the garden-variety off-and-on relationship in the lyrics simply doesn’t warrant the hype (it reminds me a lot of Travis Denning’s boring “After A Few”), and while both Lainey Wilson and Cole Swindell put their hearts into their performance (honestly, I like their vocal chemistry far more than Adele and Stapleton’s), they can’t convince the audience of the story’s importance. It’s just an oversung, overproduced batch of empty sonic calories, and I sincerely hope that Swindell and Wilson find some stronger material to work with the next time around.

Rating: 5/10. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to remember this one.

Drew Parker, “While You’re Gone”

Parker is a Georgia native who’s attempting to make to leap from songwriter to performer after signing with Warner Bros. in either 2020 or 2021 depending on the source you find, but he’s not going anywhere with his debut drivel. The song features yet another delusional narrator waiting for a traveling ex to come back and imagining how much she misses him (give it up bro, she ain’t coming back), and the fact that he occasionally admits the futility of his feelings (“maybe you really are long gone and I’m just fooling myself”) isn’t enough to make him a likeable or sympathetic character. Everything else here is cookie-cutter and generic: The reliance on a buzzword-filled waiting spot featuring beer and trucks in the evening (also, what’s the point of specifying that he has a “BP PBR”? It sounds as dumb as me saying I’m drinking a Hannaford’s Powerade), the bland guitar-and-drum production, and Parker’s undistinctive voice that could be mistaken for five other singers in the genre (put anyone else behind the mic, and the song wouldn’t change at all). The song offers no compelling reason to listen or pay attention to it, and I’m getting really tired of indistinguishable tracks like this, especially one that feature an annoyingly-presumptuous attitude from the narrator. I didn’t put up with it from Tucker Beathard or Taylor Swift, and I won’t do it here either.

Rating: 4/10. Pass.

Scotty McCreery, “Damn Strait”

George Strait’s gotten enough name-drops in the last ten years to fill an encyclopedia, and has been around so long that this isn’t even the first song built around his song titles (forget Brad Paisley’s “Bucked Off,” I remember Tim McGraw singing “Give It To Me Strait” all the way back in 1994). I’m kind of torn on this one:

  • McCreery is a talented vocalist, but he’s not terribly believable in this role (he’s seven years younger than “Nobody In His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” so was it really his ex’s favorite song?)
  • The song is just a by-the-book lost-love song, but it does a decent job balancing the genuine sentimentality of a breakup and the tongue-in-cheek absurdity of hating a singer because of it.
  • The song title references are hit or miss: Some work okay (“Blue Clear Sky” is probably the best of the bunch), but some feel really forced (the “Give It Away” and “I Hate Everything” ones especially).

I think what sells me on this one in the end is the production: It starts as your typical guitar-and-drum arrangement, but once the steel guitar shows up it becomes the defining feature of the mix. It gives the sound some warmth and texture, while also helping it stand out from other tracks around it, most of which sprinkle the instrument in just enough to convince Billboard it’s “country.” It allows the song to pass the context test, as it wouldn’t sound out of place alongside Strait’s own material. That’s enough to elevate it above the mediocre masses for me.

Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a few spins to see how it hits you.

Chase Rice, “If I Were Rock & Roll”

While McCreery paid homage to Strait, Rice tried to tip his cap to the latest member of the name-drop club, Eric Church…except Church’s material is far better than anything Rice could dream of putting together. From the filtered guitars to the textured drums to the restrained vocal delivery, Rice and his producer do their darnedest to copy Church’s signature country-rock style on this track, and while they end up with a half-decent reproduction in the end, the song falls completely flat thanks to its random, pandering, borderline-nonsensical lyrics: It uses an overly-simplistic “if I was X, I’d be Y” setup to work in references to Dale Earnhardt, the SEC, Johnny Cash, and Jesus Christ, it uses a bizarre flag-patch reference to shout out the military, and it throws in a grandfather/grandson bit that is both blatantly obvious and completely pointless. This is about a scattershot a track as you’ll ever hear, and its weak attempt to bring it all together on the chorus as a lost-love song doesn’t work at all (and the generally-upbeat production doesn’t help matters). The bridge is the closest the song comes to tying everything together, but it paints the narrator is an unflattering light: It lays out a blueprint for what he should do if he was “a smart man,” while at the same time insinuating that that’s exactly what he didn’t do. Listening to this track is an exercise in frustration, and the only good thing that could come of it would be for Church to sue Rice for trademark infringement and doing damage to his brand.

Rating: 4/10. Next!

Chris Young & Mitchell Tenpenny, “At The End Of A Bar”

While this track is at least up front that it won’t be plowing new ground, it doesn’t make it any more interesting to listen to. My first question is why Mitchell Tenpenny was allowed anywhere near this thing: It wasn’t written as a duet, the presence of a second person adds nothing to the song, and Tenpenny’s weak, raspy voice is completely outclassed by Young’s solid baritone. Where McCreery passes the context test, this song really doesn’t, as its paint-by-numbers guitar-and-drum doesn’t fit in with either a classic bar setting or the 90s song it name-drops (“Brand New Man,” “Time Marches On”), and by taking a more-neutral and serious approach to a bar song, it deftly avoids all the reasons people actually listen to a bar song in the first place (i.e, it’s either to party hardy or cry in your beer). The imagery and scenes are exactly what you’d expect to see: Love being found, love being lost, bartender stories and (of course) lost and lots and lots of alcohol. By focusing on what happens in the bar, the song fails to give the place any atmosphere, or make it seem like somewhere that you would actually want to go. Toss in the fact that the song feels half-written with only one-and-a-half verses, and you’re left with a bland snorefest that exists merely for the sake of existing.

Rating: 5/10. There are way better beer-joint odes to spend your time listening to.

Song Review: Cody Johnson, “‘Til You Can’t”

You can put off reviewing a song to cover other topics…”‘Til You Can’t.”

A few years ago, Cody Johnson seemed primed for success, making the leap from the Texas independent scene to mainstream country music at a time that the genre seemed to be shifting back towards more-traditional material. The shift never materialized, however, and acts that were banking on it (Midland, anyone?) were pushed to the fringes of the Nashville scene. Johnson went from narrowly missing the Billboard Top Ten in 2018 with “On My Way To You” to completely missing the top fifty with “Nothin’ On You,” and last year’s collaboration with Reba McEntire “Dear Rodeo” still hit a wall outside of the top thirty. Despite it all, however, Johnson kept plugging along, dropping a double album Human last month and releasing “‘Til You Can’t” as the leadoff single for the project. While the song follows Johnson’s typical formula and thus is probably doomed at radio (although it has made it to #40 on Mediabase so far…), it’s easily my favorite Johnson single since “With You I Am,” and it’s a poignant reminder of a) the things that we all casually put off when we really shouldn’t, and of b) what country music should aim to do in the modern era.

The production here does a nice job of pressing the importance of the topic while maintaining a breezy, uptempo feel that makes the track go down easy. The song opens with an acoustic guitar and a piano carrying the melody (there’s an organ in the background as well), but the instrument tones are soft and breezy (as opposed to the heavier piano ballads we tend to get), and the mix slowly builds out from there: The louder electric guitars jump in, the drums increase in intensity, and a steel guitar steps in to flavor the mix and fill in the gaps. (There’s a fiddle here as well, but it doesn’t get a ton of screen time and its impact on the mix is minimal.) A track like this runs the risk of feeling cheesy and saccharine, but the gradual buildup of the arrangement avoids this issue by bringing an overwhelming sense of urgency to the sound (especially on the choruses), and the brisk tempo keeps things moving and doesn’t allow the track to get bogged down in its sentimentality. There’s a real energy to this mix, and while it briefly acknowledges the sorrow of missing one’s chance at something, its main goal is to pull you off the sidelines, kick you in the butt, and tell you to just do that something already. Compared to a song like Easton Corbin’s “Before You Wish You Had,” this is a sound (and thus a song) of action, and is much more effective as getting its message across and actually spurring change.

I’ve criticized a lot of artists for adjusting their delivery for the worse to match ill-advised production choices, so Johnson deserves a lot of credit for stepping up his game to match the solid production. There aren’t any technical issues to speak of here, and he does a nice job maintaining his vocal tone even while matching the power of the sound during the choruses (seriously, the man is literally screaming at us near the end of the track, and it sounds far better than it has any right to). Unlike other artists that push people away with their snarling intensity (*cough* Blake Shelton *cough*), Johnson’s feelings come from a much more understandable and relatable place: He projects both hard-won experience and an underlying sorrow and regret with his delivery, helping him break through to the audience and stress the importance of not putting off the important stuff. Honestly, in the end I think Johnson pushes the song’s message more strongly than the sound does, and his performance does a nice job catching the listener’s ear and inspiring them to consider the things that they should have gotten around to a while ago.

The lyrics here have a simple message: People and opportunities don’t last forever, so take the time to do the things that matter with the people that matter while you can. It’s not exactly a novel topic and the the song covers the exact scenarios that you’d expect it to (marriage proposal, family fishing excursions, rebuilding old cars), it spends enough time with each one to flesh out the details and let you picture the payoff you’re missing in your mind, and it uses scenes that are broadly applicable and allow the listener to fill in the story with their own details and missed opportunities. The song takes a straightforward approach to getting its point across: There aren’t any clever turns of phrase (“a dream won’t chase you back” is the closest the song comes) and the hook is acceptable at best, but the underlying message is solid and the writers try not to put any barriers between it and their audience. Where so many songs tell us to ignore things and push them aside (often for another beer or six), this one implores us not to forget that time marches on, and to chase dreams and cherish the people around us while we have the chance. In other words, it’s exactly the sort of track that deserves a home in country music, giving us a story that moves us to think about our own.

“‘Til You Can’t” is a good, well-constructed song that winds up feeling greater than the sum of its parts. It takes a solid foundational message, backs it with production that gives the track a sense of seriousness and urgency, and uses a charismatic performance from Cody Johnson to maximize its potential impact. Radio hasn’t been kind to Johnson lately and it’s hard to say if this will be relegated to light rotation or not, but it’s a song that I think people need to hear, especially as the coronavirus has spent the last twenty months reminding us of our mortality. Nothing lasts forever, so if you’ve got the chance to pursue a passion or bond with your friends and family, you should take it before it vanishes for good. You may not say you were glad that you did it, but you’ll always say you were sorry that you didn’t.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a YouTube channel to grow! But maybe I should call home first…

Rating: 7/10. Take the time to listen to this song while you can too.