Single Review: Little Big Town, "Pontoon"

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April 29, 2012

This new Little Big Town single sounds cool. Surprise? Nah – they always sounded cool with Wayne Kirkpatrick producing, and new helmsman Jay Joyce brings the same quirky groove-sense he's brought to Eric Church's stuff. It's a good sonic match.

The song, though. If you're going to write about an experience as (relatively) esoteric as pontoon-partying, gotta find something in it to appeal to the rest of us. Craig Morgan's “Redneck Yacht Club” had its playful melody and alliterations; “Pontoon”'s lyrics are so dull that, when paired with the weird reverb on Karen Fairchild's vocal, they start to sound like a diary of seasickness. No thanks!

I do kinda like “Mmmm, motorboatin',” though. Ha.

Grade: C+

Listen: Pontoon

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  1. The_Trouble_With_The_TruthNo Gravatar says:

    I like it a lot, its supposed to be a fun song, not rocket science. I give it an A. Musically sounds like nothing else on radio today!

  2. Jonathan KeefeNo Gravatar says:

    Joyce’s production suits them well, and obviously there’s no faulting the singing. I’ll be curious as to whether or not radio goes for this, though Lord knows they should’ve unseated Lady A countless times over by now.

    But yeah. As a sex metaphor, the song itself has nothing on Miranda Lambert’s “Fine Tune” and just comes across as stretched far beyond what the images can actually support. The images are, as you said, a little too insular at face-value and are overworked as a metaphor, so it just doesn’t quite work.

    Points for the “Don’t drink it if the mountains aren’t blue” line, though, which is the kind of detail that very few list-of-rural-signifiers-in-lieu-of-actual-lyrics songs ever bother with.

  3. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    “Diary of seasickness” is an unfortunately appropriate way to describe this song. I like how the group isn’t afraid to give us something that has a different sound and style to it, but to say that the lyrics leave me cold is an understatement.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I rarely get past crazy distortion or reverb in a song before tuning out, but it seems to work for this song. It sounds neat enough that I’ll buy it, but good call on the lyrics.

  5. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    “The images are, as you said, a little too insular at face-value and are overworked as a metaphor, so it just doesn’t quite work.

    Points for the “Don’t drink it if the mountains aren’t blue” line, though, which is the kind of detail that very few list-of-rural-signifiers-in-lieu-of-actual-lyrics songs ever bother with.”

    Yeah, I couldn’t even tell whether they were trying to make it a metaphor or not.

    Agreed, though – it’s one of the weakest tracks I’ve heard from them, but the fingerprints of talented people are still all over it. I’m LBT FAN 4 LIFE

  6. Jonathan KeefeNo Gravatar says:

    I think it’s more of an issue of Karen Fairchild trying to sell the song as a sex metaphor with her sultry delivery of it, but a line like, “You can climb the ladder/Just don’t rock the boat while I barbecue,” and even the “Mmm/Motorboatin’” bit really just aren’t enough to make it work as well as it should. It’s just not much of a song, but I’m definitely still on their team.

  7. minnieSwirlNo Gravatar says:

    It gets an A from me. I LOVE the music and the vocals. The song has a terrific groove and I don’t find anything weird with Karen’s vocal. She matches the tone of the song and gives it some soul. The lyrics are simple, but I also think there is a wink and a smile aspect to it as well. The instrumentation is rich and detailed. I think the song is great.

  8. ChadNo Gravatar says:

    Not bad but not what I expect (and hope) from LBT. I hope the party/water theme and simple lyrics are enough to get them some radio play though.

  9. MattNo Gravatar says:

    IF radio won’t play songs with strong lyrics, why not give ‘em something that is mindless? Seems to work more often than not

  10. Rick BNo Gravatar says:

    This is the FIRST good song they’ve had in years! They are great vocalists and together they’re unbelievable, but their songs are usually weak as day-old dishwater. This is excellent! A+

  11. Motown MikeNo Gravatar says:

    First off let me say how dissapointed I am that Little Big Town on their last few singles has abandon their pseudo-bluegrass sound. Second, let me say that I really enjoy this song for what it is. No, it’s not remotely country but it is just a fun song. The reverb arrangement works and the melody is catchy enough to wade one through the stupidity of the lyrics. And so, I actually enjoy this one.

  12. MBNo Gravatar says:

    Love the song! For anyone that has hung out on the water with multiple boats tied together – this song hits the high points and pulls forward instant memories of those great times!

    Okay the whole “motor boating” thing – keep it simple. In the boating world you are either motor boating or sailing. But hey if your definition is something different that’s fun on the water too – go for it!

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