Single Review: Andy Gibson, "Summer Back"

Coming on the heels of Top 30 debut hit “Wanna Make You Love Me,” Andy Gibson’s new single “Summer Back” continues to build him a reputation as a cliché machine.

Gibson is hardly the first nonthreateningly handsome thirty-year-old frat boy on the radio to be pining over a youthful summer fling. (Incidentally, Jake Owen is currently riding the charts with what might as well be the same song) Like many of its predecessors, the song fails to over any substantial narrative detail to help it rise above the feel of a generic paint-by-number template, while the spit-shine polish of the production likewise fails to lend any semblace of a distinct identity.  Why was this romance so uniquely unforgettable?  Why is this story even worth relating in the first place?

I just

don’t believe a single thing he says in this song.  Nothing about the story feels clever, urgent, revelatory, or sincere in any meaningful way.  All I hear is another carefully calculated bid for radio airplay, which is exactly what I’m beyond sick of hearing.

Grade:  C-

Listen:  Summer Back


  1. You can clearly hear the influence of George Jones here in his style and his voice. The emotional and lyrical depth at play in “Summer Back” harkens to the emotional detail of many of the classics of yesteryear. It paints a vivid picture of what a picture of me (without you) would really look like. In-fact, we the listener can feel the heartache being wrenched out of the lyrics in this song, verse by verse, chorus by chorus.

    “Summer Back” gives the listener the grand tour into the emotional being that is Andy Gibson circa a hot, muggy, booze filled random 1990’s summer night. From the production to the pain in Gibson’s, we can feel that if the drinkin’ don’t kill Mr. Gibson then her memory probably will.

    I know I was probably a bit repetitious in my prior paragraphs, but I cannot stress enough the poetic mural painted here about that one, random, muggy, mid-90 degree summer night about Mr. Gibson and his girlfriend with cherry lip-gloss on. Surly the pain left behined by that one, emotionally charged, passion filled summer between him and his sweetheart didn’t end up being a good year for the roses in 199X.

  2. First of all Andy Gibson is a very talented singer,song writer. I love “Summer Back” we all have hade that special someone during summer time. Then its over and you just want that person and summer back. Andys voice is smooth like Butter, Old School sounding. LOVE ANDY.

  3. First of all, to be specific Andy Gibson’s debut single “Wanna Make You Love Me” charted as highly as #25 on Mediabase.

    Now let’s move on to the definitions for cliché
    1. A trite or overused expression or idea
    2. A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial

    Your description of Mr. Gibson’s reputation being that of a cliché machine is very insulting. How you can draw this conclusion based on two singles is beyond me. Do you consider “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, which was co written by Mr. Gibson, cliché? I have read you opening statement over and over but am unable to discern exactly which definition of cliché that you intended; therefore, I will address both. It is my opinion that neither “Wanna Make You Love Me” nor “Summer Back” are overused expressions or ideas. Both songs have upbeat melodies, great lyrics and an awesome delivery. I guess his reputation could be considered cliché if you consider making great music cliché. As far as Mr. Gibson’s behavior being predictable or superficial, I know that you couldn’t possibly be referring to him as superficial because anyone that knows him can tell you that is not the case. So you must mean he is predictable. Wrong again. His writing and his recordings are anything but predictable. Have you ever heard Colt Ford’s “Mudflap”? Believe it or not this song was co written by guess who, Andy Gibson. Predictable? I don’t think so.

    In your review, you refer to Andy Gibson as a “ nonthreateningly handsome thirty-year-old frat boy”. I hate to nitpick but are you aware that “nonthreateningly” isn’t even a word? Don’t believe me? Try to look it up in a dictionary. Yes, he is handsome. You got that part correct but let me ask you this, what does that have to do with the quality of the music he puts out? He is thirty years old. I’ve got to give you that one at least for a little while longer. “Frat boy”? Whoops, you lost me again. I guess I’m naïve because I thought a review was supposed to be about the music and not an opportunity to hurl negative remarks about the person.

    You also brought Jake Owen into this conversation. I am assuming you are referring to his single “The One That Got Away”. Again, I must disagree with you as the only thing these two songs have in common is the fact that they were sung by men.

    “Generic paint -by -number template”? Oh please. The imagery of the lyrics in “Summer Back” is undeniable and unique. “Your momma didn’t like me or the way that you loved me. She prayed it was a summer thing. You thought I was wild and I didn’t say it at the time but you’re my first time for everything. But there’s nothing I’d change about those days. You’re the sweetest thing about my past. There’s a part of me that hopes you found your dreams and you’re happy wherever you’re at. But, there’s a part of me that wants that summer back.” Andy’s voice is amazing on this song as is the melody and the guitar work. It is a song that just reaches out and grabs you. It’s catchy, fun and sweet as well as up-tempo. “Tell me what’s not to love.”

    You say that “All I hear is another carefully calculated bid for radio airplay, which is exactly what I’m beyond sick of hearing.” I know that you have a link to listen to the song at the end of your review but have you actually listened to it? Would you like to know what I’m sick of? I’m sick of songs about trucks, or being a badass or an artist trying to tell me what Country is when they’ve probably never even been on a dirt road in their lives.

    So Andy Gibson isn’t the “rebel” everyone keeps looking for. You know what he is? He’s the real deal. He is an accomplished writer, an awesome performer and a very nice person. Oh and one last thing. It isn’t his fault that he is good-looking. He has his parents to thank for that.
    My Grade A++

  4. I think Andy Gibson is a very talented artist and his songs are very believable to me. “Summer Back” is a song that you can relate to whether you be in your teens or into your nineties for that matter. I am sure that each one of us, no matter our ages, can remember a person and a special time one summer. It was probably one of the most carefree times of our lives. Yes, sometimes, I want that “Summer Back.” It sure makes me want to sing along when I hear it, so that is good enough for me!

  5. I can’t agree with UberFan that the imagery and lyrics of “Summer back” are “undeniable and unique.” The lyrics UberFan quotes are just fine, but they are a theme that has been done time and time again. This is not “unique.”

    I’ve got nothing against the song. Its decent enough. But to my ears at least it isn’t the great piece of music that UberFan makes it out to be. The song doesn’t offend my ears, but I won’t be sad if I never hear it again either.

  6. When a song is created, it is done so with the intention of connecting with an audience. Whether it be to bring them back to a place in time, to mark a specific time in one’s life, or to help someone get through difficult situations, a song is created to mark a memory. “Summer Back” certainly does that.
    When I first heard it, I could not help but think of that romance so long ago. It is a song that everyone can relate to, man or woman, and it’s easy-going lyrics and upbeat melody makes that memory

  7. So sorry to hear that you don’t agree with me Sweetcheeks. I won’t even try to change your mind. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I still stand behind every single word that I said.

    Could you perhaps give me an example of this theme that has been done time and time again? I do know there have been songs about lost loves but I’ve never heard one written or performed quite this way.

  8. When a song is created, it is done so with the intention of connecting with an audience. Whether it be to bring them back to a place in time, to mark a specific time in one’s life, or to help someone get through difficult situations, a song is created to mark a memory. “Summer Back” certainly does that.
    When I first heard it, I could not help but think of that romance so long ago. It is a song that everyone can relate to, man or woman, and it’s easy-going lyrics and upbeat melody makes that memory a more pleasing one than disappointing one.
    Andy Gibson’s spot-on vocals are always a pleasure to hear. I have been fortunate enough to see him live as well as watch multiple videos recorded by fans and his voice always sounds beautiful. His music is refreshing and, I believe, is unlike all the other music out there. Songs about drinking and partying are getting a little old.
    The only thing that this song is missing is the lack of publicity it has gotten thus far. The people responsible for getting this song on the radio are slacking. His last single “Wanna Make You Love Me” was very popular in my neck of the woods and, given the chance, “Summer Back” would be even bigger.
    Everyone is entitled to there opinion. This is mine.

  9. Yep Me again. Second of all how dare you give A great song like “Summer Back” a C. Clearly someone must of haven’t had a love like that. Have you really sat and listen to the words and meaning of the song. Andy hands down is an awsome writer,singer. Andy is a great guy, Not a frat boy, Andy is a true Man. Andy knows how to respect people unlike some. I can go on and on but I’m not so have a great night!!

  10. It seems Mr. Foster is more than slightly envious of Andy Gibson’s looks and talent. You can try and drag this talented young artist down all you want but the fact remains he is strikingly handsome and an obviously talented singer/songwriter. His writing skills were good enough to score a major hit for Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson (Andy Gibson wrote “Don’t You Wanna Stay”), and please millions of fans. Summer Back is a very heartfelt, unique song, written and sung from the heart … something I’m sure you know nothing about. If you think you can write a better song, then do it, but this venomous attempt to discredit Andy Gibson has served to make the reviewer look like a complete idiot.

  11. Comparing Andy Gibson to Jake Owen? Seriously, that’s all you’ve got? No freakin’ comparison. Nothing against Jake but have you ever even seen Andy Gibson perform or really paid attention to his writing skills? Andy’s vocals are always spot on PERFECT in any venue, and any situation. He has a beautiful voice and will out-sing any artist on the charts … and he’s got star quality. Did you bother to catch him on one of his many Opry appearances? The Opry … You know, that stage in Nashville where the STARS perform? Yeah, he was captivating! Andy is too much of a gentleman to fire back a review of your lousy review but as a fan I feel I must Aren’t you supposed to do your homework before writing a review? You missed the mark on this one BIG TIME! FAIL!

  12. A lot of these comments are just cheap snipes that I’m going to ignore, but I’ll try to clarify a few points.

    The “cliche” description was directed toward Gibson’s song material, not toward his character as a person. He’s released two singles so far, and I consider both to be extremely cliche – built on songwriting concepts that are indeed trite, overused, superficial, and predictable. Both songs come across to me as calculated efforts to fit in with what is most readily accepted by country radio, such that the music is commericalized to the point of ceasing to be art. Thus, at this point I feel comfortable in saying that he is building a reputation as a cliche machine.

    My comment about Gibson’s looks was a way of saying that thus far he’s been all packaging and no product – a pretty face without strong song material to back it up. In this market it’s all too easy for a label to make loads of money off of a singer who is physically attractive, but whose musical output fails to rise above mediocrity.

    I think “Don’t You Wanna Stay” has a strong melody, but pedestrian lyrics, and I think the record’s overall appeal has more to do with Aldean and Clarkson’s performances than with Gibson’s songwriting.

    I have heard Andy Gibson perform on the Grand Ole Opry, but that doesn’t change my opinion of this particular song.

    Clearly, we have disagreements, but I can assure you that my judgment was perfectly well though out, and based on a thorough familiarity with the song. I’m happy to stand behind my statements, as I’m sure the rest of you are yours.

  13. First of all let me say that Andy is a very talented up and coming artist who went to college a quality we seldom see in any stars these days and what a positive role model so kudos to his parents for raising such an amazing and talented person and for their dedication and support in his career without that we wouldn’t be blessed to in enjoy his talents. Out of the 12 or so comments there has only been one negative one that alone should tell you something. After reading all the comments they all have pretty much the same opinion..that we see a young handsome talented musician and songwriter who is determined to show everyon that hee it destined for good things in his career. The way I see it he only need three things to succeed
    1. Talent
    2. Dedication to succeed
    3. Loyal and dedicated fans
    It seems he has all of those.
    Andy we love you and your talent thank you for sharing it with us.

  14. Ben I did a music survey for a unknown artist & for the first time I liked the voice plus the songs he sang. At the end they gave me the name Andy Gibson.
    One day I saw that he had a song out & thought that’s the guy I rated so well.
    I can’t change your mind about Andy anymore then you could convince me to like Eric Church.
    One of the things I like about Summer Back is the melody, it just makes me happy. I feel sorry for Andy that he is with Curb Records because they don’t support him.
    I’m sure you have had many songs that you loved & sang along with that made no sense at all but you still played them over & over.

  15. Although I agree with Ben that some of the responses to his review are nothing more than “cheap snipes,” the review itself arguably contains some cheap snipes about Gibson’s looks, it insinuates that the song exists solely for the sake of commerce and not for art (though it never explains why this is bad beyond the reviewer personally being “beyond sick” of such songs). If a reviewer states that he is “beyond sick” of this kind of music, that could be seen as a snipe as well, and its no surprise that the ultra-fans might respond on the same level.

    Another snipe in the review, perhaps more serious, is this: “I just don’t believe a single thing he says in this song.” Personally, I don’t care if the song is believable or if Gibson means what he says so I don’t really consider this a huge snipe. But some fans might think this is basically accusing Gibson of being a liar. Again, I wouldn’t interpret the comment that way, but I couldn’t blame a fan for so doing.

    I think there are cheap snipes in the comments but also in the review itself.

  16. Those aren’t snipes. Those are personal reactions to the song, with some commentary on the current country music market woven in. It’s not the same as saying something rude just to provoke a reaction.

    My comment about not ‘believing’ what Gibson says in the song is not a way of saying that Gibson is a liar, as I don’t think he even intends for us to believe that this is a true story. The point is that he fails to tell a story in a way that makes it feel real or believable.

  17. I understand that they may not have been intended as snipes and rather as “personal reactions to the song.” But I think they can be interpreted as snipes as well as “personal reactions”, and no less so than the comments of the super-fans. Again I don’t necessarily interpret them as snipes, just as extremely harsh criticism. But I can’t say that fans who interpret them as strips have reading comprehension issues either.

  18. Okay, let’s try this again, shall we? First of all Ben, I would like to compliment you on your responses. They are much better written than your initial review. I, however, still disagree with you 100%.

    In my initial response to your review I cited examples. Do you think you might be able to do the same other than just offering your personal reactions? You wrote “I consider both to be extremely cliche – built on songwriting concepts that are indeed trite, overused, superficial, and predictable”. Would you mind explaining this further as I just don’t see where you’re coming from? Oh, and for the record, Andy Gibson did not write “Wanna Make You Love Me”

    Another comment I take issue with is this one. “My comment about Gibson’s looks was a way of saying that thus far he’s been all packaging and no product – a pretty face without strong song material to back it up.” Perhaps it is my familiarity with Andy’s music that has not been on radio that makes this feel like a slap in the face. We are both grownups and should realize that Andy Gibson probably has little or nothing to do with which songs Curb releases or how they choose to promote them (or not promote them as the case may be).

    Your comment about Andy being an artist whose “musical output fails to rise above mediocrity” is also insulting. I happen to believe that Andy’s music is like a breath of fresh air in the midst of a period where all you have to do to be #1 is sing a song about drinking or a stupid truck.

    My response to “I think “Don’t You Wanna Stay” has a strong melody, but pedestrian lyrics” is would you mind citing me some of those pedestrian lyrics? Once again, I need to know what you are talking about. Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson did do a wonderful job with the song, however, I fell in love with the lyrics and just in case you’re wondering I fell in love with them before I even knew who Andy Gibson was. I’m sure that Jason and Kelly would love to hear that they chose to perform a song with “pedestrian lyrics”. I suppose “Love Had Something To Say About That” which Andy Gibson wrote and Carrie Underwood did have on hold is pedestrian in your opinion also. I suppose you are a much better judge of “pedestrian” lyrics than these Superstars are.

    As far as the actual song “Summer Back”, I happen to love it and I do see a relevant story in the lyrics. I love the song but that is just my personal opinion. Simply put, the song makes me feel good.

  19. Lord have mercy. What a ruckus over what seems to me to be pretty pedestrian fare. BTW, to this day my only reaction to “Don’t You Wanna Stay” is “eh.”

    And I agree with Ben — Jake Owen is peddling the exact same story in his summer single as this new Andy Gibson song, and I don’t care about his, either.

    I don’t know Andy Gibson or his music and never saw him perform, so I have no emotional investment in liking his music just because it’s him. Some of yall seem to be doing that, otherwise you wouldn’t be getting so personal about a blogger review. Or maybe that’s just the internet culture now. JMHO.

  20. RowdyRed thanks for sharing. Everyone has an opinion. I would like to say that just because I have an “emotional investment” in Andy Gibson, that does not mean I would not admit he had released a piece of crap, if he had in fact released a piece of crap. Which in my opinion, he has not.

    Hey, on the bright side. At least someone is actually reading Ben’s review now.

  21. This song is like someone asking you to describe a book that has no characters, backstory and is only a ploy.

    I’m going to write a story about the sky being blue. The sky is blue. The End. There were no characters to even read about, much less connect with. There was no reason to care about what the plotline offered because the story had no backdrop. Finally, the book came out and told you what the plot was supposed to be about and then abruptly ended. A book that gave you the reader no details to work with other than the simplistic element that was the plotline. And ergo, gives you nothing to describe in the end should you be asked to talk about the book

    Yet, that’s exactly what this song does here. A song for take sake of being a song. Asked to describe details about this song, I would say it was a song about lost summer love and then ends after 3 minutes of singing about it. “Summer Back” finds a topic, lost summertime love, instead of the bluesky in our story, tells the listener next to nothing about any characters or events or subplots and then just ends. Not my cup of tea, but who am I to judge others opinions.

  22. If the song makes you feel good, then just go ahead and keep on rocking out to it. I’m not out to stop you.

    It should be noted, though, that anyone who chooses to release art to the public should be at peace with the fact that their work is going to meet with a response, and that such responses will often include criticism. Comments about music being ‘mediocre’ and the like are not ‘insults;’ they are just that – criticism. It simply comes with the business, and this review is by no means as bad as it gets. I’ve written many reviews that were far more severe than this, and other reviewers have as well.

    I consider “Don’t You Wanna Stay” lyrically pedestrian in that nothing about the lyrics strikes me as interesting, unique, creative, or gripping in any way.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a song that’s ‘just fun,’ and I’ve even written positive reviews of songs that I thought were ‘just fun.’ But what makes a song fun is highly subjective. I didn’t find this song fun, so my review reflects that opinion.

  23. My goodness, I didn’t know a song had to be read like War and Peace. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and many others then and now have made political statements, lobbied for the poor and made us aware of many injustices in our world and to them , I am grateful. This is a nice summer song, enjoyed by lots of people. It probably won’t change the world but that is not necessary for me to enjoy it. I really enjoy Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee.” Maybe someone ought to tell him that he isn’t singing a book here. It won’t be me telling him. LOL To each his own they say, and I guess Andy Gibson suits me just fine. “That’s all I got to say about that.” FG

  24. I’m just going to take a guess here and say that I’m pretty sure that Andy Gibson is at peace with reviews and probably doesn’t even know about this one.

    It should be noted though that anyone who chooses to release a review positive/negative should be at peace with the fact that there will be criticisms of his/her work from fans/anti-fans. Trust me, this isn’t my first time around the block with a reviewer and I have made comments that have been far more severe to others.

    I have tried to see it from your point of view. I’ve even asked for examples. So I might better understand this review. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any.

    I love this song and that is my prerogative and you needn’t be concerned nobody is going to turn me against it through their opinions or any other way.

    I now resign myself to forgetting all about this meaningless review. I honestly tried to have an intelligent conversation about the substance but unfortunately all I got in return were opinions without any facts to back them up.

    I’m done now. I’m off to go play “Summer Back” full blast and repeatedly. Have a nice life. :)

  25. Being rude and condescending does not equate to an “intelligent conversation.” I’m sorry you felt the need to inject such bitterness into what could have been a perfectly friendly debate.

    My point with regard to criticism is that there’s no reason for you to take my negative verdict on the song as “insulting.” If my problem was with you criticizing my work, there would have been little reason for me to dignify your comments with a response in the first place.

    By the way, reviews are by nature based on opinions, so I don’t know what kind of “facts” you were looking for, while the facts that you brought out generally had nothing to do with the quality of the song.

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