Thompson Square opts for form over content with their new single “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About.” The song’s verses function only as a vehicle to get to the earworm chorus, with the lyrical concept never quite reaching the third dimension.
If one is to enjoy “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” one must accept it for what it is – pure ear candy. And unlike the typically dull and tasteless radio fodder of today, “Everything” is sweetly flavored with an infectious beat, catchy guitar hook, hand clap section, and sing-along-friendly melody.
It’s unfortunate that the single is tainted by the influence of country radio’s incessant loudness war. It would be even better if the flavor were not diluted by the generic wall-of-sound Nashville production that surfaces in the chorus. Fortunately, Kiefer and Shawna Thompson manage to cut through the clutter with their confident yet playful performances.
Though Thompson Square has yet to release a truly great single, they’ve often been at their best when performing lighthearted fare that allows them to showcase personality. In that regard, “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” succeeds by capitalizing on the duo’s strengths.
In a market dominated by forgettable frivolity, “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” manages to separate itself from the pack by demonstrating perceptible effort to engage and arrest listener attention. Sure, you’ll get tired of the song eventually, but it’s a fun toe-tapper that’s interesting and enjoyable enough to garner replays, and that’s a compliment that precious few of today’s hits seem to warrant.
Written by Kiefer Thompson, Shawna Thompson, Brett James and David Lee Murphy
Agree with your comments on this song. You say that TS has yet to release a truly great song. I think you could argue that “Glass” is a great song even though it didn’t crack the top 10. Glass was written by Ross Copperman and Jon Nite and featured Shawna on lead.
Also agree with your comment Bob.
Every time I hear this song I keep thinking, underneath the loudness, is the type of song that would’ve been on 90s country radio by some act that had two or three big albums before falling out of favor. Makes more sense now knowing David Lee Murphy had a hand in writing it.
I may actually be able to listen to this song if it was given the mid-90s era production it deserved. As it stands right now, this is little more then a big missed opportunity.
Perfect review, Ben.
This reminds me a lot of Love & Theft’s decisive hit “Angel Eyes”, only without annoying lyrics.
And that’s a good thing. Because while “Angel Eyes” was marred to an extent by laundry list song crutches such as crankin’ up the dial at a bonfire and phoned in interjections of having “sexy innocence”, the production was very pleasant to the ears and delightfully catchy. Had it been driven by more toned-down guitars, it would have sounded great on an AM radio playlist.
And it is for much the same reason why I really like “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About”. There’s nothing remotely interesting about this straight-up blue-skied pop ditty, but then again they weren’t trying to be novel here. The sharing of vocal duties on the verses and interplay in the chorus between this long-married couple on record is absolutely infectious, and you can tell despite being married for quite a while now, they sound as though they’ve just gotten engaged. And that energy goes a long way to making any otherwise paint-by-numbers “country” pop song sound invigorating.
You know what, I’m feeling generous here. I’m going to give this a B+. It may just be that, betwixt all the frat-boy “country” balderdash, I almost feel driven to scoop up any outlier I see………..but in reality I think this is about as engaging and energetic as you’re going to get with pop masquerading as country in 2013 A.D.
As for my opinion on “Glass”, I think it was a valiant effort to both allow Shawna to take command as lead vocalist after Keifer immortalized himself as lead through their now-classic “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?”, as well as tackle more emotional ground.
The production just sounded too bland and plodding, and ultimately held it back from its full potential for emotional payoff and resonance. It would have benefited from more of an organic arrangement.
Still, I did like “Glass” well enough and they deserve credit for interpreting a set of lyrics that are strikingly poetic for a “country” radio song in this day in age.
There’s one other point I’d like to make.
What Thompson Square (and Stoney Creek) have done a very effective job doing is making sure they share the limelight as lead vocalists. I am absolutely sure they are NEVER going to get another hit as colossal as “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?”……..therefore, in effect, Keifer’s name is always going to be deceptively viewed as the lead vocalist of Thompson Square among casual listeners.
Yet, they still try rather hard to produce a hit as big as they can muster that features Shawna as the lead. “If I Didn’t Have You” reached #1 this year, and though it won’t have the staying power as a recurrent as the former, it’s still great that this husband-wife duo currently split #1 hits when it comes to taking lead on the vocals. Then their only other Top Ten hit, “I Got You”, is a sharing of the two. I like that equilibrium.
In contrast, Little Big Town have struggled painfully to shake this perception of Karen Fairchild being the lead singer of their group. Among anyone who has listened to ANY of their albums in-depth, they’d know immediately that’s not the case. And yet if you only knew Little Big Town by their singles, it would look like Karen Fairchild and Little Big Town. =/
Now that Noah mentions it, I do hear the melodic similarity to “Angel Eyes.” And I do remember liking the melody of “Angel Eyes” when I first heard it, but the pandering lyrics kept me from liking the song overall.
I agree that “Glass” is one of Thompson Square’s best singles yet, even though I personally would hesitate to declare it a truly great single. I would have liked it more with a better production.
Production has thus far been a common complaint of mine for many of Thompson Square’s singles. It’s very frustrating because Shawna actually has one of my favorite female voices on country radio today. There aren’t very many female voices that I can really invest in on the radio these days, and hers sounds like one that I could really get into with better production and more consistent song material.
One of new favorite songs. Just a straight fun song. Not every song needs to super complex and psycho analyzed like a nutcase.
A light, well-crafted song is just as well-written as a dark, emotional song.
I’m enjoying this song but as pointed out, the production is just unnecessarily loud. I don’t know what is going on with Nashville but a lot of singles this year have suffered from overproduction. Most notorious cases are “We Were Us” by Keith and Miranda, “Compass” by Lady Antebellum, and “If I Didn’t Have You” of Thompson Square.
I really don’t think the production is the issue here. It’s the mixing that I take issue with. It falls prey somewhat to the “loudness wars” conundrum.
However, it doesn’t diminish this listening experience for me quite like most other recent rock-edged releases I’ve heard, and it may be because I don’t view “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” as a rock song. I view it as a power-pop song. And so I’m just accustomed to expecting sunny electric guitars with my power-pop while allowing the harmony and melody to assume center stage………….which this track accomplishes in spades.
In truth, I haven’t disliked any of Thompson Square’s singles to date. In fact, they’re probably my second favorite duo at the minute (only behind Joey + Rory). “I Got You” was surely forgettable and lyrically lightweight, and even “If I Didn’t Have You” didn’t impress me all that much, but there’s just something about the energy in their vocal performances (or sincerity when it comes to their ballads) that persuades you instantly that as banal as much of the songwriting is, that at least what they’re selling is coming from somewhere absolutely real.
In contrast, most male country artists can’t help but sound like shrills when they peddle the dime-a-dozen love songs in-between all their hell-raisin’ party songs, and more often than not sound too self-serious and don’t even sound like they’re reveling in what they’re singing about.
Whenever I hear a Thompson Square song on the radio, I can’t help but feel that they’re singing as though they’ve actually just got engaged, and on the songs where they share vocal duties that they’re almost having a light-hearted conversation that just so happened to become a song on the spot. They just sound natural and effervescent, and that is why they are one of the better pop-masquerading-as-country acts at this time.
Yaaaaaaaaaaaawn, yet another brand of plain, boring, vanilla ice creme in the frozen foods of country music section. Nothing new, nothing original done here from Thompson Square or co-writer David Lee Murphy.
Listing off a bunch of adjectives, nouns, verbs and what not and saying those are all the things you shouldn’t be thinking about. Yeah, sorry, but this is a boring formula, all too common in country music today. It is one that numbs the senses and blocks the inner creative juices. You could give this to Lady A, Love & Theft and a host of other horrendously bland country music groups and it would be just as yawn inducing and uninspiring as it is now with Thompson Square.
I ate my bowl of vanilla ice creme and listened to the song. Now, it’s time for a little nap. Wake me when something exciting and original comes out from FM country radio stars of today.
Thanks Thompson Square and thanks David Lee Murphy as well, you’ve made me bored to teee-eee-eeeeearrsssss as a country music listener. Now if you will excuse me, I have some things that I should be thinking about, like a shower and getting ready for work.