Review – Kip Moore’s “More Girls Like You”

You can preach about an artist’s potential all day long. But if they never show it, you start to get sick of hearing about them. That’s pretty much where I’m at with Kip Moore. His fans and supporters really love to talk up how he’s got so much talent and could be Eric Church if he just got one more hit or if his label would just let him do his thing. When will this happen? Because I feel like this is a years long story and nothing is changing when it comes to Kip Moore. His last album Wild Ones wasn’t even country, it was forgettable rock music. The best and most memorable song was on the deluxe edition of the album (“Backseat”). I was hoping that Moore would show all of this potential his fans crow about on his new single “More Girls Like You.” He doesn’t. Instead this sounds like a leftover from Wild Ones. It’s not country, it’s once again generic rock music. The lyrics are run-of-the-mill, as it’s a love song you’ve heard so many times already on country radio the last few years. Moore sings about wanting more girls like the one he’s fallen for and I’m immediately bored with this song. Moore tries to make this song sound more meaningful in his explanation before the lyric video starts as you below, but it’s simply not. This sounds like the kind of safe choice his label wants and I’m sure radio will blindly put into the top 20 at the very least (maybe even better with how soft the bottom half of the top 60 on the chart is right now). I can tell you if this song is any indication of the dominant sound on his next album I won’t be reviewing it. “More Girls Like You” is more uninspiring, lackluster fodder for country radio.

Grade: 3/10

 

Recommend? – Nope

Written by Kip Moore, Steven Olsen, David Garcia and Josh Miller

Album Review – Erik Dylan’s ‘Heart of a Flatland Boy’

erik-dylan-heart-of-a-flatland-boy

The fall schedule has seen a lot of country and Americana releases, some very much on the radar and some not so much. Erik Dylan’s new album Heart of a Flatland Boy tends to fall in the latter. He’s a fourth generator farmer from Kansas who packed up all of his stuff and headed to Nashville where he’s been spending his time writing hundreds of songs. Most prominently he’s written multiple songs for Kip Moore, who discovered him and helped him get his big break. In addition he also had a song cut on Justin Moore’s new album released in August. But now Dylan is getting his chance to release his own music under his own name and make a name as not just a songwriter, but artist too. After a promising lead single that brought him to my attention, I was eager to dig into his new album Heart of a Flatland Boy.

The album’s lead single “Pink Flamingos” still sounds as great as when I first heard it and reviewed it. It’s a rock-tinged country song about a woman named Becky dating a man who her neighbors recognize as trouble right away. Everyone else who lives in the trailer park except Becky has noticed the man has been checking out Becky’s daughter in her Sunday school dress, immediately establishing this guy as a major creep. One day when Becky is at work, the man does something to her daughter that’s over the line and I’m glad the song goes no further than this. So the neighbors take this matter into their own hands by shooting the pervert dead and burying him in the yard under the pink flamingos. As far anyone asks, the guy left town and they plead the fifth. So it’s a justified murder-revenge ballad with some dark humor in the hook, “pushing up pink flamingos.” It’s a really cleverly written song with a surprisingly detailed story. I also love the delivery of the line from him when he sings, “Nobody ever liked that son of a bitch.”

While it’s easy to crown “Pink Flamingos” the best song of the album, there’s another song that makes an argument for being better and that’s “Fishing Alone.” The song is about a man’s father passing away and realizing all of the times they never had together. He realizes how later in life he sort of drifted away and that he let a lot of time they could have had just slip away because life got in the way. Now he’s left feeling guilty and sad that he let things happen the way they did. It’s a sorrowful song that makes you want to reflect on your own relationships with family and really pulls at the heartstrings. Dylan reflects on love lost on “Girl That Got Away.” It’s a solid heartbreak song. The album’s final song “Map Dot Town” is another solid song I really enjoy. The song is about how people learn to accept their fate of living and dying in a map dot town, while also being about a man having to watch his wife eventually leave and never getting to see his son. It’s very much along the lines of Zac Brown Band’s “Highway 20 Ride.” It’s this at first bitter and then later accepting realization that life didn’t go the way you planned. But in the end you realize this is where you belong. It’s a sobering song.

“Willie Nelson T-Shirt” is probably the most fun song of the album. The song is about a man going through a breakup and pleading to his ex to give him his 1985 Willie Nelson t-shirt back. If she refuses, he’ll tell everyone around town about how she cheated on him, which led to their breakup. While this blackmailing, threat of slut shaming is not something I approve of, she did cheat on him and all he’s asking for his t-shirt back. It makes for a realistic look at how unreasonable break ups can go down, even over something trivial like a t-shirt, which is what makes this song amusing. One of the more upbeat songs on the album and another fun one is “Astronaut.” A man who works a backbreaking job in the heat everyday with his Copenhagen habit and GED begins to dream of the good life if he ever hit the Powerball jackpot and won the heart of the woman he’s had his eye on for a while. “Astronaut” is able to take this simple theme and succeed because it has instrumentation with fiery energy and it actually has some story behind it.

While this album definitely has some highlights and has a lot of good going for it, I did run into things I didn’t like. On the title track and “It Ain’t Broke” the instrumentation sounds fine, but the songs themselves are a little too generic for my tastes. “The Good Life” exudes how great of a life it is to wake up every day and busts your ass to earn what you have unlike others. It goes on about guys like this go 110% and always makes the grade. The song is a big humble brag that makes it hard to empathize with the people described in this song, which shouldn’t be an issue because being a hard-worker should be an admirable trait.

There’s only one song on this album that I outright don’t like and that’s “Your Way Down.” It doesn’t get off to the best of starts when it’s introduction sounds very similar to the introduction of Hoobastank’s “The Reason,” a song I have a deep burning hate for and I don’t like to have any reminders of being a song that exists. Once you move past this you have a song that is very cynical in nature, as a guy can’t stop thinking about an ex that dumped him and left their small town for another guy. The guy can’t seem to get over it and tells her to “look me up on your way down.” It doesn’t paint him in a flattering light, making him look like a whiny douche. It’s hard to sympathize with a whiny douche. If you’re doing so well, why are you even caring about her? It’s just a bad song and something I hope Dylan tries to stay away from in the future.

Overall I think Erik Dylan delivers a solid album in Heart of a Flatland Boy. It does a lot of things right and shows he has a lot of potential. His style and approach reminds me a lot of his discoverer Kip Moore and another artist who’s sound is based around a heartland rock type vibe, Eric Church. And it’s funny because not only does the good on this album remind me of Church at his best, but also the worst reminds me of Church at his worst. This album is along the lines of Church’s early albums where you can hear the talent plain as day, but there’s a few songs that try way too hard to get it’s theme across or come off immature. Despite some of the problems I have with this album though, I think Heart of a Flatland Boy does a lot of things right and if Dylan continues to build off the good, he has all the makings of having a long career in country music.

Grade: 7/10 

 

Recommend? – For fans of Kip Moore/Eric Church/rock-influenced country, Yes

Album Highlights: Fishing Alone, Pink Flamingos, Map Dot Town, Astronaut, Willie Nelson T-Shirt

Bad Songs: Your Way Down

Wallpaper: Flatland Boy & It Ain’t Broke


The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 2013]

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This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Each week, I take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay Chart (or, “Hot Country Songs” as it used to be called) from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the past top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. The grade I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. Admittedly my week was pretty hectic, therefore I’m taking a break from my review backlog this week. It will resume next week, but for now I picked 2013 since I already knew my thoughts on all thirty songs. This week’s chart will be from May 11th, 2013.

  1. Thompson Square – “If I Didn’t Have You” +1
  2. Florida Georgia Line – “Get Your Shine On” -3 (Admittedly this song REALLY annoys me, but it’s more of a personal thing. Therefore I decided to be fair.)
  3. Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart” 0
  4. Lady Antebellum – “Downtown” 0
  5. Kenny Chesney – “Pirate Flag” -3
  6. Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel” +1 (I don’t think the song is all that special but eh…it was the most country thing to hit the top in quite a while so whatever)
  7. Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift & Keith Urban – “Highway Don’t Care” -2
  8. George Strait – “Give It All We Got Tonight” 0
  9. Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There” +1
  10. Brad Paisley – “Beat This Summer” +3 [Best Song]
  11. Eric Church – “Like Jesus Does” +1
  12. Blake Shelton  & The Pistol Annies – “Boys ‘Round Here” -5 [Worst Song…..Ever]
  13. Brantley Gilbert – “More Than Miles” +1
  14. The Band Perry – “DONE” -1 (And now they really are!)
  15. Jason Aldean – “1994” -5 [Worst Song…..oh shit I already handed this out? Ugh….]
  16. Jake Owen – “Anywhere With You” 0
  17. Zac Brown Band – “Jump Right In” +1
  18. Luke Bryan – “Crash My Party” -1
  19. Gloriana – “Can’t Shake You” +2
  20. The Henningsens – “American Beautiful” 0
  21. Kip Moore – “Hey Pretty Girl” +2
  22. Easton Corbin – “All Over The Road” -1
  23. Hunter Hayes – “I Want Crazy” -2
  24. Carrie Underwood – “See You Again” +1
  25. Gary Allan – “Pieces” +1
  26. Brett Eldredge – “Don’t Ya” -1 (Almost a 0 but that opening line is just way too cringe worthy)
  27. Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill – “Don’t Rush” +1
  28. Justin Moore – “Point At You” -1
  29. Billy Currington – “Hey Girl” -3
  30. Randy Houser – “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” -2

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: -14

So yeah this week was definitely a bust. From the looks at the bottom half of the chart, it looks like we were just about to be inundated with bro-country. Elsewhere, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton run away with the “honor” of having two of the absolute worst songs to ever descend upon the country genre. Even looking beyond that there’s just not a whole lot here. The best song for me is Brad Paisley’s experimental “Beat This Summer” but only that is great as opposed to outright excellent. Honestly there’s just a whole lot of mediocrity here.

As always, if you have any questions as to why I gave a song a certain grade feel free to ask me. Also, let me know what you guys think of the chart in the comments!

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 22]

Dan + Shay From the Ground Up

Each week we take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart and grade the top 30 songs. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Up 1)
  2. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 1)
  3. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 2)
  4. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 
  5. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 5)
  6. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 3)
  7. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Down 1) [Worst Song]
  8. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 
  9. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Down 8) 
  10. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Up 1)
  11. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 1)
  12. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 5)
  13. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 3)
  14. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 4)
  15. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Down 2)
  16. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Down 2)
  17. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 4)
  18. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 2)
  19. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 3) [Best Song]
  20. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 3)
  21. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 3)
  22. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 3)
  23. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 (Down 4)
  24. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 3)
  25. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  26. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 2)
  27. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 3)
  28. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (New to Top 30)
  29. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (New to Top 30)
  30. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -25

The pulse drops 11 spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week (Radio’s Purge of Quality Week):

  • Eric Church – “Record Year” +4
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”
    • Oh great, Granger is back. Yipee. I was kind of hoping he would just be a one-hit wonder and would go back to Texas. But we’re not that lucky. He follows up the irritating “Backroad Song” with a song that is slightly less annoying in the form of “If The Boot Fits.” This is straight up bro country with an embarrassing amount of auto-tune used on Granger’s voice. Then you have the half-assed modern country production and lyrics that center around a redneck Cinderella. It blows my mind a sub par, mediocre vocalist such as Dibbles is getting all of this airplay. But then again that’s right in country radio’s wheelhouse. Anyway it’s all very annoying and the song gets worse with each play. You can keep ignoring Mr. Dibbles. 1/10
  • Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song”
    • It feels like it’s been a while since Eldredge has been in the top 30. While he’s been going in the more trend chasing direction, I’ve found him to be one of the more palatable Nashville pop artists because of his strong vocals. Right up front I will say this song is an improvement over his previous two singles, although those weren’t going to be tough to top. “Wanna Be That Song” is a love song about a guy expressing his love towards his woman with various comparisons and analogies. It’s a tad on the sleepy side, but for a pop country song it isn’t half bad. If you listen closely you can hear actual acoustic guitars and dare I say some steel guitar too. You could do a lot worse, but this could have been better too if it didn’t rely so much on clichés. 5/10
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need a Drink” – Up 5 from #10 to #5
  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World on Fire” – Up 5 from #17 to #12
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” – Up 4 from #18 to #14

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Eric Church – “Record Year” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)

Songs I See Going Recurrent & Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without a Fight”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” (It rebounded this week, but it could easily slip)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Florida Georgia Line & Tim McGraw – “May We All”
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Vacation” (Country radio does not want to play this. Nobody with a sane mind wants to hear it. Just end it already!)

Note: As you can see we have a new best song this week. Ultimately I was deciding between Tim McGraw’s “How I’ll Always Be” and Miranda Lambert’s “Vice.” I ended up going with “Vice” because of the stronger lyrics and having such a vulnerable song at country radio is a pretty rare site. The way it’s going it should have a shot at top ten, which is cool to see.

 

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below. 

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 15]

Jon Pardi Head Over Boots

Each week we take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart and grade the top 30 songs. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Up 2) {Woohooo!}
  2. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Up 3)
  3. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 1)
  4. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 (Up 2)
  5. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 3)
  6. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Down 5) [Worst Song]
  7. Eric Church – “Record Year” +4 (Down 5) [Best Song]
  8. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 (Down 1)
  9. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 2)
  10. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 
  11. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Up 1)
  12. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 2)
  13. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 4)
  14. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Up 1)
  15. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2 (Down 2)
  16. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 2)
  17. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 6)
  18. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 2)
  19. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 (Down 3)
  20. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Down 1)
  21. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 4)
  22. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 1)
  23. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  24. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Down 2)
  25. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 1)
  26. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  27. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 3)
  28. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 1)
  29. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3 (Down 1)
  30. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -14

The pulse drops four spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”
  • Note: Blake Shelton’s “She’s Got a Way With Words” has been moved down to a -3 because I listened to it again and it has somehow gotten even more annoying and obnoxious. I’ll have more on Blake tomorrow…)

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” (Sam Hunt and MCA Nashville are holding back for the #1 push until next week)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World on Fire” – Up 6 from #23 to #17
  • Luke Bryan – “Move” – Up 4 from #25 to #21
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 4 from #17 to #13

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Chris Lane – “Fix” – Down 5 from #1 to #6
  • Eric Church – “Record Year” – Down 5 from #2 to #7

Songs I See Going Recurrent & Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Eric Church – “Record Year”
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You”
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without a Fight” (Arista Nashville pulled from promoting it earlier this week)
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”

On The Hot Seat:

  • None

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”
  • Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song”
  • Florida Georgia Line & Tim McGraw – “May We All”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

 

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below.