Single Review: Blake Shelton, "Over"

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May 6, 2012

This one's a dead ringer for one of those nineties lukewarm rock ballads. You know the kind.

A faceless band with a generic frontman singing a plaintive love song that relies on pounding guitars for its intensity. It's their one hit that gets played everywhere, but nobody buys the album because it's just going to pop up on some late-night hits collection anyway.

(Side note for younger readers: before Now made its way stateside, the only multi-artist hits collections were sold late at night on cable television.)

But it's 2012, and this is a single from someone who's supposed to be country music's premier male singer. That fact alone should make the mediocrity of “Over” quite remarkable.

But who are we kidding? Mediocrity is enough to get you in the winner's circle these days. Blake Shelton's doing well in this climate, and this song will certainly follow his previous singles right up the charts.

But country music is in trouble. Its enthusiastic embrace of Shelton and many of his contemporaries as the best it has to offer sounds an awful lot like its death rattle.  When it's no longer expected that our core acts sound country or sound good, how much longer can the genre survive?

Written by Paul Jenkins and David Elliott Johnson

Grade: D

Listen:  Over

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16 Comments

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  1. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Blah.

  2. Hoggy from OzNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin, that’s for explaining things that were a bit before my time :)

    If I could put it this way: I’ve had the album “Red River Blue” for a good while now and I’ve yet to listen to this song through fully without skipping it.

    It’s that bl-

  3. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    For just one brief moment before reading the review, I was holding out a shred of hope that this might be somewhat good. Oh, how Shelton depresses me these days.

    Oh, and thanks for that “side note for younger readers,” btw ;)

  4. Michael A.No Gravatar says:

    Haha. I’m not really interested in this song, but now I can’t stop thinking about these 90s bands you’re referring to. Boy Howdy, Perfect Stranger, Heartland, McBride & the Ride, Little Texas, Ricochet…

  5. LynnNo Gravatar says:

    I wonder how long Blake can get away with releasing one mediocre single after another? Sigh. Why can’t he release the title track instead?

  6. KevinNo Gravatar says:

    For posterity’s sake:

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNCiXKpO94g

  7. bobNo Gravatar says:

    Boring song I agree. The last BS single I liked was the “Not Looking” song which I already had by Joe Nichols. Before that it was his cover of Michael Buble’s “Home”. Choosing quality, original material is not BS’s strong suit. But as you indicate, he doesn’t need to make the effort.

  8. Susan KNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin – I really like your writing, but you’re being a bit dramatic. Blake’s crappy output lately also coincides with his increased mainstream popularity. I don’t think it’s county’s core audience who is newly embracing him, do you? I feel Miranda is also heading down this same road. I can’t even listen to “four”. I think you’d have to be deaf to think THAT’S an improvement over her earlier releases.

  9. Susan KNo Gravatar says:

    I guess my point is that it’s the soft pop enthusiasts who are eating this stuff up. It’s just a minute or two on the radio that you can ignore by hitting the “CD” button. I keep a good record (usually it’s “Welder”) in my player for songs such as this.

  10. JoeNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for such a well written review, Kevin. This song is terrible, and the effort (or lack thereof) Blake puts into anything but the Voice these days is disheartening. Folks might have jumped onto Eric Church for his statements (which, I found to be right on target), but this lukewarm attempt at music is exactly what he was speaking of.

  11. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar says:

    If Church was blasting songs like this (and not sure he was), Church needs to take a good look in the mirror. Yeah, “Over” may be bland and mediocre, but so is a lot of Church’s fare, such as “Love Your Love the Most.” “Drink in My Hand” is hardly better artistically than “The More I Drink,” and “Hell on the Heart” is lyrically no more interesting than the unremarkable Terri Clark song that said, “You’re easy on the eyes and hard on the heart” or many other songs that express a similar “clever” idea, (“She’s sun and rain, she’s fire and ice,” or “you’ve got to kiss an angel good morning and love her like the devil when you get back home…”)

    I don’t mind Eric Church having an opinion. But he expresses it in such a rude way. And worse, he is guilty of many of the sins that he and/or his fans and/or his marketing department seem to insinuate others are guilty of.

    I don’t dislike Church’s music. It seems pretty average for mainstream radio. There’s mainstream stuff I like more, and mainstream stuff I like less. But it does rub me the wrong way when Church puts on the “I’m a pariah, I’m an outlaw, I’m different, I care about art and they care about commerce and screw Rascal Flatts I’ll play my music loud” nonsense. I don’t buy it at all.

  12. DevinNo Gravatar says:

    I actually thought this was one of the better songs on the album. Not as ‘country’ as I would prefer, but I didn’t dislike it.

    “If I could
    I would dare
    Feed your dreams
    and starve your fears”

    Also thought that was a pretty strong line, but what do I know.

    I still sorely miss the old Blake. I think he’s just a victim of his own success. I know a song like Hillbilly Bone was panned by pretty much everyone, but could you even see him releasing a song like that nowadays? Doubtful.

    For now I’ll just go listen to Blake sing Goodbye Time and dream that he releases a song like that again one day…

  13. PeterNo Gravatar says:

    Given Shelton took Conway Twitty’s 1988 Top 10 hit “Goodbye Time” to the Top 10 himself 17 years later,I am surprised more of his musical output is not listened to with that huge musical influence in mind. So much of both Twitty and Shelton’s music is bombastic and bawdy. I thought “Drink on It” was the kind of creepy, predatory song Twitty so effectively growled his way through without apology years back.

    “Over” represents the bombast. It explodes with the urgency, not only of the pounding guitars, but the entire production package. It is a big, gross number that works to my ears because there is total buy-in by the vocalist. I don’t understand how one can accuse Shelton of not trying. I have listened to the song several times through and it is simply not a phoned-in vocal performance. You may not like the song, but Shelton is bringing it vocally. Criticism needs to come from somewhere else.

    Sonically, “Over” reminds me of Twitty’s later hits like “She’s Got a Single Thing in Mind” and “Who’s Gonna Know.” I love Shelton, if for no other reason, than you can connect the musical dots with him. Like Twitty, Shelton is comfortable navigating the waters of both pop and country. I am confidant that any one of his recent number ones will be worthy fodder for future Retro Hit analysis.

  14. Screw the critics, I’ve been a Fan of blake shelton from the begining.Just because he doing songs that have love and meaning dosent mean that he’s changed.I think the song is powerful, no way mediocre. It don’t matter what the critics say I’m a fan and I love it. Screw the Critics

  15. grumpiestoldmanNo Gravatar says:

    What a blah song. And programmed drum beats? C’mon Blake you can do a hundred times better. Of course, he’s at the mercy of songwriters.

  16. bobNo Gravatar says:

    Grumpie said “Of course, he’s at the mercy of songwriters.” How so?

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