September 27, 2010
I think Tim McGraw is one of country music’s strongest singers. He doesn’t have the range or depth of a Vince Gill or a Toby Keith, but he can do what a great singer is supposed to do: deliver a song with sincerity and believability. That may seem like a low bar to clear, but it never ceases to amaze me how many country artists trip over it these days.
McGraw has a stellar track record in this area, but you’d never know it listening to “Felt Good On My Lips.” In fact, it seems that the record itself has so little confidence in McGraw’s ability to deliver a song that it puts every modern recording barrier it can think of between his vocal and the listener.
I don’t have the technical studio recording vocabulary to accurately describe what’s being done to his voice here, so I’ll just say it sounds like he’s singing into a transistor radio that’s miles away from where the musicians are playing. His voice is so processed that it’s hard to tell it’s even Tim McGraw until he lets loose a bit in the chorus.
Is the song any good? I can’t really tell. I’ve never developed the ability to appreciate a song for its own sake. The singer has to deliver the goods for me to enjoy it. The production sank this record before the song had any chance to win me over. The whole thing has the vibe of a long lost demo being spruced up for a posthumous cash-in.
Listen: Felt Good On My Lips