Song Review: Niko Moon, “GOOD TIME”

Any time you see ALL CAPS styling like this, it’s a bad sign.

Niko Moon split his formative years between Texas and Georgia, spent years honing his craft as part of Zac Brown’s circle of collaborators (both as a frequent co-writer with Brown and as a member of his Sir Rosevelt group), and has spent nearly a year under the Sony Music umbrella (albeit with nothing to show for it until now). Moon is now taking the next step of jumping onto country radio with his debut single “GOOD TIME,” and…ugh. It’s a generic Cobronavirus track that fails to justify its own existence, and does not make a good case for making space for Moon in the genre.

The alarm bells start going off the moment you hear the cricket sounds à la Florida Georgia Line’s “Smooth” that kick off the production here, and honestly, if you took a standard FGL mix and pulled out all the power cables, you would get something like this. There isn’t a whole lot to this arrangement: An acoustic guitar covers the melody, an in-your face drum machine keeps time, and a dobro provides some simple riffs for the chorus. It’s a smooth mix with a half-decent groove, but the cold, hard percussion and frequent minor chords work against the happy, laid-back vibe the song is shooting for. Worst of all, the song sounds far too much like every other darn thing on the radio these days, and winds up just being background noise. It doesn’t entice the listener to pay attention or convince them that having Moon around in country music is worthwhile, which makes it a terrible choice for a debut single.

Vocally, Moon’s voice is slightly distinct (think Walker Hayes with some actual tone to his voice), but it’s not enough to let him truly stand out among the other faceless young male singers in Nashville. His technical skills aren’t really tested here (although his power can lapse a little when he tries to close a line with a low note), but I don’t feel a lot of charm or charisma from his performance. He’s just another dudebro trying to drink and party their life away while the world burns around him, which was a sub-par attitude a few months ago and is an absolutely terrible one now, as the world demands a higher level of engagement and awareness from everyone. There’s just nothing compelling or interesting about Moon as a performer, and if you stuck anyone else behind the mic for the song, you wouldn’t notice much of a difference, which is a real problem for someone trying to make their mark in Nashville.

And then *sigh* we get to the lyrics:

We just tryna catch a good time
Even if it takes all night
Pass that bottle ’round the campfire
Sippin’ apple pie moonshine
Yeah we pickin’ on them guitars just right
Everybody singin’ Dixieland Delight
Like a bobber on a wet line
We just tryna catch a good time

If you took every Bro-Country trope in the book and trained a machine learning algorithm on it, it would probably write a song that looked like this. Nearly everything we’ve grown to expect and dread is here: the nighttime bonfires, the drinking, the fishing, the name drops of more-popular songs…all that’s missing is a Chevrolet wearing a pair of cut-off jeans (which said algorithm would definitely include). While it’s notable that all the sexuality and objectification has been removed (there’s no mentioning of women at all), it boils down to the stereotypical boys night out in the sticks, passing around guitars and moonshine and ignoring the consequences. That familiar nihilistic mindset remains a major feature here: “We ain’t worried about tomorrow,” “we just gonna stay right here and let the world go by,” etc. This is the same old story we all heard and grew tired of a decade ago, and I’m in no mood to hear it again now.

“GOOD TIME” is simply a bad song, and a poor way for Niko Moon to try to introduce himself to country music. It’s a generic Cobronavirus track in a genre already littered with them, with paint-by-numbers writing, a cookie-cutter sound, and an unremarkable performance from Moon. You’ve already heard this song a million time before, and there’s absolutely no reason to listen to it again. Don’t expect to remember it or Moon in a few months.

Rating: 4/10. Avoid this one.