Single Review: Tim McGraw, "Truck Yeah"

Really, Tim McGraw?

Really, Tim McGraw?

How is this not embarrassing?

So in case you didn't know, Tim McGraw and Curb Records' “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” has taken an interesting turn as of late, with old label Curb and new label Big Machine releasing dueling Tim McGraw singles to country radio.  Curb has put out a second single from Emotional Traffic – “Right Back Atcha Babe” (groan) – while Big Machine has released “Truck Yeah,” the first single from McGraw's forthcoming label debut album.

I've written it before, and I'll write it again:  A snappy catchphrase does not a great single make.  Half the time it doesn't even make a halfway good or decent single, and it can be downright embarrassing at worst.  So “truck” rhymes with… you know.  Congratulations to the songwriters on having come to such a grand realization, but that still begs the question of why the world needs to hear a three and a half-minute song built around it.

Some songs that are built around puns or catchphrases sound somewhat clever at first, only to gradually lose their appeal, and quickly become intolerable.  This is not one of them, for it sounds dumb and ridiculous upon arrival.  It starts with “Got Li'l Wayne poppin' on my iPod,” and then it's all downhill from there.

If this is at all representative of the musical direction McGraw plans to take with Curb Records, then it's probably past time I started calling myself a “former” Tim McGraw fan.  This is it, folks – He's finally gone off the deep end.

Written by Preston Brust, Chris Janson, Chris Lucas, and Danny Myrick

Grade:  F

Listen:  Truck Yeah

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49 Comments

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49 Responses to Single Review: Tim McGraw, "Truck Yeah"

  1. LynnNo Gravatar

    There ought to be a grade lower than F, so we can give that instead to this song. Horrible song.

  2. I give Tim props most of the time for remaining relevant while pushing the envelope with some of his music. His duet with Ne-Yo “Only Human” on Emotional Traffic has been a favorite of mine since the album came out, and he’s always had a great ear for solid material. That’s why this is even worse than if a Rodney Atkins or Billy Currington had recorded it: he should know better. Then again, he seemed to have fun with “Feel Like a Rock Star” as well.

    If I was him, I would be rethinking the Big Machine partnership based solely on that single cover. They really think that a hashtag is going to make this a hit? Please let this flop so he rethinks the direction of his next album.

  3. TomNo Gravatar

    …there are country songs you tend to think that you wouldn’t exactly like to trade places with the protagonist in them – that list has a worthy new addition. sucks yeah!

  4. bobNo Gravatar

    It took 4 guys to write this? (Preston Brust, Chris Janson, Chris Lucas, and Danny Myrick) Guess the blame can be spread around but McGraw deserves the most for deciding to record it.

  5. KentNo Gravatar

    I think he’s trying to be Jason Aldean.

  6. Greg MNo Gravatar

    There wasn’t a better country song you guys could write about? I heard one over the weekend and it’s a cover of an Adele song (David Nial’s take on Someone like You). Even the title of this Tim McGraw song makes me not want to hear it.

  7. DevinNo Gravatar

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is the WORST song I have ever heard a mainstream country artist release.

    There is no redeeming value to it whatsoever. It is seriously almost a parody of itself. How does Tim McGraw, the guy who’s given us some of the most memorable, quality country songs over the last couple decades, hear this song and really think it’s worthwhile to even record?

    This needs to be reviewed. On every blog, etc. And it needs to be blasted to hell on all of them, so maybe, just maybe someone will get wind of how awful people think the song is and it will get squashed at radio before Tim’s reputation becomes even more damaged.

    I just watched the lyric video posted on Tim’s facebook and was just speechless. I don’t know that you were scathing and critical enough, Ben.

  8. LISANo Gravatar

    I LOVE THIS SONG. I GIVE IT A. TRUCK YEAH

  9. MeTennesseeNo Gravatar

    Pure and simply a terrible song. Tim McGraw is much better than this, or at least he used to be.

  10. I honestly have no idea how this is going to go over at radio. It’s bad, bad, bad, to be sure, while the pun on the F-word might cause some to shy away, but at the same time, Big Machine is promoting the heck out of it.

    Bob,

    Thanks for bringing out the names of the songwriters, which I had not yet been able to find, but have now added into the post. I had actually fully expected this song to have three or four writers, as it seems most of the weakest songs on the radio were written by some committee or other, while many better songs have only one writer.

    There wasn’t a better country song you guys could write about?

    That’s not exactly the issue, Greg. We review good and bad songs alike on Country Universe, and I think that’s the way it should be. If we only reviewed songs we liked, then nothing would ever be challenged. You will notice, however, that my previous single review (Gretchen Peters, “Idlewild) was a solid A, and that just yesterday Tara posted a fine review of the new Lauren Alaina single, which is also a much better song, while Kevin reviewed the solid new Alan Jackson album.

  11. bobNo Gravatar

    @Greg, you mentioned David Nail. Ben reviewed his single, “The Sound of a Million Dreams” on February 8th, giving it an “A”. I still agree with that rating. The fact that it peaked at #39 on the country charts does not alter my opinion.

  12. The fact that it peaked at #39 on the country charts does not alter my opinion.

    Did it peak already? And that low? I must have missed that. That is very disappointing. I had hoped for better, considering Nail seemed to be gaining commercial clout, particularly with “Let It Rain.” Hopefully he can put out a solid follow-up soon, and perhaps have better chart luck next time.

  13. David’s cover of “Someone Like You” is solid and may get some novelty play, if not full-fledged radio support. The EP is out on the 13th, so maybe airplay isn’t too far behind. http://wp.me/pj9J2-ET

  14. calvinNo Gravatar

    are you people crazy?!! this song rocks so hard!!! its an amazing song!! tims the best plain and simple!
    and btw tims been using southern rock in his music for years now.if anything, jason aldeans trying to be like him

  15. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    Truck No.

  16. NickNo Gravatar

    “It starts with “Got Li’l Wayne poppin’ on my iPod,” and then it’s all downhill from there…” Agreed. Not the worst song I’ve ever heard but what happened to the old Tim McGraw?

  17. MotownMikeNo Gravatar

    I don’t care one bit about myopic, hokey, because it’s summertime single releases like these. I want the old Tim McGraw back. What the happened to the guy that released sincere, emotive material like “Please Remember Me”, “Red Rag Top” and my absolute trucking favorite Tim song, “Everywhere”?

    How can you let your career have such stark contrasts. Is money the sole motivator to release singles and albums like McGraw has lately? Surely he can’t think this artistic work captures the same emotion, expression and detail that some of his quote in quote “good” singles have. So if it’s all about making a buck then count me out, cause I won’t be giving a truck!

  18. After “Feel Like A Rock Star” I am not surprised at this. Song like these are the reason I mostly listen to music that’s old enough to drink anymore.

    There are some exceptions, though. Now playing on the iTunes: Alan Jackson, “Song For the Life.” (Come to think of it, though, I think that song was penned back in the ’70s or ’80s…)

  19. BrettAshleyNo Gravatar

    Besides the awful hook, this song also relies on the horrid pandering to “country” fans by appealing to seemingly “country” things. Shudder. I can’t stand the line “If you think the life I live is a little too country…” (which is just hilarious in a song that sounds far more rock than anything country) and the phrase about being a hillbilly. Additionally, the constant “YEAH”s are grating, and do not a chorus make.

  20. MotownMikeNo Gravatar

    Lefty Frizell, Keith Whitley and Mark Chesutt never went around mirrors, I’m thinking about never going around Tim McGraw singles again.

  21. DevinNo Gravatar

    How are you guys not more offended at this? Having listened to country music almost exclusively during these “golden” years of redneck anthems and country pride turds, this is without a doubt THE WORST SONG I HAVE EVER HEARD ON RADIO.

    It name drops Lil’ Wayne. Not Hank, Willie, Waylon….Lil’ Wayne.

    It’s not even about trucks. For heaven’s sake, if you’re going to build a song around the pun ‘Truck Yeah’ then at least make the song about trucks. It would still suck, but at least it would make sense.

    There are more references to rap and rock and roll then there are to country music.

    It’s not even a bad redneck pride song. It’s just awful. Everything about it. And the sooner it dies, the better.

  22. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    To call this a terrible record would, I think, be paying it a compliment that it doesn’t deserve. But what I find incredible, and downright depressing, is that the general country music audience today seems to accept these kinds of recordings without any complaints whatsoever, regardless of whether it’s summer or not. This is shameful tripe, and just one more black eye for a music genre that doesn’t need any more of them (IMHO).

  23. DaveNo Gravatar

    This song is HORRIBLE. If this song had been sung by the LoCash Cowboys(which is who co-wrote it), Radio would have never even gave it the time of day. The fact that an A-list performer like McGraw cut it, gave it instant play and it will soar up the charts, despite the fact that it’s embarrassing. Tim McGraw has lost my respect for choosing to cut and release such nonsense.

  24. LynnNo Gravatar

    This song shot all the way up to #36 at Mediabase. Ugh.

  25. Mr. North is absolutely right. The only thing worse than this song’s existence is country radio and its audience will embrace this dreck.

    I’m thinking now of the the countless butchered-grammar tweets that are bound to carry this hashtag…

  26. Hoggy from OzNo Gravatar

    Without a doubt the crappiest ever song to be called country. Emotional Traffic doesn’t sound so bad anymore.

    Anyhow, I can’t believe this was written by four people. It sounds like something concocted by a drunk seventeen year old. Hopefully I never hear this song again and, since I’m down under, perhaps I could avoid it. Feel truly sorry for most of you guys that will find it a lot harder to avoid this steaming piece of poo :)

  27. RowdyRedNo Gravatar

    Is someone holding his kids hostage or what? I can’t think of anything else, other than a severe head injury, that would make Tim McGraw stoop to this.

    But my chief concern is that corporate – er, country radio will eagerly add it, and play it until it’s a hit, and then the new McGraw/Aldean music model will take over, and these kinds of writers will become the new Peach Pickers, and country radio will be unrecognizable and unlistenable to anyone over, say, 22.

    And I’m not kidding.

    Sob

  28. LynnNo Gravatar

    By the way, that picture there, is that the official cover art for this single? Because it’s as awful as the song itself. My goodness. Everything about this song, even the artwork, is rubbish. And it was very jarring to see this on the top part of this webpage LOL.

  29. DanNo Gravatar

    Lynn, indeed it is. Good thing they included the hashtag too, as if to remind us how cool and trendy Tim has become. “Everywhere” and “Live Like You Were Dying” weren’t cool and trendy though, they were just quality music. It’s a shame to see great artists dumb their material down to such ridiculous extremes, especially as ridiculous as a song called “Truck Yeah.” Along with his wife, Tim was one of the people who first got me hooked on country music when I was a little kid. Now I’m watching him and others turn it from an art form into a complete joke, and it’s killing me. We can only hope “Truck Yeah” flops at radio and gets the message across that this kind of garbage isn’t going to cut it.

  30. By the way, that picture there, is that the official cover art for this single? Because it’s as awful as the song itself.

    At least you can’t fault the label for false advertising.

  31. DonnaNo Gravatar

    I can’t believe how quick you are to criticize Tim for doing exactly what several country artists have done, release a song that will advance in the charts and make money. As for it being the worst song on country radio, you obviously haven’t heard the wonderful Toby Keith song “Red Solo Cup”. Country music has always been the melting pot of different genres. I guess you would label Jason Aldean a sell out as well for “Dirt Road Anthem”. Not every song recorded has to be poignant with substantial meaning! Some songs are just meant to be fun, sing along in the car, with the windows down songs. This is one of those songs! I’m sure Tim will come back around with a brilliant song choice that will please you all. I just hope you stick around long enough to hear it! Truck yeah!!!!

  32. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar

    I am a big fan of “the F word.” I feel that the pun “Truck Yeah” is so lame and so cheesy that it is an insult to the honor of my favorite curse word!

    Surely there are more clever and more funny ways to “curse without cursing” than saying “Truck Yeah.” Tim should have found one of those ways. I mean, “Shiftwork” by Kenny and George is a bit more clever, though in fairness to Tim, I think “Truck Yeah” is a step above the “SHH! It Happens” bit in “It Happens” by Sugarland.

  33. Donna,

    Is making records just about making money? Is such an approach something that is to be rewarded? Why would we expect so little of artists when music is meant to be an art form?

    I would take “Red Solo Cup” over this any way. It was stupid, but at least was self-aware, whereas this is so condescending that’s it’s almost offensive. And yes, I would indeed consider “Dirt Road Anthem” a sell-out.

    My criticism did not lie in the fact that the song isn’t ‘country enough,’ or in that is lacks substantial meaning. To me, the song doesn’t even work on a ‘fun singalong’ level. It’s just a bad song, plain and simple.

  34. If I had confidence that Tim knew balance, I could take songs like this in stride, knowing he’d come back with something great for his next single.

    Carrie is a good example of this. She’ll release something like “Cowboy Cassanova” or “Last Name” that’ll polarize the country fan base but then come back with something like “I Told You So” or “Temporary Home” that’ll be more country in feel, and much more classy sounding.

    I just have no hope that Tim cares to record anything great anymore that’ll appeal to his fan base who won’t be on board with “Truck Yeah” type songs. So to wait around, as Donna suggests, seems pointless nowadays. His last great single was “If You’re Reading This” and that was well over four years ago.

    “Still” was good and “Better Than I Used To Be” was a step in the right direction, but neither matched Tim at his peak with songs like “Everywhere” and “One of These Days.”

    “Truck Yeah” may be a ploy to make money, and in that sense he’s struck gold, but it fails in every other way (and no I haven’t heard it yet).

    Now that he’s willing to sacrifice artistic integrity to make a buck, I’m done. I’m still a huge fan of his late 90s work, but I’m done with the artist Tim has allowed himself to morph into.

    That’s precisely the reason I respect Vince Gill as much as I do.

  35. By the way, has anyone heard Tim’s other new song “Mexicoma?” It has to has to be better than this, right?

  36. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    :(

  37. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar

    This song has been getting massive airplay, this last week and it looks like its going to debut really high on the charts. We’ll have to see if it becomes a big hit but it is off to a really good start.

    My radio station played this on their nightly segment where they play two songs and ask listeners to vote for the winner. “Truck Yeah” has been doing really well and beating other songs for days.

    I still think this is a bad song though.

  38. Stephen H.No Gravatar

    I finally heard the song for the first time today. Sounds like it came straight from the reject pile for Big & Rich’s Comin’ to Your City album (the chorus somewhat reminds me of “Soul Shaker”). Very poor song.

  39. ScottNo Gravatar

    Possibly his worst single yet! F. Can I go any lower? G? H?…

  40. Noah EatonNo Gravatar

    McGraw, Big Machine, the song’s four co-writers and Clear Channel can “Go Truck Themselves”.

    O__O

    ……..oh no! I just handed the studio hacks in Nashville another terrible idea they will predictably put to bombast! -__-

  41. bobNo Gravatar

    McGraw fans have spoken. From Engine 145: Tim McGraw’s “Truck Yeah” is the highest charting debut he’s ever had. (Sigh)

    Now we’re sure to get more of this garbage from tim big machine mcgraw.

  42. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar

    I’ve had the joy of hearing this a few times on my radio station. And its actually becoming a little bit of a guilty pleasure with me. I wrote above that I thought the song stunk, and I sure do want to hate this kind of song. But I’ll admit now that I haven’t changed the station the few times the song has come on my radio.

  43. JenNo Gravatar

    So Tim puts out a fun, not to be taken serious song and he is country worst enemy. I have heard a couple of the songs on the album, at a pre party. They are awesome and would fit perfect on his Everywhere album. One called One of those nights is incredible, equal to my favorite song Everywhere. You can hear it on the Pulse Music Board(country section) under the Truck Yea topic. Check it out.

  44. JenNo Gravatar

    another is called The Book Of John, it is incredible and Tim said it was his favorite on the album. Has another one called Nashville, that is great, it is not like them songs like Jason did that yell out Johnny Cash’s name, It really has something to say and is pure country. He got a standing ovation from a lot of people in the business when he did that song at preparty in Nashville.

  45. Blaine JacobsNo Gravatar

    I’m a little late to the party, but one I couldn’t help but attend. You see, I had managed to avoid this song until last night when I went to see Tim and Kenny perform on their Brothers of the Sun tour in Oakland, CA. I knew he’d play it eventually, and of course he chose this gem to finish his set with, yippee! Half way through the song my buddy looks at me and says, “kinda catchy right?” To which I respond, “I never said it wouldn’t be catchy but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck!” I don’t think much more needs to be said, however, in regards to the F grade it was given I would like to propose a new grading scale to be used for all future singles: A, B, C, D, F, Truck Yeah!

  46. Blaine JacobsNo Gravatar

    @Jonathan Pappalardo
    I had to hear that dud last night too! My buddy and I were looking at each other, shaking our heads, thinking, “what the heck is this rubbish!?” On a related not, for those of you considering the tour yourselves, McGraw needs to take a year off. He’s clearly straining himself.

  47. VickiNo Gravatar

    I don’t understand how he can go from a great song like “Better Than I Use to Be” to “Trucks yeah”

    I’ve heard of changing things up but this is ridiculous!

  48. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar

    Vicki says “I don’t understand how he can go from a great song…to”Truck Yeah” and Ben’s review says “How is this not embarrassing?”

    I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’m starting to like this as a guilty pleasure. And though Vicki’s point is well taken, Tim has released “Indian Outlaw,” “Refried Dreams,” and such in the past. So this isn’t that unprecedented!

    Obviously the song is extremely silly, the “Truck Yeah” pun is hardly clever at all, and the lyrics contain country lyric cliche after cliche and they make “Red Solo Cup” look like a staggering piece of genius! Some won’t like the production either.

    As bad as it is, I think the song is a bit catchy. I would never buy this as a download, and if I was commenting under my real name instead of the ridiculous “Sweetcheeks,” I would say I hated the song. I’d never admit to a friend that I like this! But I will say that the last two or three times this has come on my radio, I have not turned the station.

    I imagine this song will wear out its welcome quite quickly, but its a fun little guilty pleasure. Very guilty.

  49. JoshNo Gravatar

    “He got a standing ovation from a lot of people in the business when he did that song at preparty in Nashville.”

    That’s one of the more depressing things I’ve ever heard. And I’ve listened to a lot of country songs…