Well, at least it’s better than “Old Town Road.”
In the wake of what seemed to be a movement towards more-traditional sounds in country music, a surprising new trend has emerged: “Country trap,” where classical country instruments and paired with the sort of heavy electronic beats usually associated with rap music. There have been hints of these genres fusing for some time now (recall Jason Aldean and Ludacris’s “Dirt Road Anthem” remix, Florida Georgia Line and Nelly’s “Cruise” remix, and the hip-hop and rap elements that were generally present in the Bro-Country trend). it was Lil Nas X who kicked the doors open this year with “Old Town Road,” which as of this writing sits only one week away from tying the all-time record for time spent atop the Hot 100.
Success like that is bound to bring imitators out of the woodwork, but it’s hard to call Blanco Brown an imitator, as the Georgia native has been writing and producing songs for several decades and working on his “trailertrap” style since 2011. His debut single “The Git Up” has already topped Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart and spawned a viral dance craze on TikTok, and even appears to be making inroads into the notoriously risk-averse format that is country radio.
The big question is whether or not the song is actually good enough to warrant the momentum it seems to be building. After a few listens, the song appears to be a clear across-the-board upgrade over “Old Town Road,” but like most dance-craze songs, it’s a bit too simple and repetitive to leave much of a memory once the initial sugar high wears off.
The production is slightly more interesting here than “Old Town Road,” but that’s a low bar to clear, and it doesn’t address all of the former’s sonic issues. There’s a little bit more going on arrangement-wise,with a few “regular” guitars getting some airtime alongside the steel guitar and drum machine (and as basic as the steel riffs are, they add a bright touch to the mix and are still more interesting than the “Old Town Road”‘s banjos). These additions, combined with the slightly-faster tempo, try to give the song a fun, energetic feel suitable for a dance track. However, they seem to be working at cross-purposes with the percussion: It’s not as in-your-face as “Old Town Road,” but it’s still a bit too high in the mix, and its deep, throbbing sound conflicts with the brighter vibe of everything else. The result is a sound that only kinda-sorta captures the carefree, enjoyable spirit it’s going for, and while it’s a catchy tune on balance, it lacks the depth and cohesion to rise beyond being a brief, forgettable distraction.
On the plus side, I’m impressed by how compelling and charismatic Brown as is a performer. As an artist with an extensive background in both the rap and country genres, his range and tone are better than I expected (especially in his lower range, where he can reach down without sounding too rough or losing much power), and his smooth flow is a major upgrade over Lil Nas X’s choppy, hyperbolic delivery. There’s no confusion in this performance: Brown is having a good time, he wants everyone else to have a good time, and the good vibes are (mostly) passed along to the audience. That said, he struggles to overrule the percussion’s dark undertone, and he can sound a bit monotone on some of the more repetitive sections of the song (the “that was not so bad” lines are not so good). Overall, however, I hear a lot more potential in Brown’s vocals than I heard in Lil Nas X’s, and am interested to see what direction he goes off in as he continues to refine his craft.
The lyrics are easily the weakest part of the song, even by dance-track standards. While there’s no confusion as to the narrator’s motivations or goals (we’re all here to dance and have fun!), when the song is stacked up against other country songs in this lane (the examples that jump to mind are Alan Jackson’s “Good Time” and Brooks and Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”), it comes across as incredibly repetitive and simple (a better comparison might be Rednex’s “Cotton Eye Joe”). As “the git up” was assembled specifically for a TikTok challenge, the narrator is forced to spend most of the song describing the never-before-seen dance, and thus to accommodate the two-left-footed masses that couldn’t dance if their lives depended on it, we’re stuck slogging through step-by-step directions like we’re trying to build IKEA furniture. Despite the excruciating detail in the verses, the chorus still introduces confusion (you can’t just say “cowboy boogie” or “do the hoedown” and expect people to have any idea what you’re talking about), and the closing “that was no so bad, was it?” lines are ear-grating and unnecessary. Usually I’m a bit more lenient on lyrics where the songs are supposed to move you physically rather than emotionally, but when you have to pay such close attention to get the dance right, your writing better be on point, and that isn’t always the case here.
Overall, however, “The Git Up” is tolerable (but not especially memorable) for what it is: A superfluous dance track that doesn’t take itself too seriously. With decent vocals, not-so-decent writing, and production that splits the difference, this track is not a world-beater by any means (then again, I wouldn’t have bet that “Old Town Road” was either), but it’s an indication that country trap is, in fact, a thing, and that it’s likely going to get better and more-popular as the sub-genre matures. It’s basically at the level of radio filler right now, and while that’s not a great place to be right now, I suppose you have to start somewhere.
Rating: 5/10. Check it out to satisfy your curiosity, but don’t expect it to stick with you very long.