Single Review: Brad Paisley, “Heaven South”

“Heaven South”
Brad Paisley

Written by Brent Anderson, Chris DuBois, and Brad Paisley

This is the third pre-release single from Brad Paisley’s eleventh studio album, Love and War. This album has taken so long to come out that the first single, “Without a Fight,” didn’t even make the final cut of the album.  I can only assume that the label keeps looking for a solid hit to anchor the set.

“Heaven South” is derivative of pretty much every “Hey, isn’t the south great?” song that’s ever been a hit, but it flows along nicely and starts off with fresh country instrumentation.  For whatever reason, that instrumentation wasn’t seen as enough, so we get arena rock chants and unnecessary percussion halfway through, which kills the mood and undermines the song’s celebration of simple, small town southern life.  If the song would have stuck to the simplicity of the arrangement, it would’ve gotten away with the simplicity of the lyrics.

Paisley is remarkably talented, but he is struggling these days to find something new to say, or at even a fresh way of saying the same old thing again.

Grade: B-

6 Comments

  1. The melody is sure nice, but you said it all with “if the song would have stuck to the simplicity of the arrangement, it would’ve gotten away with the simplicity of the lyrics.”

    I also am starting to take more offense at the whole “turn off the news and just look around, the world isn’t all that bad” mentality. It’s becoming more important than ever to be an informed citizen of the world, and willful ignorance is not something I can put up with anymore.

    Personally, I’d give this a tentative C+

  2. SRM – I love this: I also am starting to take more offense at the whole “turn off the news and just look around, the world isn’t all that bad” mentality. It’s becoming more important than ever to be an informed citizen of the world, and willful ignorance is not something I can put up with anymore.

    Yes. And more so, isn’t it the prime example of ‘white privilege’ for someone to be able to turn off the news and think things aren’t that bad?

  3. I am a son of the South, make no mistake about it. Born in North Mississippi, raised in East Texas, and I am quite familiar with what Paisley talks about in this song…

    …and even I think it’s the most overrated thing ever. I LIKE living in the city and everything it offers, and I make no apologies for that. Living in a place where there’s little more to do than hunt, fish, and watch UFC kinda sucks, especially when one has no interest in that last thing. (And don’t even get me started on that high school football business — because you know that’s another integral part of all this — especially right as the news here in San Antonio is being dominated by the arrests of several football players from a local high school on charges of sexual assault under the guise of “hazing.”)

    I guess I say all of that to say this: At this point I really don’t think there’s a new, original way of expressing the sentiments Paisley has expressed here. Songs about the rural South have just been done to death. I think the last good song that fits anywhere in this vein would be Alan Jackson’s “Small Town Southern Man,” but that was just as much a tribute to AJ’s dad as it was his way of life, and as far as I can tell we don’t really have any singer-songwriters in mainstream country on his level anymore, so stuff like this is what we’re going to keep getting. More’s the pity.

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