Though the genre has boasted some great album artists over the years, country music remains the most singles-driven format. Albums are often just singles with a bunch of filler. But what to do when the singles are the filler?
Blake Shelton has previewed his first full album in three years with two singles. The first, “Honey Bee”, has been a major hit, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s breezy, catchy and altogether charming. Shelton’s a solid singer, requiring no studio tricks to make him sound good, so nothing gets in the way of the singer and the song.
Is it a great song? Nope. But it’s pleasant and not offensive and it won’t make you change the radio dial. A couple of lyrical twists make it sound clever in comparison to the rest of the dreck on the radio dial, so it even comes off like a career record when it’s really just pretty good filler.
But pretty good filler is a stronger claim than can be made for “God Gave Me You.” Apparently learning none of the right lessons from “Honey Bee”, the follow-up is loud, overproduced, and so generic that it could be recorded by any B-lister out there and fit in on their filler-filled collections, too. Throw in backup singers that are as distracting and unnecessary as those dancers on The Voice, and you’ve got yourself a mess.
A mess that probably still isn’t offensive enough to make most listeners change the radio dial, since it won’t stand out much anyway. I’m sure Blake will be back again soon with another pretty good single, but when are we going to get a great one?
“God Gave Me You”
Grade: D | Listen
Grade: B | Listen
When I first heard “Honey Bee,” I thought it had a nice little groove going on, but I found the lyrics wearing on me more than anything after a while. I’m still rendering judgment on “God Gave Me You.” Right now I don’t love it but I don’t hate it.
I would also give Honeybee a D rating, I think it’s annoying, lol.
I hope the album is not filled with songs similar to those 2 singles, yikes. There’s hope yet, the Red River Blue song is gorgeous. I recommend you to listen to it here:
“God Gave Me You” – C to C+
If Blake ditched the rock guitars and either went acoustic or fiddle & steel, it would be a much better sounding song, although that wouldn’t improve the lyrics any
“Honeybee – B+
It took me a while to warm up to this song, but once I did …
Agree across the board. Blake is a solid singer who needs no tricks. “Honey Bee” is a pleasant song. “God Gave Me You” is a mess. The line in the second verse, “you’ll always be love’s great martyr”, sure doesn’t do much for me. I’m more used to seeing “martyr” used facetiously.
I know my blind and undying fanaticism about Blake shades my impressions of anything he releases, but still…
I agree 100% about Honey Bee. Fun, charming, catchy. Nothing profound, but a perfect song choice. And it’s now a 4 week number 1, platinum single, blah blah blah.
Even though I don’t think ‘God Gave Me You’ is great, I applaud the choice of it for a few reasons. With the level of “fame” Blake’s at right now, almost anything he releases will be a hit. He could have sat back and released more ‘Hillbilly Bones’ and ‘All About Tonights’ and continued to be successful. In that sense, I think this new single is a step outside the “zone” and, in a sense, risky. I also wish the arrangement would have been vastly different. Blake’s performance is very sincere, heartfelt, and in a way, intimate. It would have been nice for the music itself to reflect that. I’m not one to say EVERY country song needs fiddle and steel, but this song just seems to be begging for something more toned back and acoustic.
At the end of the day, it’s a song he felt strongly about and wanted, and it’s not GREAT. But I really don’t think it’s bad. It’s a generic contemporary christian song, made up to sound just country enough to get on country radio, with a very solid vocal performance.
“Honey Bee” has always sounded predictable to me since the first time I heard it on The ACMs, particularly the melody. Since I don’t listen to radio though, it hasn’t had a chance to rub off on me because I haven’t sought other opportunities to hear it again.
I agree that Blake tends to release some bad singles and has better unreleased tracks on his albums. That’s why I can still call myself a fan who looks forward to the new album that comes out on Tuesday. With him, if I judged by the singles, I’d never give him a second thought on release day, but I’m pretty much guaranteed to find a couple or few songs that won’t ever be released to cherrypick at least.
I think the former is underrated – it reminds me of a slightly tipsy couple trading lines on the dance floor. And I’ve always heard it as a little tongue-in-cheek, though that probably wasn’t the intent.
The latter is…bleh.
i really love the chorus of “Honey Bee”, a lot. If I were to base my judgement of the song on that alone I’d give it an A+. Add everything else & I would still give it a better grade than you did, but I’m not sure if I’m being objective or not. Blake’s one of the few newer guys in country music whose singles I nearly always like.
I enjoy most of his singles (and some of them have become favorites), but I really enjoy listening to the album cuts from Blake, like Leann mentioned. It seems the neo-traditional style and more interesting songs get left behind when it comes time to selecting his singles.
His greatest hits album had a great new track on it called “Over you” that, of course, never got released.
Well…I’ve gone back and listened to “Honey Bee” again and I like it a lot better than I initially did. It’s kinda fun.
Aren’t the singles almost always the filler nowadays?
I’m listening to a stream of the album on his website right now. There are some good songs on it, but the production weighs others down. I’m not liking the pseudo R&B production that’s being used on some tracks.
Why does everybody want to play ac dc?
Been hearing “God Gave Me You” around a lot lately. I think I’d love it with a more subdued, flavorful production and without that “love’s great martyr” line. On its own, the hook packs a great punch. And I’m pretty agnostic.
I’m with you, Dan. It’s grown on me.
How at the start of your career are you releasing Austin, Don’t Make Me and Ol’ Red and NOW your putting out the dreck that is God Gave Me You and All About Tonight? Isn’t supposed to go the other way, dreck first and good music later? Blake’s got me all confused!!!
your right Ben, i don’t hate it either or i don’t love it!
I liked Honey Bee because it was catchy but its time has long since gone. It was good for a few months though. But the “God Gave Me You” song I don’t like at all. Boring as all get out: stuff like “Hillbilly Bone” and “Honey Bee” is way better. Sweetcheeks.