Single Review: Brad Paisley, “Water”

For Brooks & Dunn, it was “Beer Thirty.”

For George Strait, it was “True.”

For Toby Keith, it was “Whiskey Girl.”

For Shania Twain, it was “Party For Two.”

For every great country artist, there’s a song that screams, “I’m not even trying anymore.”

For Brad Paisley, it’s “Water.”

Written by Chris DuBois, Kelley Lovelace, and Brad Paisley

Grade: C-

Listen: Water


  1. They so easily could have released “You Do the Math” instead and accomplished all the same goals much better.

  2. Water just sounds like so many of his singles blended together. And I’m bored. He’s so talented at guitar, but I just don’t care anymore, because it usually sounds the same.

  3. I think the “Beer Thirty”/”Water” comparison definately works. The only positive with “Beer Thirty” was that it didn’t get too much airplay. I can’t seem to get away from this song when I turn on the radio. This is just a bland, forgettable single that will be forgotten ten years from now.

  4. “For every great country artist, there’s a song that screams, “I’m not even trying anymore.”

    Personally, I think Brad passed that mark awhile ago, with “Ticks.” This song leaves much to be desired. The song describes the meaning of water in the most genric and bland way possible. Sometimes I’m amazed at some of the dreck that actually gets played on the radio. But because it’s Brad Paisley he can get away with it.

  5. Now that’s short and to the point. I don’t like “Water” either. It lacks the witty humor of some of Brad’s previous releases, and it does sound like Brad is not trying anymore. Surely, there has to be a better song on “American Saturday Night” than this one, but I guess the label wanted to capitalize on country radio’s annual obsession with summer songs.

    Should I be ashamed to admit that I like “Party for Two”? I might not like it if anyone else did it, but if anyone could pull it off, it would have to be Shania.

  6. While I do agree that this song is disappointing after a solid string of singles were released from this album, I wouldn’t call it his “Whiskey Girl” or “Party For Two”. Mainly because he’s released much worse singles before it.

  7. K says: Sometimes I’m amazed at some of the dreck that actually gets played on the radio. But because it’s Brad Paisley he can get away with it.

    A lot of established or “A” list artists get away with putting out dreck, even the King – remember “River of Love”. Like some others, I would also include “Ticks” in the dreck category. One of my favorites on American Saturday Night is “Oh Yeah, You’re Gone” but I realize it’s too slow and too long for country radio, especially summer country radio.

  8. Brad Paisley certainly is not the only artist to get away with it. I agree that this song is not one of his high points though.

  9. I’ve heard no evidence to suggest that Paisley is “mailing it in” (other than that pointless duet with psuedo-country artist Keith Urban)

    This single is a solid B – he’s had better singles but this one is better than much of the dreck on country radio

  10. I agree, this song is just so average and uninteresting, it’s just a paler, less interesting version of the ‘look at me I’m a jock’ that’s marked out about half of the singles from his last couple of albums.

    And I really like Party for Two too…

  11. Brad is boring and always has been. He sings boring and plays boring. When his songs come on the radio…it takes me a while to figure out which one it is because they all pretty much sound alike. Paul Dennis…there’s a lot of people played on CR that aren’t country..not just Keith Urban. At least he’s good at what he does and I personally enjoy his music. And I agree Brad gets away with a lot and I don’t understand why. That song that you all love….Welcome to the Future drives me up the wall when I hear it and can’t wait for it to end. I like Brad as a person but I sure don’t dig him as a great artist like he’s labeled.

  12. I agree with both of Paul’s statements here, although I liked “Start a Band” a little more than he seems to.

    I’d much rather listen to Brad’s “Water” than most of what’s out there today, for sure.

  13. Gloria… I pretty much echo your entire post!
    Paisley is way past boring and predictable. Yet he’s the sweetheart of Music Row (for the moment) and gets away with any and all garbage. “Welcome to the Future” was DEFINITELY the shark jumper incase anyone missed his previous attempts.
    I just don’t get the guy. Boring, predictable, same ol’ same ol’… not to mention he obviously believes his own press.
    Hopefully his 15 mins are winding down soon!

  14. Soul Miners Daughter, how can you say that Brad is enjoying his 15 mins. He had his first #1 single in 1999. The guy has staying power and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. While I’m not a fan of everything he does, I can say he has a lot more talent than half the people on country radio today. Brad writes most of his songs and plays his own guitar. He even has guest appearances on other artist songs as a guitar player. I am curious to know who your favorite artist is at the moment.

  15. Brad Paisley is INCREDIBLY talented, one of the best on the scene today, by far. He certainly does have staying power!

  16. Undo It is way better than this “Water” junk. Undo It is catchy and its not cornpone. “Water” is not catchy and it is lame humor. I liked Paisley until around 2005 but his routine is just boring and old and tired now. His music is stale.

  17. schmegma: “I liked Paisley until around 2005 but his routine is just boring and old and tired now. His music is stale.”

    Me: I actually thought his routine was pretty stale all along. “Whiskey Lullaby” is the only exception to my two rules of Brad Paisley songs:

    1. Either his songs suck upon release.
    2. Or his songs suck with the passing of time.

  18. I remember hearing this on the album. I never thought it was going to be released as a single. Everybody’s Here is a great song. Why wasn’t that released?

  19. Brad Paisley has done for country guitar what Chuck Berry did for Rock and Roll guitar. He brought a new ground breaking sound in that everyone guitarist wants to ape. He is an original and amazing talent and anyone that can’t see and respect that has no clue about music.

  20. Does hearing this song make you have to go to the bathroom?

    YES! I was just listening to it for the first time (I’m still dipping my toes into the waters of country music, this seemed like a good fit :P) and was like… “Okay. Pause. Bathroom time.”

    I like it better than most people here. Maybe I’m just a lot more simple than most people, but the Daytona Beach line had me snickering.

    As someone who generally gravitates toward female country vocalists, Brad’s the odd one out, since his voice actually does it for me. That’s usually the biggest hurdle singers have to cross for me. If I like your voice, I generally care little for what you sing as long as you sing it well.

  21. Brad Paisley is a songwriter who has forced a carrier as an artist. He got lucky that he has pulled it off for as long as he has based on his lack of talent and thanks to the convenience of the obvious lack of REAL talent in modern country music.
    Brad has very limited vocal range…. and this really hurts his songs melodically.

    His limited ability as a singer is the biggest reason all of his songs sound the same.

    The other is his limited ability as a guitar player (I’m a lead guitar player of 15+ years…so I’m not ignorant about guitar playing).
    He has been labeled “great” because they are trying to sell him as a “superstar”.

    I see guys all the time who way better singers and way better guitar players that sing and play music for the music and not to be noticed and win awards.

    I could be wrong because I don’t know Brad personally, but my impression is that Brad wouldn’t be singing and playing if he wasn’t getting attention.

    Real musicians play for themselves …because they HAVE TO
    Real musicians are miserable when their not playing….

    Attention freaks dont play when no one is watching…(whats the point?.. right)

    anyway, as a musician myself …that’s my take on Paisley

    he’s a poser and a “wanna be” …. and mainly what he wants is attention, fame and to live the life of a successful celebrity.

    problem is none that will satisfy you in the end… if your “lucky” enough to achieve it …it just becomes another “thing” that you’ve done.

    Brad Paisley will be forgotten as soon as someone truly gifted comes along and reminds us all what being a musician is supposed to be about

  22. Keith Urban in my opinion is a little more authentic as a musician…(although not as a country musician).

    Keith is an example of a 80’s rock musician who was too late to get in on the music scene in the 80’s and resorted to country music as a backup plan…

    Keith has NO BUSINESS calling himself a country artist… he is a rock musician all the way.

    Keith has had success as a “country artist” because all the rock producers and band members of 80’s rock bands, all moved to Nashville in the 90’s and early 2000’s to cash in on country music (during the Garth Brooks error).
    Keith Urban is those guy’s country version of Bon Jovi.

    It’s as simple as that… (except that Bon Jovi’s music in the 80’s was way better music than Keith Urban’s music has or ever will be).

    Keith used to be allot more vein in his approach. When he first came out… he was an outright showoff prick with his guitar playing… but quickly got put in his place by guys like Brent Mason, Tommy Emanuel, Red Volkart and the like.
    Keith soon dropped the (super singer/guitar player) bit… and had more success because of it.
    NOTE: this is a lesson Mr. Paisley has not learned yet

    Keith was also on drugs pretty bad, but cleaned himself up (as far as we know) and probably hit rock bottom or something because..

    later in his career, his approach to his music changed… he wasn’t the arrogant, show off, prick that he was earlier in his career.

    He obviously experienced something that changed his heart…which changed his priorities, which changed the focus of his music off of HIM and instead onto his music…. and as a result…his music got better

    Brad Paisley… seems to have never grown as a human being and thus has never grown as a musician. Thats why his music is HOLLOW. Because he’s shallow.

    Brad Paisley is kinda like “Dubble Bubble” bubble gum… it’s got a colorful wrapper, it looks good, but the flavor doesn’t last for more a than a few minutes and you always end up spitting it out

    His music all sounds the same because he is the same.
    My guess is… it’s never been about the message or the music for Brad… it’s about the money, attention and the power.

    I guess he his kinda like a country version of John Mayer who suffers from the same disease.

  23. I can understand why one might dislike Brad because of his limited vocal range, but I don’t really consider that a basis for saying that he only plays music for the attention he gets.

    Also, I would think an extensive description of Keith Urban be more suitable for a Keith Urban review. (First “Taylor vs. Carrie,” now “Brad vs. Keith”)

  24. Ben,
    That seems to happen everytime we post a Paisley article. I actually don’t think that Brad’s range is a whole lot different than Alan Jackson’s. Sometimes, they even sound similar to me, though Jackson certainly has the better voice.

  25. At least Paisley places an emotionally-invested authenticity in artistry.

    I admit that I am somewhat disheartened by the overall direction his music has been taking as of late, in that I believe he has been at his best when he traversed all kinds of country sub-genres on earlier records (especially on “Part II” and “Mud on the Tires” with songs like “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”, “Two Feet of Topsoil” and “The Best Thing That I Had Goin'”)

    Quite a few of his latest cuts don’t come close to that level of ambitiousness, but all the same I enjoyed “American Saturday Night” in that it felt like a complete album, a strong collection of songs with an authentic personal touch behind the majority of the tracks. He could have done without “Water” and perhaps “The Pants”, but then again he probably could have done without “Famous People” on “Mud on the Tires” also.

    Vocally, Paisley doesn’t have an immense range, but I don’t fault him for that, as he knows how to make about the most with his voice and his alone as he can muster. He has a conversational kind of voice, he knows how to regularly hit that soft spot in each of us whether it be the funny bone or the butterflies in your stomach, and few in mainstream country music can size up to the consistency of his conversational quality, which is truly a kind of artistry in itself.

    I’ll conclude by saying the kind of thing that WOULD bother me about Paisley is if he trended even further towards singles that pander to the core of the radio genre. Unfortunately, his latest single “This Is Country Music” is an example of this that confirms my fears, and I’m praying it’s only a hiccup and not total submission.

  26. I for one won’t go in for character attacks on anyone here. It’s enough to say, however, that, in my honest opinion, Brad really isn’t too terribly different from pretty much every other hot male country star out there. It’s all become too generic.

  27. ^ It’s just the last thing I expected from Paisley. He’s sharp, witty and intelligent, and “This is Country Music” is anything but.

  28. To me, it’s just a combination of every tired old cliche and pandering formula that I’ve come to despise. I like Brad’s music in general, but there have been a few glaring misfires in recent years.

  29. @Stephanie

    […] What’s with all the hate for “This is Country Music?” I really like it! […]

    I’m with you on this one – taste in music is very subjective and I can’t stand heavy rock, for example.

    Simple answer…. don;t listen to what you don’t like!

  30. Yes, Brad has written and performed some really great songs in the past. But as with a lot of artists that reach fame and fortune and have a following, they know they can sell albums no matter the quality.

  31. I really like most of Brad’s songs but I have to admit I agree with on “Water”. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a 3.

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