Review – Easton Corbin’s “A Girl Like You”

easton-corbin-a-girl-like-you

When Easton Corbin broke onto the scene nearly a decade ago, many including myself thought he would be the next great traditional country artist. Instead he devolved into pandering, checklist, formulaic fodder. Worse he dove headfirst into bro country with absolute glee, as it was heavily featured on his last album About To Get Real. So after numerous disappointments my expectations were set quite low for Corbin’s newly released single “A Girl Like You.” The title inspired less confidence in it being good. So does he finally fulfill his potential or is it another disappointment? Well it’s a lot more interesting and thought-provoking than I expected. The song opens with heavy drums that persist throughout the song. I don’t think they’re actually drum loops and could be an actual backing band, although I’m not entirely sure. This is meshed with twangy telecaster play throughout the song. It’s essentially a traditional meets modern sound, very much along the lines of Jon Pardi’s current hit song “Dirt on My Boots.” I have to admit it’s quite catchy and an infectious ear worm, although I imagine some will be turned off by the heavy drums. Then we get to the lyrics, which start off pretty rocky with lines about cold beer, bars and neon lights. It gets worse when we get to these lines: They play lots of songs on the radio / About them good ol’ country girls that we all know / Long tan legs and cut off jeans / Yeah just shaking that sugar every country boy’s dream. Aargh another bro song you think. But wait its immediately followed by these lines: I’ve heard ’em all at least a time or two / Ain’t none about a girl like you, you know that’s true. So he dismisses his girl being a cliché and just another girl in a country song. This is good, even if a tad hypocritical after cutting songs like this before. The rest of the song is about how special this girl is in any setting without devolving into sexist clichés and how thankful he is for her. Overall this is a solid concept for a song and something I should like, but at the same time it’s hard to shake the fact that he was cutting these very same songs he’s dismissing. At the end of the day I’m going to take “A Girl Like You” for what it is, a decent love song. I think it has a great chance of being a hit and if it is could be the start of a traditional-meets-modern trend in country music.

Grade: 6/10

 

Recommend? – You’ll have to decide for yourself on this one, as I can imagine some of you will be hesitant to embrace this.

 

Written by Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure and Rhett Akins

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17 thoughts on “Review – Easton Corbin’s “A Girl Like You”

  1. He’s been struggling on the charts lately. I actually liked Are You With Me, his last single. But it didn’t even enter the top 40. I’ll be surprised if this one does much more

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  2. This is decent. I will take this any day over some of the atrocities that have been polluting the airwaves lately (cough cough hint hint Body Like a Back Road). Easton has a fantastic voice.

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  3. While this isn’t quite as horrendous as “Baby Be My Love Song” or “Yup”, or as intelligence-insulting as “All Over The Road”, this is still pretty bad.

    *

    Are there aspects of this song I appreciate? Yes. For one, you still get the impression that Corbin is trying, as a vocalist, to squeeze enough personality and flavor in his vocal performance despite how limiting its need is in the first place.

    And there are aspects of the instrumentation that have the right idea going and would have made for a potentially enjoyable song when re-arranged or reimagined, between the whiffs of pedal steel, roadhouse guitar and rolling organ.

    *

    Yet, in spite of these pieces working, it is clear that Corbin and his team continue to squander their potential for something much more and keep resorting to the bare minimum.

    First of all, did busbee co-produce this or something? I can’t tell anymore these days with the completely unnecessary inclusion of an electronic drum that cheapens the overall quality of the production. What is it with countless acts featuring both electronic and live percussion in their tracks! F***in’ choose one!

    Worse still, the lyrics to this song are awful. What’s this, Easton? You’re telling me that there’s actually bars in existence that serve, dare I say it……………COLD BEER?!!! Including…………….(gulp)……………….Crown?!!! My Jove! Who would have thought? But even more game-changing is, word has it, the radio plays all these songs that……….I know it’s going to sound absurd and preposterous to you, but…………….here goes…………….are about these country girls with long tan legs and cutoff jeans………………and they apparently shake sugar too for every good ol’ boy! Yeah, you probably think I need to be committed at this point but, I’m telling you………………….it’s TRUE!!!

    Seriously: there’s not a single male mainstream country singer/songwriter this past decade who has so shamelessly squandered his potential and has settled for a standard as low as Easton Corbin. Did he not learn anything from “About To Get Real” selling less than half of his predecessor (which, itself, sold less than half of his debut album?). Did he not learn anything from radio flat-out rejecting “Yup”? And yet he keeps insisting on releasing this bullshit to the masses and petrifying his slide into commercial irrelevancy.

    By the way, who says “I can’t find one thing wrong” in an honest relationship as he does in the bridge? Is he adoring a woman or is he a judge for the Rose Festival or inspector for the Food and Drug Administration?

    *

    So yeah, as you can tell by my disgruntled tone, Easton Corbin continues to get on my nerves in a way few other entertainers do. And it’s not because Corbin really is the worst of the worst. It’s, rather, because he has always had the potential for much better but instead tries his level best to pander to the worst of the worst.

    I’m thinking a Strong 2 to a Light 3 on this one, since the vocals at least have some shred of personality and the instrumentation, isolated from the electronic stiffness, is decent. But it’s not worth it as a whole. Not at all.

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  4. “A Girl Like You” is up to #52 (56) according to Billboard Bad-Pop-Music-With-Banjo Update (02/06).
    Gorley, Frasure, Akins…meh. “A Girl…” will be a massive hit or fizzle out soon (like the career of Easton Corbin). Right now i like the song. (6/10)

    #21 – Hot Shot Debut – Sam Hunt
    #26 – New – ZBB
    Top Country Albums: #1 – New – Brantley Gilbert / #3 – New – Lauren Alaina

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  5. Ironically, I heard this song for the first time last night, and I had nearly the same thoughts as you. My first thought was “Wow, Easton, these lyrics suck.” Then I listened closer and realized they weren’t as cheesy and cliche as I thought.

    The drums also threw me off. I was casually listening to this song on the radio, so I wasn’t paying much attention and nearly turned the song off. They sound like a heavy drum loop, but the closer you listen, the more real they become.

    I think Easton has found the perfect traditional sound. It sounds just modern enough, with the cliches that aren’t actually cliche and drum loop that’s actually a real person, that a modern, casual listener will be swept in, but a traditionalist like the majority of us will recognize it for what it is.

    I’ve only listened to the song once, but I agree with your rating.

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    • How are the cliches not cliche though?

      Just because he’s drawing on cliches with the purpose of attempting to paint a contrast of his love interest to other women does NOT instantaneously make a song un-cliched. It reminds me of Eric Paslay’s “Song About A Girl”. He tried doing the same thing, but it still came across as an obnoxious song that failed to rise above the hackneyed.

      The bottom line is, if you have to rely on a laundry list of stereotypes and banal descriptors to make a point, you’re still marketing yourself BASED on them, not removed from them.

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        • The reason that worked better for them is because 1) they had the charisma and presence to back it all up, and 2) there was also a political statement that gave it an additional populist punch. It’s enhanced by subtext.

          In contrast, songs like “Girl In Your Truck Song” fail spectacularly because they come across as anonymous and lack any subtext.

          “A Girl Like You”, much like “Song Abut A Girl”, is one of those latter type of songs to me. The lack of subtext and description as to what his love interest is HERSELF exposes the song as riding off of the marketability of the cliches and stereotypes instead of surmounting them like Maddie & Tae were successful at doing.

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          • While I agree “Girl in a Country Song” has more context, that still doesn’t make it any different for relying on clichés to get the point across. Not to mention it very much factored into the marketability of the song (controversy creates conversation). While Corbin’s “A Girl Like You” has substantially less context, there’s still some context despite as you say it’s anonymousness. “Girl In Your Truck Song” didn’t fail because of it’s lack of subtext and coming across as anonymous. It failed because it was blatantly clear pandering on the part of Maggie Rose, who was irrelevant and made a Hail Mary play to try to get radio behind her.

            Dismiss this song for coming across as hypocritical due to Corbin’s past material all you want as this is understandable. But dismissing it as relying on clichés to get it’s point across is slightly unfair as countless songs, even great songs, have relied on clichés to get their point across. See pretty much every protest country song, which itself has become a cliché. I know you don’t care for Easton and it’s completely understandable, as his failure to capitalize on his potential is frustrating as hell. But forgiving one song for using clichés to get their point across, while condemning another for this comes across as double standards. Again I understand your reasoning and if Corbin turns around and releases these very same cliché songs he is dismissing on his album it significantly diminishes this song in my eyes. It would make him a hypocrite. Until then though I think it’s reasonably fair to give him benefit of the doubt here and judge this song for what it is.

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          • For the record I completely agree with you on the great majority of protest songs in general. I think they’re generally lame and hackneyed, even when coming out of the mouths of Texas and independent country singer/songwriters. And my stance on exceptions to the rule is no different there. “Standards” was a lot more intelligent and lighthearted as an approach to a protest song, but something like “Sellout Song”, in contrast, just came across as pandering in that Kevin Fowler was essentially getting publicity by default of riding all those stereotypical descriptors and an eye-candy replete music video.

            I don’t look at it as a double standard, frankly. And the reason is because the writing wants to wink to you it is self-aware and all, and yet does absolutely nothing to offer anything real or even the faintest contrast to that artifice. Therefore, it’s capitalizing on all the same cliches and imagery as any song that’s not (at least trying) to make some subtle statement. Songs of that nature, often, actually piss me off more than those that aren’t self-aware and are just lunkheaded ditties about tan legs and boat drinks and bikinis and tailgate sex.

            And given “About To Get Real” was essentially an entire album of bro-country cliches in itself, I think he has already demonstrated he isn’t immune in those cliche songs.

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  6. Hey Josh! I heard a new mainstream country song today and wondered if you were planning on reviewing it: Midland’s Drinkin’ Problem. I actually thought it was pretty good. It has good lyrics and good country instrumentation, I totally recommend for fans of Jon Pardi, Brothers Osborne, and William Michael Morgan. I was just curious about your thoughts on that particular song.

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    • If it gains traction, sure I’ll review it. Midland has been on my radar for a while and I hope they release a full album by year’s end.

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  7. I pretty much had the same reaction when I first heard it. The heavy drum beats make it sound more like a Luke Bryan song, and the lyrics in the first verse especially made me cringe. It took me another listen to realize he is saying that the girl is NOT like the ones in the songs he mentions, which is a nice little twist. That, plus the twangy electric guitar and steel guitar heard throughout the song help redeem it for me. It kind of sounds like he’s trying to blend his traditional style with the beats of todays disco/funk country songs. Not too bad, but still a far cry from most of the material he cut on his first two albums. Songs like “I Can’t Love You Back,” “Don’t Ask Me Bout A Woman,” “Tulsa Texas,” “Dance Real Slow,” “I Think Of You,” etc., are still some of my favorite songs he ever did. Unfortunately, he’d never get airplay with those kind of songs today, though.

    If he has to update his sound for radio yet again, I guess it’s better he’s doing it this way instead of fully going the r&b/funk/disco route. I just hope one day he can revisit the neo-traditional sound of his first two albums.

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