“Real Life” Jake Owen Written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne Everclear is one of the few pop bands that I liked in the late 90s/early 2000s. While a lot of their music sounded similar, their grooves were addictive and their tunes were memorable (“A.M. Radio”, Anyone?). As a result of enjoying Everclear, I’ll admit that I actually guiltily enjoy Jake Owen’s “Real Life.”
“21” Hunter Hayes Written by Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley, Hunter Hayes, and Kelly Lovelace Back in the days of cassettes, a faulty player would run the tape through a little too fast. It made the beat quicker and the singer’s voice a bit higher. “21” sounds like Keith Urban album filler played on one of those faulty cassette players. He’s an Urban LP at 45 speed.
“Kick the Dust Up” Luke Bryan Written by Dallas Davidson, Chris DeStefano, and Ashley Gorley I actually kinda like Luke Bryan. But I still hated this song before the first twenty seconds were up. He sounds like he’s deliberately dimming his own talents, trying to get down to the Jason Aldean level when he’s got the chops to strive for Conway Twitty.
“That Don’t Sound Like You” Lee Brice Written by Rhett Akins, Lee Brice, and Ashley Gorley I really like Lee Brice. He’s got an interesting voice, and his phrasing is always original. It’s like he sneaks up behind his notes and surprises them. “That Don’t Sound Like You” succeeds purely on Brice’s merits as a vocal stylist. The song itself is iffy.
“Games” Luke Bryan Written by Luke Bryan and Ashley Gorley Luke Bryan’s latest (and apparently final) Spring Break compilation is being promoted with the new single, “Games.” Thematically, it doesn’t connect much to the Spring Break concept, unless you just assume the events in question are taking place at some beach-adjacent house party.