Single Review: Lee Brice, “Parking Lot Party”

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August 5, 2013

Parking_Lot_Party_Lee_BriceIt’s fun to imagine the songwriting meeting that produced this.  It sounds like somebody just said, “So let’s write a song about a parking lot party before a concert”… so they did.

In theory, a song attempting to encapsulate that pre-show warm-up experience is not a bad idea.  The problem is that “Parking Lot Party” is all volume and no content – all packaging and no product.  There seems to be little idea behind the song other than the fact that parking lot parties are a thing, and repeating the phrase “parking lot party” over and over again.

Part of the problem is simply that the song tries too hard to make you like it, shamelessly laying on every gimmick under the sun, including an spoken intro by Nashville DJs Big D and Bubba, crowd sound effects, and a canned singalong chorus at the end.  There’s hardly a hook or clever line to validate the song’s existence, and the record as a whole is made so cheesy that it’s hard to listen to.

The song reminds me in some ways of Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” in that both songs portray scenes of summery recreation in a mostly literal and one-dimensional manner.  The difference is that “Pontoon” is catchy – this isn’t.

There’s nothing wrong with ear candy, but you’ve got to remember to add the flavor.

Written by Lee Brice, Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett, and Luke Laird

Grade:  D

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  1. Motown MikeNo Gravatar says:

    How many times can you write the same song?

  2. EthanNo Gravatar says:

    That last line of the review, Ben? I want it printed and framed on my wall.

  3. KelvinNo Gravatar says:

    Another review where Ben writes about a song having no hook when it clearly does.

    It’s embarrassing that someone who reviews songs has no clue what he is talking about.

  4. Kevin DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Kelvin: it’s a mundane, predicable hook — Ben is right.

    I blame the father/son Rhett team. They have written some of the most horrendous “party country” songs of the past few years (Oh…like “1994,” which Jason Aldean should be embarrassed to sing).

    I could definitely be wrong, but I don’t see this song going anywhere. But, hey, he references “Marshall Tucker” instead of the standard “Bocephus” reference — you gotta give ‘em credit for that. (Okay, not really. This song has every predictable reference imaginable, even “pass that Shiner around”…depressing.)

  5. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I’m sure we can agree to disagree, Kelvin.

  6. VickiNo Gravatar says:

    Another good country boy having to change to get the ratings that the Billboard changes caused. It’s a alright song but I think it does have a hook. BTW, I about threw up when I heard the new one from Ronny Dunn! “Kiss you there” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8UcLvtbnMc

  7. AndrewNo Gravatar says:

    At this point I just assume any song with “Party” in the title is going to be terrible. So far I haven’t been proven wrong.

  8. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    Tested your theory by plugging “party” into my iTunes library, Andrew.

    I found a counterpoint:

  9. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    What if the word “farewell” comes before it? :)

  10. bobNo Gravatar says:

    I really like Kevin & Ben’s “Party” songs, including the Joe Nichols cover on Gene Watson’s.

    The Brice party song – agree wuth Ben’s D.

  11. Markus MeyerNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with the criticism of the gimmicks. Those are annoying.

    That said, I don’t mind this. Pretty good performance from Brice.

    The production is loud, but not in a “let’s see how much sound we can fit into one song” way a la “Kick It In The Sticks”.

  12. NashvilleHeartbreakNo Gravatar says:

    Honestly I like really like it! For those of you who agree with me, I think you’ll also really like “Friday Night” by Eric Paslay! At least give it a try:)
    http://www.vevo.com/watch/eric-paslay/friday-night/USUV71300475?source=instantsearch

  13. KelvinNo Gravatar says:

    “mundane predictable hook” was not the comment though. It was “hardly a hook” which is just wrong.

    And the worst part is, that line pops up in a ton of the reviews written by Ben. It’s as if he knows one criticism for songs he doesn’t like and just shoehorns that line into all his reviews.

  14. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes that’s just what’s wrong with a song. A good hook can save an otherwise weak song and further ellivate a strong song. Most critics have something that tends to be “pet” dealbreakers for them. Maybe for Ben, it’s a memorable hook and for me, it’s production. Ben should be flattered that you’ve studied his reviews so closely though.:)

  15. Markus MeyerNo Gravatar says:

    Very good point Leeann.

    For me the dealbreaker is a convincing performance.

    There are many current hits that I like a fair bit more due to the artist sounding engaged (“Runnin’ Outta Moonlight”, “Round Here”, “Carolina”) and others where the artist doesn’t sound so into it, therefore diminishing the overall result (“If You Want Some”, “Tie It Up”).

    That topic might be worthy of an article :)

  16. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I think great hooks are important in general, and they may be more important to me than to some other reviewers. Also, the lack of a strong hook is a deficiency that I see in many songs these days, so I think it’s natural that that particular criticism would appear in my reviews fairly frequently (though I’m not the only writer around here who critiques hooks – see Kevin’s recent Kacey Musgraves review for one example).

    In this particular case, however, my comment on the song’s hook was a brief passing remark, not the center of my argument. The main thrust of the review was simply that this is a weak, flavorless song overall.

  17. CraigR.No Gravatar says:

    How many song will Rhett Akins and his offspring write before they destroy country music forever?

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