There’s a country radio station in NYC proper for the first time in nearly twenty years. The last one went off the air before I was old enough to drive, so when I found out it existed, I immediately checked it out.
Then I immediately checked out. It’s not listenable to me. It’s playing all of today’s hits and those from the past couple of years, and sometimes a song that I like will come on, but it’s always sandwiched between filler that hurts my ears.
The thing about filler is it’s always been around, even in any of the handful of golden eras the genre has seen. My favorite era had “Independence Day” and “Gone Country” on the air at the same time, but you were gonna hear “Wink” and “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)” in between.
Today’s hits aren’t all that great to begin with, but the filler is plum terrible, and it’s so jarringly loud that it won’t allow you to let it fade into the background. I’ve heard Justin Moore’s “Point at You” twice while getting into the car this week, and if I hadn’t switched to my iPod before switching from park to drive, my road rage would be notable even by New York City standards.
I say all this because American Young’s new single, “Love is War”, is the kind of filler that would keep me tuned into the country station, waiting to hear what was played next. It sounds good from a distance. Awesome arrangement, great instrumentation, twangy in a Civil Wars on their game/Band Perry on their meds kind of way.
It’s a really bland song though, with generic lyrics that don’t really say anything new or anything interesting about a topic that requires that you have new and interesting things to say if you’re going to write about it at all. Love is war, it’s a battle, it’s a battlefield, yada, yada, yada. George Jones and Pat Benatar noticed that, too.
But I would totally be on board with more of country radio sounding like this, even if it’s just the filler.
Yup. It sounds pretty, but the lyrics aren’t much more than, ‘Love is this, love is that,’ etc., which is where they lose me. It is always nice to hear a mainstream country single that doesn’t make my ears bleed, but I still probably couldn’t see myself grading this any higher than a B-.
Ha. I love this review. The End.
The Band Perry on meds is my favorite description of the year.
I thought the first verse was pretty good but it went downhill from there and the vocals didn’t impress me much.
I recall commenting elsewhere a while back that NYC had a country radio station til May of 2002, Y-107. Someone else commented that most of Manhattan couldn’t get their signal.
btw, I like “If Bubba Can Dance”. It’s a fun song, perfect to play after something like “Independence Day” or “Broken Wing”. I don’t believe there were many vocalists in the 90’s who were better than Marty Raybon of Shenandoah.
Of! I could not stand that song, Bob. I probably hate it less now than I did when it was on its chart run though.
Brilliant review as always.
I think the song here is a simple concept that just didn’t quite end up working out here. I think the idea that “love is war”, that love can be a hard fought struggle sometimes is an enjoyable concept. Lyrically though, this song doesn’t have any memorable characters or story that carry beyond a play or two on the radio now and then. Nor does this establish American Young as a must catch new act.
This song and concept could have done a lot more for this group, but in typical Nashville fashion, they primed it a generic coat of paint to make sure it’s radio friendly.
Good review. Song is good, not great. Would give it a B-. Not every song can be a classic. Maybe their next single will be a bit better.