Written by Brad Paisley and Kelley Lovelace
Brad Paisley has become a fairly reliable competitor in country radio’s annual summer song rodeo. He offers a 2014 entry that is listenable and likable, if not as memorable as last year’s “Beat This Summer.”
I can be a hard sell for songs that are built around a pun (“We’re laughing all the way to the river bank”), but at least in this case the pun doesn’t feel like the sole reason for the song’s existence (see “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”) nor is the pun itself overly obnoxious (see “Truck Yeah”). The song chugs pleasantly along with a crisp, organic-sounding production and catchy stop-and-start rhythm, and Paisley’s vocal performance is fittingly laid-back without coming across as complacent. It’s basically three minutes of catchy, summery fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and doesn’t overstay its welcome, which these days is downright refreshing.
It’s uncertain how much repeat listening this song will be getting by the time next summer rolls around, but for now it joins the relatively small club of summer songs to have me bobbing my head instead of banging it against the wall.
What the heck happened to “Alcohol”, “I’m Gonna Miss Her” and “All You Really Need is Love” Brad Paisley? Those songs were both clever, cute and country all in the same vein. This new-found Brad Paisley is infinitely less entertaining than the early-mid 2000’s Brad. I want that songwriter and that artist back.
This is yet another attempt at Brad Paisley trying to be clever and cute. I don’t know, maybe I have become so jaded because this isn’t a country song. Unlike clever songs of Paisley’s past which were country in style sound, this one is not and therefore may jade me and enhance my dislike for this song. The production has a weird Peter Frampton gone country vibe, which doesn’t work at all. The songs writing isn’t working for me either, which again could be attributed to the production. I just don’t think this song works like so many of his early songs do.
I’ve become a bit jaded to some of Paisley’s gimmicky songs, but I don’t mind this one that much. I wouldn’t go out of my way to hear it, but it’s alright in the mix on radio for the moment. Meh.
This is becoming my reaction to a lot of country music songs lately: wouldn’t change the station but wouldn’t buy it.
…thank god for a traditional country music clip again. the country summer songs are pretty much the same as the christmas albums – a nice seasonal celebration. and a little bit of fur in it obviously works for both of them. brad paisley doesn’t try too hard with this one nor is it a lazy effort. all in all it sounds quite right to me.
He’s as dull as watching paint dry.
I actually don’t mind this.
On the surface, this sounds like something I would resent or palm my face listening to when realizing that this is coming on the heels of an underappreciated “Wheelhouse” album; in that it SCREAMS “I need a comeback #1 hit!” and panders to plenty of the summer country song laundry list songwriting formula which, naturally, Paisley should be above.
But………..this somehow clicks. In spite of some ongoing cluttered production issues, I’m just drawn into the vibe this song elicits. It sounds buoyant. It sounds carefree. Paisley sounds like he’s genuinely revelling in the moment. And it sounds much exactly like you’d expect a corporate country blue-eyed hot weather sing-along to sound like. The sum of this song’s parts just click together.
Moreover, I appreciate that Paisley has finally decided to trim the fat and mercifully kept the track at barely over three minutes long. One of my main criticisms of Paisley’s discography over the years is that, as admirable and overall well-executed as many of his efforts have been, way too many tracks tend to go on longer than they should in terms of their runtime. In curbing excess in favor of brevity, Paisley has recorded one of his most hook-driven singles in all recent memory, and drops the pretension that tends to get in the way of some of his later material altogether.
Yes: the Zac Brown Band did a better job lyrically interpolating the feel-good song theme with a blue-collar consciousness in “Toes”, and what is said in “River Bank” has been said umpteen times before. But “River Bank” isn’t intending to be didactic or socially conscious. It aspires to be nothing more than a happy-go-lucky summer song that hints at gratitude at how a few possessions can inspire grand occasions.
And it nails it better than “Water” ever could.
This deserves a solid B from me. Maybe even higher if I’m in a slap-happy summer mood.
@Noah – I like your comment that Paisley has finally decided to trim the fat and mercifully kept the track at barely over three minutes long.
One of the many reasons I like Brandy Clark’s “12 Stories” album so much is that there are no run-on songs, 3 minute songs stretched to 4 or 5 minutes for no good reason. Miranda Lambert’s “All Kinds of Kinds”, a great song written by Don Henry and Phillip Coleman, could have been ended at the 3 minute mark but continues for about another minute and a half. There’s no intention to pick on ML or the writers. It’s just an example. Lots of artists don’t know how or when to end a song.
And, more often than not, I’ve thought it wasn’t necessarry for Brad Paisley to stretch songs out as long as he did on record.
All four singles from “This Is Country Music” clocked in at no less than four minutes and twenty-six seconds in length (the title track, especially, was just tediously long.) All four singles from “American Saturday Night” also clocked in at over four minutes long. I loved “Welcome to the Future”, but I also thought initially it didn’t really need that long of a coda. And there is absolutely NO reason a summer song about “Water” should be over four minutes long! ;)
This may actually explain the reason, also, why “The Mona Lisa” was my favorite single from “Wheelhouse”. Because it is also among his leaner, more tightly-written offerings, and the slight radio edit only enhanced it even more. And the arena-worthy “Whoa oh ohs” and passion injected into the entire record nonetheless wouldn’t have resonated as effectively if it dragged on as long as many of his previous singles did.
By the way, I’m actually much more optimistic about “Moonshine in the Trunk” now………..in that I’ve seen the official track listing and, guess what? Not a single song on the album clocks in over four minutes long! O__O
I have no idea why the cryptically-titled track “4WP” is listed as (featuring Brad Paisley), though! ;)
Hmmm…I’ll have to admit that the only time that a song’s length bothers me is if I’m making a CD and I want a certain number of songs to fit on it; otherwise, that’s never been a concern of mine. Of course, crazy long songs that are 7 or 8 minutes seem excessive to me, but it doesn’t bother me if it’s 5 minutes or less. I guess the Alan Jackson’s song is inspired by people like you two.:)
I’m hoping that he does a more stripped-down version of it in the near future. Similar to “Southern Comfort Zone,” which he released an acoustic version of, I like the lyrical content of the song, but I hate the production.
Sorry, All! We’re just testing to see if our comments will go through, because somebody contacted us to let us know that his comments won’t go through. Please email us if you’ve been having problems too.
Quote by Noah Eaton:
Moreover, I appreciate that Paisley has finally decided to trim the fat and mercifully kept the track at barely over three minutes long. One of my main criticisms of Paisley’s discography over the years is that, as admirable and overall well-executed as many of his efforts have been, way too many tracks tend to go on longer than they should in terms of their runtime.
I have to wonder if his songs go on as long as they do to allow him time to spread a lot of fancy guitar licks around. If this is true, it kind of gets old after a while.