July 15, 2012
Brantley Gilbert originally released “Kick It In the Sticks” in 2010, and it failed to chart. But that was before the one-two punch of number-one hits “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” reversed his fortunes at radio. In light of Gilbert’s newly heightened commercial profile, the single is being re-released for another go-round at radio.
Much has not changed. It was a terrible song in 2010, and it’s still a terrible song now.
Not only is it radio bait through and through, but it’s radio bait of the most grating variety. It hits the listener over the head with blunt force, and then coughs up the usual backwoods clichés. The production is ridiculously loud, and generally sounds plum terrible. Gilbert isn’t even a good singer, and his performance here amounts to nothing more than his usual tuneless rasping.
It’s not fun. It’s not catchy. It’s not clever. It’s not well-written. It’s not well-produced. It’s not well-sung. It’s not artistry in any worthwhile form, and it sure as heck isn’t “country” – not even by 2012 standards, or by any stretch of the imagination whatsoever. (A George Strait namedrop doesn’t change that – it only makes me want to listen to Strait instead)
Can we just lay off desecrating the country music genre with crap like this? Just for a little while? Is that too much to ask? The fact that the song will likely be a hit this time around hurts my heart, and helps ensure that the country radio listening experience will not start becoming less painful any time soon.
Make it stop.
Written by Brantley Gilbert, Rhett Akins, and Ben Hayslip
Listen: Kick It In the Sticks