Song Review: Blake Shelton, “Every Time I Hear That Song”

Congratulations Blake, your boring, play-it-safe song became a multi-week No. 1 hit and re-confirmed your star power. Can you start releasing more interesting material now?

After the bitter “She’s Got A Way With Words” peaked at #7 and broke a streak of seventeen consecutive No. 1 singles for Shelton, some (including me) were wondering if some cracks were beginning to show in the foundation of BS, Incorporated. “A Guy With A Girl” answered these questions by rocketing up the country charts and becoming the biggest airplay hit of 2017 thus far (granted, it’s only February). Make no mistake, Shelton is still one of the biggest hitmakers in Nashville, and re-establishing this fact gives him a license to release more-substantial, perhaps riskier material. Apparently, however, he’s still feeling the burn from “Words,” because “Every Time I Hear That Song” is only a baby step in that direction.

The production here starts off with some restrained electronic tones and synthetic production, but ramps up dramatically on the first chorus by cranking up the volume and introducing real drums, meaty electric guitars, and even some steel guitar for flavor. For the most part, this comes across as a standard 00s-era pop-country song, and its plethora of minor chords establishes a sense of melancholy and loss that suits the subject matter of the song. Honestly, there isn’t too much to complain about here.

Shelton’s vocal delivery is as solid as ever, but’s there’s an added twist on the chorus, as he takes a page from Brad Paisley and shows off his range by pulling out a surprisingly-strong falsetto. Outside of those moments, Shelton stays well within his comfort range and offers his usual dose of charisma and salesmanship as he reflects on the loss of a former love.

That loss is where I would have liked to hear more depth and detail from Shelton. “Every Time I Hear That Song” (which was not written by Shelton”) is naturally light on personal details, but given his high-profile split with fellow singer Miranda Lambert, it would have been nice for him to pick up the pen and address his own experiences rather than relying on the viewpoints of others. As it is, the writing is passable, and Shelton does a good job owning the song through his delivery, but I would have likedto see him get a little more personal here.

Overall, “Every Time I Hear That Song” is an okay song and a definite step up from “A Guy With A Girl,” but it feels like it could have ben so much more than that. Shelton’s got the talent, the track record, and the fanbase to dive deeper into topics such as this one, which makes surface-skimming tracks like this feel a bit lacking in comparison.

Rating: 6/10. It’s worth a listen or two to see how it makes you feel.

Song Review: Blake Shelton, “A Guy With A Girl”

If I were to sum up this song in a word, it would be safe.

Blake Shelton’s got a lot going for him in life these days: a career as an A-list country superstar, a side gig as a judge on the hit TV show The Voice, and a happy relationship with fellow Voice judge and pop superstar Gwen Stefani. However, when Shelton’s last single “She’s Got A Way With Words” (which many people interpreted as a swipe at ex-wife Miranda Lambert) broke a string of seventeen (!) consecutive No. 1 hits by peaking at #7, one had to wonder if time and controversy (he’s 40 in the young man’s town that is Nashville, and he’s taken a lot of flak for his hateful tweets and high-profile split with Lambert) had finally caught up to him. Shelton’s team was apparently thinking the same thing, judging by their latest single choice “A Guy With A Girl.”

The production here is right out of the standard 00s-era pop country playbook: generic electric guitars driving the song, some steel guitar filling space in the background, and some actual drums keeping time—in other words, there’s no trace of any polarizing Bro-Country or Metropolitan influences here. At the same time, however, there’s nothing overly compelling about the music that might draw in a neutral listener.

Similarly, there isn’t a whole lot to this song lyrically: The narrator spends the whole song marveling about how is woman is so darn awesome that it makes people ignore him completely. Unlike the bitter resentment that permeated “She’s Got A Way With Words,” “A Guy With A Girl” is all about being positive and celebratory. Shelton furthers this notion with a perfect vocal delivery that is full of wide-eyed wonder at the way this woman draws attention and how she makes people react. While there’s an underlying trace of smug satisfaction in the words (as if the narrator is winking to other guys and saying “yeah, she’s excellent, and she’s mine”), Shelton’s tone and his charisma—he’s just so darn believable!—effectively sanitize the song and makes this a non-issue.

Overall, this song is okay, Shelton’s fans will find a lot to like here, and it might even start a new streak of No. 1s for him. To me, though, this song is the sonic equivalent of the prevent defense, and I don’t see myself going out of my way to listen to it…or remembering it existed in a few months.

Rating: 5/10. Try it before you buy it.