Single Review: Kenny Chesney featuring P!nk, “Setting the World On Fire”

“Setting the World On Fire”
Kenny Chesney featuring P!nk

Written by Ross Copperman, Matt Jenkins and Josh Osborne

Odd how a song about “Setting the World On Fire” is completely lacking in spark.

Chesney is visiting a theme he’s done well in the past: nostalgia for the partying and romancing of days gone by, best exemplified by “Anything But Mine” but done well in several other hit singles, too.

And he’s got P!nk helping him out, and she’s one of the best pop vocalists of the past twenty years. Her vocal is great, but the contrast with Chesney’s processed one makes it sound like she’s all warmth and he’s all distance. That undercuts the premise of the duet, which is supposed to make us believe they’re both yearning for that time they shared together long ago.

If P!nk is going to start recording country music, I’m all for it. There’s nothing particularly country about this record, of course. If I didn’t know Chesney’s voice so well, I’d think she was doing a favor for some struggling musician friend of hers trying to crack the Adult Top 40 Market. But I’d love to hear P!nk’s take as both a singer and songwriter on the genre. It would be great.

I don’t want to hear this again, though. What a disappointing collaboration between two artists who when brought together, are somehow less than the sum of their own parts.

Grade: C

 

11 Comments

  1. C seems fair – but I admit to never being a Chesney fan. I’d much rather listen to the Ink Spots sing “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” (Sol Marcus – Eddie Durham – Eddie Seiler – Bennie Benjamin). I heard Suzy Bogguss sing this song at the Bottom Line, a NYC venue that went out of business in 2004. She should do an album of pop standards from the 30’s and 40’s.

  2. I actually really like this song. Not exactly country but from a pure music perspective I like it. Kenny and Pink harmonize really well and P!nk is such a huge prescence behind the mic. I don’t know it really clicks for me.

    Grade B+ to A-

  3. Chesney delayed his album for *this*? I mean, let’s face it, who really looks forward to a Chesney album at this point, but, really? For *this* he delayed his album?

  4. I am actually a Kenny Chesney fan and I am glad he delayed his album for this song as I find this to be his best single since “El Cerrito Place”

    (runs away and hides)

  5. Ooph! This song is pretty terrible. P!nk sounds good, but Chesney’s voice is definitely processed and the pop hook is pretty bland/predictable, not to mention that the opening drum machine takes me immediately out of the song.

  6. I am glad Raymond mentioned El Cerrito Place as it is my favorite Chesney song as well. In fact I think it is the only one I own. I haven’t formed a opinion on this Pink collaboration yet but as always this review provides food for thought. Both Martina McBride and Sara Evans have successfully performed Pink covers, the one by Sara Evans can be downloaded. Both perform the covers wonderfully. By only acquaintance with Pink is through them. As such, I grant Pink’s talent.

  7. Save for “I’d Have Done A Lot Of Things Different”, Kenny Chesney has never done much for me, since much of his other stuff is faux-Buffett (Jimmy, not Warren [LOL]). This one is not really much of a big deal either, but it’s a fair piece better than a lot of what he has done. Some of that is due to the presence of Pink, who probably could work in a C&W format (she did do a kind of folky album two years ago), though she’d probably be better off to take something other than the Sheryl Crow route if she does it.

    P.S.: For those who don’t know, the “La Cienega” that is referred to at the opening of the song is La Cienega Boulevard, a well-traveled street that runs the length of the west side of Los Angeles, from West Hollywood down to close to L.A. International Airport.

  8. I would be on board for a country or country-leaning album by Pink, though I’m much more eager for Kelly Clarkson finally to commit to the genre.

    As for Chesney… This song doesn’t do anything for me, but I’ve honestly never been a fan of his. “Anything But Mine” and “You and Tequila” are the only two singles I have by him in my music collection– they’re the only times his boozy, slightly-slurred, definitely-off-pitch singing has been in-service of a well-written song. I respected that he covered “El Cerrito Place,” which is a great song, but I didn’t like his execution of it (see also: Zac Brown Band, “Dress Blues”).

  9. Jonathan: Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe You and Tequila was written by Matraca Berg. She is one of Nashville’s treasures in my book. A great songwriter, but I have also enjoyed her recordings. I watched her appear on stage with Kenny Chesney for a performance of You and Tequila. She deserves far more attention than she receives.

  10. Jonathan – I think you’re spot-on. I too would love to finally see Kelly Clarkson do a full-fledged country album. As for Pink, she has her own set of impressive pipes and isn’t dissimilar to Clarkson in vocal styling, so I’d be happy to welcome her into the genre too. Sadly I doubt either is ready to make the jump, even temporarily, at present.

    Brian – I agree with you Matraca Berg is a great vocalist (the song you refer to was actually penned by Berg and Deana Carter – a staple 90s’ songwriting duo.

    Sadly though I don’t rate Berg’s vocal as highly as you….I think she’s pitchy and slightly tedious on record. Her songwriting credentials are not in question though.

    Chris

Comments are closed.