Review: Trace Adkins, “Marry for Money”

trace-adkinsWhat can you say about a mediocre novelty song?   It’s not so bad that Adkins embarrasses himself like he did with “Swing”, but it lacks the self-deprecating charm of  “I Got My Game On” and the bawdy audacity of “Honky Tonk Badonkdonk.”

And that’s the danger with making novelty songs your trademark.   Do too many of them, and people will forget that you’re actually a great ballad singer, and remember you only for the times you hammed it up.    It’s especially dangerous when the novelty songs themselves aren’t memorable in the first place.

Adkins is a great singer, but he’s becoming this decade’s Joe Diffie.

Written by Jimmy Melton and Dave Turnbull

Grade:  C

Listen: Marry For Money


  1. It’s ridiculous that he’s releasing this instead of “I Can’t Outrun You.” I see the Diffie comparison, now that you mention it.

  2. I’m sad about “I Can’t Outrun You” too. This track actually made for some fairly enjoyable album filler, but I can’t imagine wanting to listen to this on the radio. Nice production, though.

  3. Wow I can’t believe I didn’t make that connection before either, good call! was Joe Diffie on Capitol as well? hmm…

    This track isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. ‘X’ or ‘Ten’ is my favorite Trace album so far with only two tracks that didn’t really do anything for me and this is one of them (along with “Sweet”). I’m hoping this single does good though as I would love to see them release “All I Ask For Anymore”, “I Can’t Outrun You”, or “Sometimes A Man Takes A Drink”.

  4. This one will be a big hit just like Diffie’s “Third Rock From the Sun” “Pickup Man” and “Bigger Than The Beatles” etc… It’s a shame that those are songs radio probably remembers him for and not great stuff like “Home.” I have a feeling you’re right about Trace. Such a shame. I guess we can’t have it all (Capitol is releasing “I Run To You” instead of a dittie for Lady A so they do see the value of good material).

  5. What can you say about a blogger who can’t differentiate good novelty songs from bad? Yes, this is a novelty song, and no, it’s not the best cut on X. But it’s miles above what passes for a novelty song on country radio these days, for no other reason than the fact that it’s actually funny, frivolous and silly, unlike other recent novelty songs released by Adkins, Paisley and several others that merely have illusions of being funny, frivolous and silly. To the extent that this song actually accomplishes what it sets out to do, I’d say that it’s a good deal more genuine and yes, better, than most of what’s on radio right now.

  6. Trace is better than this, he has found his voice with some excellent ballads, and now I hope he KEEPS his voice, and lives up to his Opry calling!

    IAlso, I do think that Brad Paisley flirts with frivolity and often walks a fine line all too often, but he always seems to pull out of the nosedive with genuine talent before he crashes into sheer silliness..I do think Brad’s novelty songs are usually genuinely clever, and often amusing.

    I could do without “Celebrity” and “Alcohol” though…the latter being a staggering headache of a song!

  7. come on Matt C, you’re going to raise a fuss about how you disagree with Kevin’s comparative valuation of Trace Adkins novelty songs?

    Dude, it’s a Trace Adkins novelty song, short of lavishing it with praise, one’s blog cred isn’t on the line no matter what one says about it. It’s stupid, it sounds bad, it may or may not be somewhat entertaining,.

    The last point is where you and Kevin disagree, but it’s not really a substantive issue in the first place.

    so yeah, can’t we all just get along?

  8. Ben, I don’t think that Kevin’s credibility is on the line, but I also don’t think that a country music critic should tar every novelty song with the same brush. The genre has historically featured a lot of novelty songs and there are artists in the CMHOF who recorded predominately novelty songs. The fact that many contemporary artists and songwriters think they’re a lot more clever than they are shouldn’t impeach the very concept of a novelty song. Thus, these days, it is more important than ever to distinguish good novelty songs from bad novelty songs, and I think that Kevin fails at that task here. That’s all that my objection is about.

  9. Trace… Trace… Trace…..
    Just when he gets on my nerves, he releases something memorable. Then I get on board and he jumps back to a goofy novelty song where I wouldn’t claim him.
    This guy has so much talent and is capable of much more than he is finding BUT he won’t get off that fence. It would be interesting to see what he would/could do if he called his own shots more, ala a Toby Keith.

  10. I’m with Matt C. on this. I think “Marry for Money” is the rare (these day) novelty song that actually hits its target – it’s nothing more and nothing less than solid, frivolous entertainment. I actually find it funny, whereas “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “I Got My Game On” just seemed stupid and obnoxious to me.

  11. This isn’t a putdown of country music or any of its fans, but it’s half-a**ed novelty songs like this one that tend to give country music a red neck and a black eye among people who wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to it in the past, and, if they have their way, won’t be caught dead (or alive for that matter) listening to it in the future.

  12. I think part of what makes this a disappointing single for me isn’t anything about the record itself, including the song – it’s the context of the release. Like I said, I actually like the song and think it works well within the album, but as a radio release, it comes on the heels of a bunch of other Trace Adkins novelty songs, and while it may be better than the lot of them (though frankly, I think “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” is really cleverly written for what it is), it’s not brilliant or distinct enough to really stand out from the pack of his releases. I doubt anyone will remember it in a few years, even if it goes to #1.

  13. I actually listened to this again, since people have been saying that it’s pretty good, but I still can’t get into it. Not even the melody is appealing. At least with “Honky Tonk…”, the melody and production are catchy. And I have nothing against a good novelty song. This just doesn’t sound like one of them to me.

  14. Kevin – why this deep-seated hatred for “Novelty” records?

    Regardless of whether or not this IS a “Novelty Record”, this is one of the better-written songs on the scene at this time. Great job by the songwriters.

    This is as opposed to a lot of the bland, predictable or poorly-written junk that litters the airwaves of “Top 40” radio these days — many of them actually huge hits.

    Trace Adkins may have gone with the “Novelty” a little too much … but this song is not so much novelty as just a fun song written with alot of wit and charm.

    And, by the way … Joe Diffie was / is one of the best pure singers in Nashville. Great vocal talent and known as such on 16th Avenue. Tossing him off as some clownish act because he cut a few “novelty” records is extremely arrogant and mean-spirited.

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