Single Review: The Band Perry, “Live Forever”

“Live Forever”
The Band Perry

Written by Jenna Andrews, Jakke Erixson, Nadir Khayat, Karl-Ola Kjellhol, Kimberly Perry, Neil Perry, and Reid Perry

The review contrasting “Live Forever” with “If I Die Young” writes itself. Vulnerable sincerity versus bombastic arrogance. Mortality versus immortality. Acoustic country versus amped up rock. By every measurable standard, “Live Forever” is the polar opposite of “If I Die Young.”

Including quality, mind you. I consider “Live Forever” to be so vastly inferior to “If I Die Young” that I never need to hear it again.

But what’s lingering with me is the large role that aesthetics play when embracing a song that I love. “If I Die Young” was heartbreakingly beautiful, and the type of song that makes the part of my brain that is connected to logic switch off in favor of the part connected to emotion.

When that switch off doesn’t happen, my interaction with music is all about the form and the function. “Live Forever” leaves me cold, so I’m left to note how overly produced it is and how grating the vocal is and how inherently ridiculous the lyrics are.

But there are plenty of songs that I’ve liked that could probably be described the same way, but it didn’t matter because that switch was off. I connected to the vocal or the lyric or even the complicated production, and logic and form and function all became irrelevant.

I may be writing something right now that essentially invalidates the need to review music critically at all. If all that matters is if music sounds good to you, then dig it, then why write a review in the first place?

The only good answer I have for that is that there may be some of you who loved “If I Die Young,” like I did. And maybe you love “You’re Still the One” and “Little Toy Guns” and “Mean,” like I did.

I don’t love “Live Forever.” I don’t even like it. If your wiring is anything like mine, steer clear of this one. We’re not going to live forever, and there are four minutes of your life at stake that aren’t worth throwing away for this not very good record.

Grade: D

16 Comments

  1. Perfect review, Kevin. I was really into The Band Perry’s sound when they first came out, even though there was room for lyrical fine-tuning. I’ve been beyond disappointed that they’ve long since turned their back on that sound, even though they were having success with it.

  2. I can only think of a song or two of theirs I really like, but I think they have real potential. I just saw their CMT Crossroads with Fall Out Boy the other day, and as performers they are great. I don’t get why they are in country, though.

  3. The Band Perry has now joined Little Big Town and Zac Brown as artists who I used to really like but I don’t gravitate towards that much anymore. It’s also a symptom of the main issue I have with Country Music right now, which is bands and artists using this format as a springboard to rise up the charts as a pop artist, if that makes sense. These songs are no where near sounding country and it’s a shame that the format now seems to hate itself and it’s roots. I’m all for modernizing country music, but it still has to be country music in some form. This is like “Pop-Try” or something. If we’ve moved past the Bro-Country era (Probably not though), than we’re now in the “Pop-Try” era and I think that’s worse.

    I was looking fowrard to this song, but when I heard it I was disappointed. Where is the band that sounded experimental when they first came out with Hip to my Heart. Where was the band that wrote “Postcards from Paris”, which is my favorite song of theirs from either album. They’ve decided to join Zac Brown and Little Big Town and become a pop artist, and that’s really disappointing.

  4. So disappionted in this song and in The Band Perry. I’m in for changing it up every once in a while, but you can’t just completely abandon/get rid of what you have been doing. You can’t forget who you are (as cheesy as it sounds). Ughh…I’m frustrated over it this, to be honest. Seriously, what is happening in country music right now???

  5. I was hoping that after their excellent version of ” Gentle On My Mind” that The Band Perry would see that they could use their talents for good, maybe even great, things- in the same way of the Dixie Chicks. But this song is a clear indication that they haven’t a clue which direction to go. I could put my finger to the wind and get a better song than this one.

  6. I liked most of their first album. On the disappointing Pioneer cd, the only song I’ve played frequently is “Better Dig Two”. The downward spiral continues with this song – and it took 7 songwriters to come up with this mess?

  7. Besides the issue of having seven songwriters on the song, the main problem, it seems to me, is that Kimberly Perry is fine enough a vocalist in an acoustic string-band kind of setting (“If I Die Young” or “Better Dig Two”); but when it comes to the louder arena rock of this particular song, and some others, she just doesn’t hold up well.

    In truth, in my opinion, The Band Perry really doesn’t cut it in a rock setting overall, certainly not in the kind of faux arena rock style that today’s country music has sadly degenerated to.

  8. I used to think Kimberly Perry had the kind of voice that simply wouldn’t allow her to do anything other than country. Turns out it’s just the kind that won’t let her do anything well except country.

  9. This track just SCREAMS “the boss made me do it”. That is, the record label executives made The Band Perry cut a track like this, made them make it sound like this and made them release it as a single. This is nothing more than typical country radio fodder, pushed out by a label executive: loud, bombastic, in your face, messy, poorly written all wrapped up in one. Now, it’s The Band Perry’s fault and all artists fault for not standing up and fighting against dreck like this.

    Someone should tell Kimberly, Neil and Reed to go and look at their popularity since the corporate execs made all the decisions for them. Since they made them make the switch from string-band country to arena rock. It ain’t good! Their popularity is way down as albums sales and digital single sales have plummeted from “The Band Perry” album to “Pioneer”. This trend is true of all artists who’ve been forced to sell-out to the supposed “mass audience” and “greener pasture” of country radio.

    The trio should do what I’ve suggested of all mainstream acts who have either sold-out or been forced to sell out: Easton Corbin, Chris Young, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, LBT, etc. One, form a strong, united music union consisting of artists/bands, studio and concert musicians, back-up singers, and songwriters and strike until you’re allowed to release the music you really want. A union that also supports older artists who country radio has thrown into the junk bin: Alan Jackson, George Strait, Reba, etc.

    Option two, is to get out of your major label contract, convince your buddies to so too and get your songs, sound, soul and career back. Leave the major labels to those who won’t join your union, only the most soulless and spineless sellouts like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Chase Rice, FGL, etc. Sure, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a little money, but you can have a soul and a career while making it too. Judging by this record and the sales figures from The Band Perry’s latest offerings, I’d say they were making more money when they were doing their own thing, with their own sound and style. They should stand-up and insist that Nathan Chapman and Paul Worley be brought back as their producer. Stand-up and insist that they be allowed to pick the tracks for albums and single choices. Really, they should just stand-up and take their careers back because they aren’t living long like this.

  10. It works as a pop song, but it is painful to listen to on so-called “country radio”.

    I’m predicting this to have an abbreviated chart run much like Jake Owen’s “Real Life”. It is already off to a comparatively poor start compared to their preceding lead single “Better Dig Two” at both radio and digitally.

  11. Everything about this whole package is an unwelcome assault on my senses. I love Kimberly’s voice and I’m sad they’ve been reduced to this. Whatever this is.

  12. This is an “F” in my book. If you want to record and sing pop music, try and get on the pop charts. Sadly the majority of Country radio DJ’s, programmers and even listeners are not Country music fans. Thusly, they push for music that is more to their sensibilities. So the Britney Spears fan that is now older and not a fan of pop radio is pushing for songs like this. Likewise the GnR fan that is either holding onto his mullet or has been reduced to a skullet is pushing for more Jason Aldean type crap.

    The genre has basically been hijacked and is in desperate need of a split where artists who want to write and record Country songs are allowed to do so while still getting some radio airplay.

  13. I think what’s so shocking to me is that, going into their third album, The Band Perry seem to be completely oblivious to what their strengths are.

    I went to bat for “Done” not because I thought The Band Perry were able to pull off the song completely– they’d didn’t– but because, unlike so much of modern country, it had the wherewithal to be blatantly derivative of a great rock song (Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out”) instead of bland arena-rock. The production carried that song, since Kimberly truly does not have the pipes for something so forceful.

    Beyond that? They’re at their best when they take a more stripped-down, folk-based approach. I mean, “If I Die Young” is their biggest hit by several orders of magnitude, and they just won a Grammy for their lovely rendition of “Gentle On My Mind.” It shouldn’t be a shock to them or to anyone on their team what it is that they do well.

    Yet, here we are, dealing with “Live Forever.” Fortunately, it looks like the single’s poor sales and middling reception could be the clues The Band Perry desperately need to get.

  14. Someone has got to remind their team that they won a Grammy and a hit with “If I Die Young”. What’s with this bland 90’s pop rock song?

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