When you build a song around what is essentially a pun, you have to do one of two things. Either sell the pun so well that it overcomes its inherent corniness, or build such a strong song around it that the pun doesn’t make a lasting impact.
“Kiss Me When I’m Down” tries to do both, and is mostly successful. Allan sings it so well that the focus is as much on the pain in his voice as it is on the lyrics he’s singing. Plus, the title is used so infrequently that it can’t really diminish the song as a whole. But it doesn’t elevate it, either.
So we’re left with what is a fairly typical Gary Allan record these days. Decent song, sung well, arranged tastefully. A bit of California flavor here and there. It doesn’t have the fiery intensity of his earlier work, but it’s been clear for a while now that Allan has already peaked. “Kiss Me When I’m Down” certainly won’t accelerate his current downward slope, but he’ll need stronger material if he hopes to reverse the slide.
Written by Andrew Dorff, Josh Kear, and Chris Tompkins
Listen: Kiss Me When I’m Down