As far as Boyfriend country goes…you know, you could do worse than this.
I labeled Adam Hambrick “just another guy” when he dropped his debut single “Rockin’ All Night Long” at the tail end of 2018, and he remains that guy after said debut wound up peaking at a lousy #45 on Billboard’s airplay chart. He appears to have laid low for much of 2019, but he’s back this year to hop upon the Boyfriend country trend with his latest release “Forever Ain’t Long Enough.” I have to admit: He and his team seem to have put their hiatus to good use, because the track is a noticeable step up from “Rockin’ All Night Long,” and is honestly one of the better Boyfriend country tracks I’ve heard. It’s a bright, bouncy ode to the narrator’s partner, with enough energy and cheer to qualify as a decaffeinated version of Russell Dickerson’s “Every Little Thing.”
The biggest difference between Hambrick’s debut single and this one is how much better the production suits the track this time around. Both songs are love songs, but “Rockin’ All Night Long” set a tone that was “so somber and meloncholic that it makes you think you’re listening to a sad song, and its lack of energy made it “plod lifelessly” from start to finish. Both of these issues have been rectified here: The slick electric guitar that opens the track features some actual life and energy, and the crisp snare drum that backs it up feels much peppier as well. The piano that covers the verses, despite only getting up into its moderate range, has the same punchy feel as the guitars from “Every Little Thing” (albeit to much lesser degree), and the whole arrangement comes together on the chorus to create a surprisingly spacious and optimistic atmosphere. This is the rare modern country love song that dumps the forced pretense of seriousness and actually feels like a love song, with the producer doing their part to accentuate the narrator happiness and broadcast it to the audience. It’s just a fun song to listen to, and we could really use more songs like this in the bizarre times we’re living in now.
Hambrick struggles a bit with the song’s faster tempo (he’s not a great enunciator, and his words all run together during the rapid-fire portions of ht lyrics), but otherwise he seems a bit more comfortable with this song’s lighter touch. His voice remains fairly distinct among country singers and his range (especially his upper register, which is where he spends most of the song) is pretty solid, and most importantly, the “weak” and “hollow” delivery I docked him for previously is nowhere to be found. Hambrick shows a lot more presence and authority behind the mic this time around, and while he genuinely seems to be having a blast spending time with his partner, there’s less of a silly-fun vibe here than on “Every Little Thing,” and more of a feeling of permanence and commitment behind the sentiment. In short, I’d call this a much better debut performance than Hambrick’s actual debut performance.
Sadly, the lyrics are about as stock as you might think: The narrator has lots of plans with their partner, and “forever ain’t lone enough” to get to all of them. You can probably guess what all these plans are: “Tasting heaven on your lips,” staying up late and “staring into your baby blues,” watching sunsets, and of course getting “tangled up in my sheets.” The repetition of the hook and the occasional time references give the song a hint of long-term seriousness, but the other activities are too ephemeral to back up that claim, and some of the more *ahem* physical activities give off more of a hookup vibe than anything else. Luckily, the lyrics do the most important thing right: They project a sense of fun and excitement that Hambrick and the producer can run with in their own performances. I’m moderately satisfied that the writing left enough hooks for the other components to latch onto and elevate the track, but it’s a shame that the lyrics aren’t really strong enough to stand on their own.
I’d never call myself a fan of Boyfriend country, but much like Bro-Country and the Metropolitan sound, it can be done right if executed well enough, and “Forever Ain’t Long Enough” comes a lot closer to doing it right than most songs in this vein. Both the production and Adam Hambrick’s performance do a good job capturing and projecting the joy found within a loving relationship, and while the writing is run-of-the-mill at best, it’s lightweight enough that the rest of the song can carry it along. Given the crowded state of the genre and the heavyweights clogging up the Boyfriend country lane, I’m not sure this is enough to make Hambrick stand out and carve out a spot for him in Music City, but it’s a step in the right direction at the very least, and maybe it will set him up to not have to another year between releases.
Rating: 6/10. Give this a listen and see what you think.