Single Review: Josh Turner, “I Wouldn’t Be a Man”

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February 7, 2011

I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t feel like this
I wouldn’t be a man if a woman like you
Was anything I could resist
I’d have to be from another planet
Where love doesn’t exist
I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t feel like this

Hmm.

Well, this is kind of an unusual situation: a modern country singer choosing to resurrect an old country song…that was never that good to begin with.

Give Josh Turner credit for trying, at least. A lot of the current guys just pay lip service to Johnny and Willie, then maybe do a rawked up snippet of “Family Tradition” at their show. Turner’s going all the way with this obscure-ish Don Williams single; he must really believe in it.

It’s just an odd shame, then, that “I Wouldn’t Be a Man” happens to be such a sloppy composition.

The song is about makin’ love. And the verses relish the little details and sensations of that endeavor, making this particular evening, and this particular connection, sound truly special. That’s until, out of nowhere, that chorus comes in and inadvertently declares all the sexy magic, well, kind of ordinary. “I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t feel like this. I wouldn’t be a man if I woman like you was anything I could resist.” It’s a jarring shift in focus that even the song’s steady, sensual groove can’t fully mask.

More significantly, though, it’s a bungled compliment to the woman – a mood-killer. Imagine being in bed with someone who seduces you with pretty nothings about how great you look in the moonlight, then abruptly adds, “of course, it’s only biologically normal that I should be so aroused by how good you look right now. I mean, it’s not like I’m an alien from another planet or something! Haha! …But seriously, I’m not.” If I were the woman, I’d probably respond, “I thought we were talking about me.”

Then there’s this unintentional awkwardness: if taken literally, the chorus’ lyrics dismiss the reality that there a lot of people who are rightfully called “men” – and not “aliens from a loveless planet” – who don’t find attractive women attractive. Not such a weird issue for a country song from the 80′s, of course, but for a 2011 release, it feels like a dated perspective.

So it’s all just a bit…kooky.

Of course, it’s easy to see why the record will still appeal to people. Despite an uncharacteristically detached vocal, Turner sounds both masculine and sweet, an appealing romantic combo. He even repeatedly identifies himself by the word “man,” probably further reminding you subconsciously of his primal, sexual identity. This track is engineered to turn you – or someone you know – on. And on an aesthetic level, it works.

But much like the act it celebrates, it doesn’t always make much sense.

Written by Rory Burke & Mike Reid

Grade: C

Listen: I Wouldn’t Be a Man

Buy:

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19 Comments

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19 Comments so far

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  1. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    The last line floored me. Excellent piece of writing.

  2. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    This just might be my new favorite Milliken review. I enjoyed the broken-down literal interpretation of the lyrics, not to mention the highlighting of the “unintentional awkwardness.”

    Though I want to like Josh Turner’s releases, since there are many things to like about it, I was unimpressed from the first time I heard this record. The chorus just seems so one-dimensional. There are much stronger songs in the Don Williams catalog to choose from.

  3. Hoggy from OzNo Gravatar says:

    Great stuff as always Dan. I too like the last line of your review. I prefer Turner’s cover of “Lord Have Mercy on a Country Boy”.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Wow! Awesomely thoughtful review.

  5. K-manNo Gravatar says:

    “Imagine being in bed with someone who seduces you with pretty nothings about how great you look in the moonlight, then abruptly adds, “of course, it’s only biologically normal that I should be so aroused by how good you look right now.””

    Best. Review. Ever.

    (Or at least close to it.)

  6. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Awesomeness. (The review, that is.)

  7. TomNo Gravatar says:

    …just because the moon was rising slowly, he shouldn’t have tried beating him in terms of total lack of tempo.

    probably one of the nicest “absolutely no-tempo-at-all” ballads in recent memory. somehow, i can’t see this one racing up the charts.

  8. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    At least it’s no “I’m Still A Guy.”

    Awesome Review, BTW.

  9. Paul DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Seriously, what would you expect from a song co-written by a former NFL defensive lineman(Mike Reid)?

    Actually, I like this song a little more than most of the prior posters seem to like it. I’d give it a C+

  10. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I did like “Walk on Faith” by Mike Reid.

  11. KatieRNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a big Josh Turner fan, and like this song. Not my #1 of his, but I think it’s better than a C rating ;)

  12. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I will say that Turner’s version is better than Billy Dean’s was, but I’ve always thought this song was weak. I’m surprised that it’s been reincarnated three decades in a row.

  13. Jon G.No Gravatar says:

    I hate to do another “I agree with everything everyone has said” post, but…yeah. I agree with everything everyone has said. This review was spot-on. It was both relatively in-depth for this site and fun to read, and it’s arguments are very strong and presented well. Too bad for Turner. Idk, though. Not much-if anything-on ‘Haywire’ grabbed me outside of “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” If he were going to do a ‘sexy’ single, then “Lovin’ You on My Mind” might’ve been a better choice.

  14. CodeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree, great review, im really just not a fan of his voice as it is way too deep for my taste.

  15. djtennNo Gravatar says:

    guys, this is a pop record. it’s not a country song. that’s why I think it’s never found a big audience. it’s adult contemporary & soul. but not michael bolton”ish. I’ve never been impressed with the lyrics but the musical composition has always floored me everytime. Still, no other country singer should record this song!

  16. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    I guess it’s all in how you look at it. But the chorus says to me that he finds this girl so attractive and irrisistable that it would be impossible for a man to not love her. Or in other words, the only way someone could not be into (in love with) her is if they aren’t a man or live somewhere that love does not exist. That’s the point I think he wants to convey.

  17. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    @djtenn you are spot on. We are trying to fit this into the country genre and its not working.

  18. erkie23No Gravatar says:

    Hmm.Well, this is kind of an unusual situation: a modern country singer choosing to resurrect an old country song

  19. rodan7No Gravatar says:

    Hmm.Well, this is kind of an unusual situation: a modern country singer choosing to resurrect an old country song

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