Single Review: Jerrod Niemann, “Lover, Lover”

Country music legend tells of a certain powerful, polarizing breed of radio single, said to have been spun together out of magical cane sugar by Aphrodite herself (or her Southern Baptist counterpart, April-Jean the Angel. Depends who you ask.) The single appears only sporadically, sometimes waiting years to reemerge – but when it comes, it walks loudly and carries a big, hooked stick.

It’s been known to travel under many names: “Ooo, Turn It Up!”; “I’m Getting Kind Of Sick Of This Song”; “Damn It, AGAIN?”. All worthy monikers, to be sure. But for the purposes of this review, we’ll keep things straightforward and call it the “Shameless Pop Ditty.”

Now, wait one second there. We mustn’t confuse this special specimen with your standard country-pop numbers – those songs which, while heavily poppy in sound, still try to convey some kind of actual point. The Shameless Pop Ditty doesn’t care about points, you see. It cares only about making you sing.

“Sunflower.” “Islands in the Stream.” “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” What the hell do they mean? We can never offer fuller explanations than the song titles themselves, for each Shameless Pop Ditty comes embedded with a special charm that renders its message inarticulable. You can try to eek out, “it’s about Shania pursuing this guy she -,” but you won’t be able to finish. The explanation will sound too dumb, too redundant. You’ll feel silly for even trying, and will simply slip back into singing along.

Of course, now and then the Shameless Pop Ditty goes through a self-conscious phase, flirts with substance a bit. A few times it’s almost succeeded in making itself kind of mean something, with “I Love a Rainy Night” and “This Kiss” being two of the most famous results.

But in its heart of hearts, the Shameless Pop Ditty is content to be what it’s always been: totally infectious nonsense. And that’s why we love it. (Then hate it. Then maybe go back to loving it years later when we’ve had some much-needed time away from it.)

And with this country music mythology lesson under our belts, we can at last shift our sights to the present day, where we easily identify that Jerrod Niemann’s “Lover, Lover” is, in fact, a Shameless Pop Ditty of the purest pedigree.

Not so sure? Consider its bona fides. It was written and previously released as a (slightly superior) pop single by Sonia Dada, never even intended for country audiences. Its chorus features a mere nine unique words, rendered in chant-a-long style with thick, stacked harmonies. It has basically one verse which it just repeats twice to bide time between those chanted choruses. It features hand claps and a constantly-repeated acoustic guitar hook.

Story? Clever lines? Not here, friend. “Lover, Lover” is a sugar song pixie, delivered from the clouds to bring nonsensical joy to all unafraid to sing in their cars. And it has positioned itself as one of the key country singles of Summer 2010.

These are the facts. You can love it or hate it (or maybe love it and then hate it and then love it again like we discussed), but you can’t rewrite destiny. The Shameless Pop Ditty will triumph again. You will know all twenty or so words to “Lover, Lover” before August is out. James Otto will sit around kicking himself for recording a song generically titled “Groovy Little Summer Song” when he could have recorded this, the Grooviest Little Summer Song in years. Aphrodite/Angel April-Jean hath written it in the stars; your best chance of surviving is to give in, mortal, and sing along.

Written by Dan Pritzker

Grade: A-

Listen: Lover, Lover



  1. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this song at first, but now it’s unbearably annoying. Probably because the local station seems to alternate between it and “Rain is a Good Thing” on an endless loop.

  2. “Lover, Lover” is one piece of ear candy that I have not yet acquired a taste for. I can’t stand it. But maybe I’ll “give in” and warm up to it eventually.

    I think this is probably one of your best reviews – it was a very interesting and accurate description of the Shameless Pop Ditty. Man, NOBODY could deliver an SPD like Shania! (But let’s be fair, she also recorded some songs that DID have a point) I think Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” and Kellie Pickler’s “Makin’ Me Fall In Love Again” are two current hits that would fit the SPD category. Sugarland’s “All I Want to Do” also comes to mind. I used to hate “Undo It,” but I have lately found myself giving in to it.

  3. The best single review I’ve read on here in awhile! I loved it! Great job Dan! Like J.R., I too was hanging on every word of the review.

    As far as the song goes, it’s my favorite single of the summer by far! It’s incredibly catchy and infectious and is nearly impossible to not have stuck in your head after hearing it.

  4. Like Andrew, one of my local country stations alternate between this and “Rain Is A Good Thing.” This song has gotten on my nerves so much, I do not have any love for it. I like listening to “Rain” on my radio over this; but you would never find both on my iTunes or iPod, I’ll be too busy listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter.

  5. One of the things that I like about this song, that I learned on XM/Sirius is that he did all nine parts of the song himself and according to him, once he was done cutting the song he had no voice left – yes the song is annoying/infectious – but at least it is a good annoying/infectious.

  6. Two chords and a refrain repeated ad nauseum. It comes on the radio and it has to be endured, not enjoyed. Utter bollocks.

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