Single Review: David Nail, “Whatever She’s Got”

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January 15, 2014

David Nail Whatever She's GotIs “Whatever She’s Got” really just David Nail doing whatever he’s got to do to stay in the game?

Nail is one of the most distinctive and substantive new voices to emerge in recent years, especially among the crop of younger male artists.  He’s had more false starts than most, going through two labels in eleven years and having moderate to major hits, but not building up enough momentum to string a few together.

“Whatever She’s Got” is certainly his biggest hit to date, as it’s his first to reach gold status.   It’s so beneath his talent, though.  As generic as they come, it’s hard to believe it’s being sung by the voice behind “The Sound of a Million Dreams.”

But it’s working for him, I guess, and his upcoming album has a Brandy Clark co-write and a duet with Lee Ann Womack.   Here’s hoping that “Whatever She’s Got” gets him a good enough foot in the door that he can actually walk through it this time, and sneak some material worthy of this talent in with him.

Written by Jon Nite and Jimmy Robbins

Grade: C

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  1. bobNo Gravatar says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this review. I’m a big fan of Nail and have both his albums. How can Sound of a Million Dreams barely crack the top 40 and this mediocrity be such a big hit. I’ll never understand it.

  2. SunsetParkNo Gravatar says:

    Agreed. Can’t stand this song, but I am at least glad its doing well for the sake of David Nail and his prospects to keep a label and keep making music. Happy to hear that the upcoming album has a Brandy Clark co-write and duet with Lee Ann Womack.

  3. cajNo Gravatar says:

    I like the song very much but agree that country radio airplay is a huge head-scratcher these days. My favorite Nail song remains “I’m About To Come Alive”. I’m always happy for any success for this man with the most amazing voice.

  4. Noah EatonNo Gravatar says:

    Actually, both “Red Light” and “Let It Rain” garnered Gold certifications too! ;)

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    I don’t think “Whatever She’s Got” is a bad song, per se, but it has many of the trappings of a B-list singer-songwriter who is adamant about retaining commercial relevance after a previous pattern of hit-and-misses.

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    Firstly, Nail is above the lyrics he has been provided. “The muddy river bank shes the first in and last out”? “Shes got the blue jeans painted on tight, that everybody wants on a Saturday night?” Is this really coming from the mouth of the same fine vocalist who brought us “The Sound of a Million Dreams” as its predecessor? =/

    (On a side note, what’s with this “painted on” jeans slang? What, is she actually not wearing any pants at all and they were body painted on?) =/

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    Secondly, while Nail’s vocals are obviously in as fine a form as ever, the use of Auto-Tune (and echoing effects) here is tragic. You do NOT need either of these, Nail! You know how to NAIL your performances!

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    Finally, it comes to no surprise to me given this is Frank Liddell we’re talking about here after all……….but this is overproduced. From the overly loud and compressed mix to the obvious hot-and-cold dynamic that polarizes the vaguely hip-hop beat driving the verses to the jangly pop-rock bombast in the chorus, the song would have carried more effectively if the acoustic guitar, banjo and live drums had driven the verses and the chorus was punctuated by electric guitar.

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    At the very least it has a generous amount of token banjo so that I can actually discern it as a country-pop song on “country” radio………in a week where we’ve been serviced “Lookin’ For That Girl” and “This Is How We Roll”! =/

    And……….I’ll say this. This is an effective earworm that probably achieves all it set out to do in proving Nail can deliver more than depressing songs on the radio. The chorus admittedly has gotten lodged in my head, so on a technical songwriting level, “Whatever She’s Got” is quite strong.

    The lyrics, overproduction and unnecessary use of vocal effects, however, keep this from attaining “something more”. I’m giving this a C+.

  5. BrennanNo Gravatar says:

    David Nail is one of my favourites, in the batch of “New Artists”.

    His vocal are instantly recognizable. His material is always top notch. That is, until now.

    “Whatever She’s Got” is a step down from his previous work. It doesn’t hold up well against “I’m About to Come Alive”, “The Sound of a Million Dreams” nor “Let It Rain”.

    Despite the criticism above, I’m happy he’s released this as his lead single. He needs a hit. He needs enough momentum so that he can continue to release stellar material. We need him to stick around.

    Honestly, “Whatever She’s Got” is damn catchy. If I had to choose between this and almost anything else on radio, there would be a clear winner.

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