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.