Album Review – Brett Young’s Self-Titled Debut Album is Music Nyquil

brett-young-self-titled

So you’re walking into a bar looking to get yourself a nice drink. You walk up to the bartender in the mood to try something new and ask for the best new beer he’s got. He says sure thing and hands you a glass full of supposedly great new beer. You take a drink and immediately spit it out, exclaiming to the barkeep this is just warm tap water. He insists it’s great and flavorful. This is Brett Young and his music in a nutshell and the bartender is Big Machine Records. Young’s first two singles “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know” bored me out of my mind, so I wasn’t going to be surprised if there were more of these type of songs on his self-titled debut album. But I held out some hope maybe he gives us something interesting. I can say after listening to this album that isn’t the case.

Somehow every song on this album is a snooze fest like the first two singles. I thought Chris Young’s I’m Comin’ Over would be the most boring, toothless album I would ever talk about on Country Perspective. But Brett Young (no relation of course) somehow has managed to deliver a more vanilla album and I wrote an entire rant of how much I’m Comin’ Over bored me. It’s truly amazing how safe this album is and how it stays as far away as possible from anything remotely risky. It’s like Young looked at Chris Young, Brett Eldredge and Martina McBride and challenged himself to make music more boring than those three combined. And I understand why these artists make such bland music. It sells really well and resonates with a lot of people, which I respect your right to choose to listen to this music. But I don’t understand how you can listen to this when almost anything else is more interesting to hear. You’re probably wondering why I’m not breaking down the tracks by now, but there’s absolutely no point when every song sounds the damn same. Each one fails to stand out and makes me wish I was listening to anything else. At least Sam Hunt pisses me off with his music. This music from Young makes me feel nothing.

Brett Young’s self-titled album is something that has happened and exists. I will not remember it and will only listen to it again if I need help falling asleep because sleep aid is this album’s most useful trait. What’s worse is the success of sleepy music like this will only encourage more artists to play it super safe and never take any risks. If people are happy and content with hot dogs, why bother with serving up prime rib? It’s much easier and cheaper. As long as something sells major labels don’t give a flying shit whether it’s good or even interesting. Brett Young’s self-titled album makes for great commerce, but terrible art.

Grade: 3/10

 

Recommend? – No

Album Highlights: None

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: The entirety of this album


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18 thoughts on “Album Review – Brett Young’s Self-Titled Debut Album is Music Nyquil

  1. I have had many people on Pulse Music Board go on and on about how great this guy is and how he’s a better Brett Eldredge or how this album is really deep. I don’t get it at all, this guys voice sounds bland and honestly whiny and the lyrics are pretty basic (IMO)

    Also thank you for saying Martina McBride’s music is boring. Her last album was the most faceless album of 2016.

    When I think of mainstream artists who take risks and don’t play it safe, I think of Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Kacey Musgraves, Cam, Lauren Alaina, Chris Stapleton, andMiranda Lambert. Even though I don’t care for them Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett,Clare Dunn and LoCash at least their music has a Pulse.

    They are two things that anger me. When an artist dissapoints me (Carrie Underwood) or when an artist bores me (Chris Young and Martina McBride, Brett Young ).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, in fairness…………………it is Pulse! They’re primarily concerned with the more business and chart-watching end of the industry than critical/artistic persuasions (with a small handful of exceptions among its members). It is for that reason why they praised Sam Hunt as a great songwriter and “artist” while countless threads regarding up-and-coming talent get nary a post.

      In many respects I actually prefer it when an entertainer delivers a bizarre, somewhat bad album than one that plays it completely safe. At least with relatively bad albums, their hilarious “WTF!” moments can be truly interesting and at least make me feel something. With albums that compulsively and in premeditated fashion play it shamelessly safe, I just feel offended that they’re wasting my time and not even trying.

      In other words, I actually prefer something like the country equivalent of Jason Derulo, who is known for his head-scratching lyrical choices and random production selections, over Brett Young, Chris Young, Brett Eldredge and a handful of others. Because as lame as the likes of Jason Derulo, Train and other related acts are, at least the bad moments have some genuine entertainment value.

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      • Pulse music board isn’t a bad place. It just has its clear favorites (Carrie Underwood) besides Sam Hunt does get his fair share of hate. But the place is very welcoming and the people for the most part are very nice and think logical.

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      • Pulse ha a wider cross section of fans. This board is pretty narrow, we might all hate Sam Hunt, but the general population would take him over most of this boards favorites in a heart beat, and it’s worth remembering that.

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      • As someone who was formerly a member of Pulse, I feel like much of that community is decidedly nostalgic much like Country Universe; in that they tend to idolize early-to-mid 90’s country as the golden age of country music, and most everything after is a drop-off from there.

        Again, I have nothing against that community. It’s just we’re not really of the same heart. I prefer to review music instead of chart-watch, and they’re mainly about chart-watching and tend to dissuade certain commentary on songs there. It’s for this reason why I much prefer this community as well as Saving Country Music: as much as the latter can swing too far to the other end of the pendulum sometimes and come across as too judgmental.

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        • As someone who is a member of Pulse Music Board, I also don’t agree with the assessment that it’s mainly an echo chamber.

          Let me stress (and preface) that I get where you’re coming from though. I used to make fun of the Pulse community for thinking alike and seemingly shunning anyone who didn’t agree with them, but then I realized, well shit, I’m a commenter on many country blogs (rarely these days). Why? To be with like minded people. We’re no different from one another. I then saw past the surface and realized that Pulse is full of people from all walks of life looking to discuss country music – both from a business perspective as well as an artistic perspective.

          Personally I feel like there’s more diversity there than anywhere else in the country music community. I like that as well. You all of course can do what you want, but I like associating myself both with like minded and non-like minded people. It helps me to learn and grow by seeing different perspectives and realizing that hey, music is completely subjective, and while I think one way, tell me why you think another way.

          Echo chambers are the most dangerous thing plaguing the ENTIRE country music community right now in my opinion.

          Anyway, commenting on the album – yeah, I gave

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          • Damn it, hit reply too fast,

            Anyway, I gave it a couple listens, and while I wouldn’t say I hated anything, the only song I honestly liked was “Memory Won’t Let Me”. Definitely very boring.

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  2. Definitely agree with you. This was truly one of the most boring and lifeless albums I’ve ever heard. Plus, I can’t quite get into his voice. It’s too bland and whiny for me, and the bulk of the music isn’t country in the least. It’s the same pop material that we’ve gotten over the past few years.

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  3. It’s quite a contrast to go from listening to Nikki Lane’s fun new album to this boring dreck. It boggles my mind that someone would voluntary spend money or time listening to this. But, of course, Big Machine knows that there’s a demographic of people who love this stuff, fantasizing about having Brett as their boyfriend singing these sappy love songs to them. I can sorta forgive that when you’re a teen or pre-teen, but to imagine a thirty-year-old buying this is just sad.

    I can see why “Sleep Without You” was a big hit for him on the radio. I think it’s fairly annoying, but it’s got a catchy hook. And, just to repeat myself, it’s got the fantasy of a hot guy texting you. So, it’s the perfect formula for a radio hit nowadays and thus utterly vapid in every way. For the rest of the album, the songs are nearly indistinguishable, just like (as you note) Chris Young’s last album. Chris at least has a great voice, whereas Brett’s voice is whiny, as Raymond noted. I’ll be curious to see if he can squeeze another hit off of this album.

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    • Oh “In Case You Didn’t Know” is going to be even bigger than “Sleep Without You.” It was actually outselling the latter when it was climbing up the mainstream radio chart thanks to regular play on The Highway. It’s selling well again now that’s it an official single. It might be one of the biggest country hits of the year. As I said this shit sells well and is quite popular.

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  4. It is I think “easy” to become a mid-level star making boring music, see Chris and Brad, it is harder to become a huge star. The exception is maybe Blake…and he has a TV show.

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  5. It’s fitting that you mention Martina McBride: because Brett Young is essentially part male Martina McBride, part metro-bro.

    The only difference is that unlike McBride, who has self-produced many of her boring albums, Dan Huff (who is, himself, notorious for his banausic touch the vast majority of the time) is behind the programming board here.

    *

    Because here’s the thing: I’m convinced after one thorough listen that Young has potential as a lyricist. There are sure signs, based on his technical songwriting instincts and plenty of choice lines, that he can stretch into something potentially worthwhile down the pike.

    But at least here on his debut, he almost seems to compulsively succumb to one of my single biggest gripes in Adult Contemporary Country as does Martina McBride: pseudo-inspirational cliches.

    Take “Back On The Wagon”, for instance. Nowhere is this fine line between pseudo-inspirational and distilled metro-bro no more transparent than here lyrically. Musically it comes across more like the former but, when you really delve into the lyrics, it’s basically Nyquil Country’s answer to Maroon 5’s “One More Night” (“Girl, you got me actin’ like an addict, all messed up, no matter what, you know I just gotta have it…”). It’s just such a bizarre juxtaposition.

    Or take “Left Side Of Leavin'”. The entire f***ing song is a grab bag of pseudo-inspirational cliches right from the opening line. And even there the mild metro-bro sensibilities lurk on confounding lines like the bridge where he says: “You’re on the drunk part of drinking” or “The cane part of shaking.” WHAT?!!! Or “Beautiful Believer” which, on the surface, makes for a potentially beautiful song idea……………….but Young reduces it to the most bleeding obvious cliches of keeping him hanging on when he feels he has lost his way and all that jazz.

    Then there are other songs that, to Brett Young, might feel personal………………..but just come across in their writing as dime-a-dozen cliche fests. “Olivia Mae” is one such example. It just comes across like playing Mad Libs over a tired thematic trope. We get no descriptive details about Olivia Mae. We just hear the narrator say how much he wants to buy her a drink, saying how the sunlight looks great on her hair and that he wants to get engaged to her. Yeah…………………………..so?

    I even had to check to see if the final track, “Mercy”, was an original or a Shawn Mendes cover seeing that the titular hook is delivered quite similarly in both songs. Sure enough, it’s a original penned by Young himself, but the prevailing issue remains: it comes across as a shallow shell of countless similar-themed songs including Shawn Mendes’ (and trust me: Shawn Mendes as a whole gravely irritates me, but “Mercy” is a legitimate song from him because you believe him that the stakes are high in its presentation). And much of it comes down to how tentative it sounds compared to even Mendes’ song of the same name.

    *

    In the end, look: I do legitimately think with a change of producers and even a modest amount of songwriting chop development, Brett Young can become one of the more enjoyable male singer-songwriters in the mainstream.

    You’e just not going to find it here, though. Is it an early contender for Worst Album of 2017? No. But it is still painfully below average, and it just isn’t acceptable to me that we should reward mediocrity just because it……………….isn’t straight-up bro-country. You HAVE to draw a line somewhere and have standards set.

    I’m thinking a Decent to Strong 3 out of 10 for this.

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  6. The newest member of Nashvilles Pretty Boy Club: Brett Young. Who cares about the songs? The lyrics, the voice or the production?
    The whole album is Soccer-Mom-Pop-“Country”. Full of possible hit-singles because every song sounds the same.
    The next member of the Pretty Boy Club is waiting in the wings…the soccer-moms will move on. (meh/10)

    New Ep: Josh Gracin – Nothin’ Like Us, Part 1 – 6 Tracks – Revel Road Records – Released (02/17)
    Not a fan of Josh Gracin. Exception to the rule: “We Weren’t Crazy”. His only #1 single “Nothin’ To Lose” is ok but i prefer the Marcel version.
    His career went south after “We Weren’t Crazy”. After a six-year break new music was released a couple of days ago. Up to date middle-of-the-road pop-country. Loud & overproduced.
    The one & only good track is “Front Porch Kinda Love”. Sounds country with classic country lyrics (getting old together, sitting on the front porch together…). 8/10 for “Front Porch…”. The other five tracks (2/10)

    New Ep’s: Lari White – Old Friends / New Loves – 15 Tracks – Skinny White Girl Records – Released (02/10):
    With the help of a kickstarter campaign Lari White was able to produce 2 Eps. One with new versions of old hits (like “That’s My Baby”) & the other one with new music.
    Lari White is a singer/songwriter/producer/Broadway-star/part-time-actress/Grammy-winner & married mom with three kids & a couple of hits in the second part of the 90’s (RCA Nashville & Lyric Street).
    I prefer the 8 tracks of the Old Friends Ep. Not much…just a little bit. More or less well known tracks. The title track of her 2nd album “Wishes” is a ballad & in the new (great) version a duet with Suzy Bogguss. Lee Roy Parnell, Delbert McClinton & Etta Britt are featured on “Lead Me Not”. My highlight: “That’s My Baby”. I love the guitar-play & the male harmony vocals (hubby Chuck Cannon ? Not sure) (8/10)
    The 2nd Ep is called New Loves (7 tracks). Songs Lari White wrote in the last couple of years. A mix of country, folk, a bit of r’n’b & gospel. Victor Wooten is the featured artist on the bar-jazz track “Champagne”. Good Ep & Lari White sounds great. (8/10)

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  7. Yea this guy pretty much sucks, but didn’t expect anything more or less. All this sleepy, boring music in mainstream country lately. My wife happened to turn on Nashville CMT the other night and boy those songs are downright depressing! Every single one of them was a sad sleepfest.

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    • And, the funny thing is that a routine complaint from newer “country” fans is that the older country was too depressing! “All those sad songs,” they complain. Yet, the emotional power and raw human connection in those “sad” songs is far more thrilling, far more exciting than anything on country radio now.

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      • Also, when you listen to a lot of songs that are supposed to be upbeat or happy as of late, they nonetheless are driven by minor chords and end up sounding depressing or at the very least lethargic.

        Like a number of Jason Aldean “party songs”. Or Justin Moore’s “Lettin’ The Night Roll”. Or Chase Rice’s “Gonna Wanna Tonight”.

        The issue isn’t even exclusive to country radio. A lot of pop songs that are supposed to be upbeat due to their subject matter actually come across as depressing in their sound. John Legend’s “All Of Me” is a perfect example. If you read it on paper first, it would be instantly apparent it’s a happy song about commitment……………….yet, if you heard it for the first time on the radio without paying attention to the lyrics, it sounds downright melancholic. Same story with a number of other supposed “party songs”.

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