Single Review: Joe Nichols, “Yeah”

Joe Nichols YeahHarlan Howard, when asked once  about his Judds classic, that “Why Not Me” was a weak title, so he had to repeat it over and over again to make it work.

A similar approach is taken in “Yeah”, which is essentially Nichols’ one word answer to everything said and done throughout the song.  The passiveness of our narrator has a certain charm to it, striking a balance between being respectful of the girl and also not wanting to say or do the wrong thing and derail where the night is heading.

As always, Nichols delivers a charismatic vocal, though this one is hampered a bit by being overly processed.   I can’t say “Yeah” to Music Row’s bizarre desire to have its guys sound like a slightly twangy Mr. Roboto.  But the end result is still better than a lot of what’s out there, even if it will be little more than an afterthought when Nichols’ best performances are collected for posterity somewhere down the road.

Written by Ashley Gorley and Bryan Simpson

Grade: B



  1. Yeeeeeaaaah, I miss the Joe Nichols that sang songs like “Brokenheartsville” and “She Only Smokes When She Drinks”. Sadly, I think that Joe Nichols has pretreatment drifted down the pop-country river.

    This song isn’t necessarily bad material, it just isn’t nearly as compelling as his body of work from early on in his career.

  2. Ehhhhh………this is passable.

    “Crickets” is such a painfully mediocre, average album though. Aside from “Old School Country Song” (which easily rates among his finest material to date)………I can’t help but feel as a whole “Crickets” calculatingly sidesteps both the frat-boy country and EDM trends, but still tries too hard to update his sound and also subtly appeal to both constituencies (I can easily see “Sunny and 75” slightly re-mixed for EDM crowds).

    Because, lyrically, “Crickets” is highly a Lite version of frat-boy country. Or a variant that removes all the douchery excess but retains all of the topical cliches. You can tell when Justin Wilson wrote “Y’ant To” that he REALLY wanted to say a certain other word rhyming with “hugging”, but couldn’t much like Robin Thicke in his best-selling hit on Top 40 radio: “Blurred Lines”. Beyond that, you got your hay fields, tailgates, sundresses, drinking, the radio, wild childs on Friday night, cussing at the boss man and midnight kisses………cushioned out by a couple of obligatory love ballads, a pseudo-inspirational ditty and a Merle Haggard cover for good measure.

    I’d give this a moderate C+.

  3. Right.

    It’s lazy, and it rubs off on me the wrong way much like the hook of Billy Currington’s equally lazy and inane “Hey Girl” did.

    I guess if both these songs have saving graces, it’s that both Billy Currington and Joe Nichols are nuanced enough as singers to deliver such material without coming across as douches. In contrast, if say Brantley Gilbert or Luke Bryan were commanding these tracks, they’d just come across as learing.

  4. On a similar note, reflecting on examples where apt interjections actually work as a central hook………I was just recalling how, upon first listen, I couldn’t stand Montgomery Gentry’s “Hell Yeah” upon its release as a single. It just sounded loud and obnoxious to my ears.

    Yet, I have to admit over time…………..I’ve really come along to liking “Hell Yeah”, and for this reason.

    It’s easy to overlook the lyrical details and the contrast of character profiles in the verses. Sure, they succumb to generational and urban/rural stereotypes, but the lyrics still carry across as much more interesting and colorful compared to most anything you hear on the current corporate radio playlist. And ultimately, you don’t hear the duo exacting a partial tone toward either cultural archetype. Their intention is to point out how loud music and community can bring out the best in anyone after the toils of a long work week and how, in at least this respect, we’re all after the same sort of basic needs and release.

    I think the verses did an effective job building up to the use of “Hell Yeah!” as a hook. In contrast, neither “Yeah” or “Hey Girl” enjoy the same benefit.

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