One of the most criminally overlooked staples of country music in the last decade, Gary Allan continues the course of his album Living Hard with the release of its third single, “She’s So California.”
No one would expect that Allan could reach the emotional depths of Tough All Over, his heartbreaking collection from 2005, but Living Hard made compromises that were not so evident on the last album. The uptempo numbers were a welcome relief from the raw, despairing tone of Tough All Over, but “She’s So California” is little more than album filler designed to fit comfortably between the other country radio standards of today.
Allan’s gravelly vocal will always elevate even the most inane material, and thankfully he’s recorded very little of it since his debut in 1996. But the passion and precision on his best tracks isn’t apparent here. The production is modest enough, but it’s a bit sterile. And Allan, as artistically aware as most any country artist, can’t quite capture the desire necessary to carry this song above Nashville’s assembly line of cookie-cutter country songs. It’s quite listenable, Allan’s singing is terrific once again, but “She’s So California” is a throwaway song from a true talent.
Written by Gary Allan, Jamie Hanna & Jon Randall
Listen: She’s So California
Buy: She’s So California