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.