Nothing like a good country music driving song, right? I could make a whole road trip playlist full of them. Ostensibly, Sara Evans’ upcoming single “Anywhere” is seeking a spot on my road trip playlist. It’s a bit off-putting, unfortunately, that the lyric plays more like a watered-down knockoff of Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California.”
At the very least, the single earns points for a committed vocal performance on Evans’ part, as well as a cool banjo-rocker of a production, which could have made for a pleasant little slice of pop-country. But the song structure is totally not there.
Here’s the main problem: “We can go aaaaaannnyyyyyyyyywheeeeeeeeeeeeere!!!” You call that a hook? That is so not a hook. It says nothing. It doesn’t tap into any sort of emotion, or convey anything beyond what it says on paper. It’s just… there. It’s hardly worth building a four-minute song around, plus stretching a three-syllable word over four seconds just makes it sound grating. From there, Evans rattles off “California, Mississippi, all the way to New York City…” which basically amounts to lyrical wheels-spinning. “I’m tired of living my life in Park; I want to live it in Drive,” is a good line, but outside of that, the lyric comes across as uninspired and forced.
I can’t get behind this. I just can’t.
Evans is a mighty fine singer with some memorable hits under her belt – “Born to Fly,” “Suds In the Bucket,” and “A Real Fine Place to Start” still sound just as endlessly entertaining as ever, and last year’s chart-topper “A Little Bit Stronger” was a solid effort as well. She tries her darndest hard to sell this one, but ultimately, “Anywhere” still feels like an astounding waste of perfectly good vocal talent.
Evans’ radio airtime is already limited enough as it is, and with a pair of gems like “Alone” and “What That Drink Cost Me” vying for single release, there’s no need to waste it on this.
Written by Matt Evans and Jaren Johnston
This is a really disappointing single choice. If she wanted to release an uptempo summer-type song, then “Ticket to Ride” would’ve been the way to go, since it has an interesting story line and lyrics that are fresh and original. But instead, we get to hear this clunker on the radio for the next few months. Sara needs to stop wasting her incredible talent on such poor material.
I’m kind of neutral on this one. I’d have preferred to see “Alone” released as a single, but while “Anywhere” isn’t great, I don’t think it’s as big a “clunker” as some of you do. It’s better than “Desperately”, “Wildfire” and “Life Without Losing.” That being said, I agree that she needs to start finding better material.
While she has released much stronger upbeat material, she could’ve done far worse (as Razor X rightfully pointed out). The production is an absolute delight and makes you want to sing along. So while it isn’t the greatest song of its type ever written, it sounds to me like classic Sara Evans. I’m going to get behind this one because its so darn infectious. I’ll take this over the bombastic “Good Girl” any day.
The problem with “Alone” and “What That Drink Cost Me” is they’re both ballads and to see Evans release a third straight ballad would only sink her chances at country radio even further, since they’re ready for something light and fun in the “Born To Fly”/”Suds In The Bucket”/”As If” vein. Summer is just around the corner, after all.
And this is a case where song quality doesn’t win out. Both “Alone” and “What That Drink Cost Me” are more than excellent, but they’re too similar in tone and tempo to her last couple of singles. At one point before the album came out last Spring, I remember reading an article when Sara said “Alone” was definitely going to be a single and I believe it was supposed to be the third one. I guess the record label plotted a change of course on that one.
I also remember a lot of people were hoping to see this as the second single, in place of “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.” It maybe could’ve kept her winning streak alive a little longer, thus making her Female Vocalist chances at last year’s CMA Awards that much greater.
In the end, I agree she could’ve found a stronger “summer” song lyrically, but she gets more right than wrong. The production and her vocal make up some for the lack in substance. I hope this does well for her.
I wouldn’t call it a total clunker. I would put it more in the camp of middling and mediocre than of actively and aggressively bad. I can understand the timing of this release since Evans previously released two ballads in a row, plus they’re probably hoping to make this into a big summer hit. But I think Stronger was one album in which the uptempo tracks in general were collectively weaker than the ballads. “Ticket to Ride” is okay, but I don’t love it.
I do have to agree that she is in need of stronger material. I tend to get the suspicion that the Stronger album was rather hastily slapped together in an effort to end the drought between albums. Perhaps she can mull over the next one a little more, and hopefully find/write some better songs.
I’m glad at least somebody likes it, Jonathan. I do wish I liked it myself. I’ll still be happy for her if this does become a hit, because then if she does relese a better song after, maybe more people will be around to hear it.
Hi, I felt it wasn’t her best as well. Hopefully her next one will be better.
Stronger just didn’t deliver on strong material period. I hope they just release one more single after this one and hopefully release a better album in the next year. “A Little Bit Stronger” proved that she is capable of making some of the great country pop records that she had in the early 2000s. I almost wish she would go back to making another traditional album like her first one because her voice seems better suited there.
…the not existing hook would actually make a decent jingle for travel agents’ radio-spots and if you replace “love” with a bank’s name – we’re talkin’ business.
played mostly during rush-hour might make it even a minor hit. whether it puts mississippi on the map of those totally desirable travel destinations of the world needs to be seen, though.