“Pray For You”
The Swon Brothers
Written by Jessi Alexander, Tommy Lee James, and Eric Paslay
If you thought the only thing missing from today’s warmed-over, wannabe rock but we’re calling it country was mixing it with the worst of the genre’s previous obsession with suburban tales of faith and inspiration, I present to you…The Swon Brothers. “Pray For You” manages to evoke the worst sonic habits of today’s country music trends while also borrowing liberally from the Hallmark Hallelujah phase the genre went through at the turn of the century.
More power to anyone who gets something meaningful out of this, but all I hear is a couple of kids who sound like they have no life experience of their own promising to do the very bare minimum to help somebody out of a dark place in their life. It’s spirituality by satellite, dedication from long distance, and for me, the very antithesis of what it’s supposed to mean to help another person.
They won’t get their hands dirty, but they sure will put them together and have a little talk with Jesus about you. It’s so utterly lacking in humanity that it feels like the prayer is all about making the person doing the praying feel better about themselves. The person in need is just an accessory to their own cul-de-sac spin on salvation.
I don’t dispute your rating but I’m not familiar with the “Hallmark Hallelujah phase”. Googling didn’t help. Can you provide a few examples of these songs from the turn of the century? I like quite a few sappy songs so i probably liked a few of them.
Bob, in the mid 2000s, country music was plagued with clichéd religious themed songs, so it ended up becoming a joke that a country song needed to have God in it in order for it to be a hit. Now, it’s girls drinking beer in pickup trucks.
I made up Hallmark Hallelujah while writing the review. It refers to an onslaught of early 2000’s songs that were antiseptically spiritual.
Darn. I did it again.
Now you’ve coined two new phrases: “Antiseptically spiritual” and “Hallmark Hallelujah”.
Sometimes as a Christian, I feel like these kinds of songs do more harm than good for the faith. Other times, I just appreciate hearing about God and Jesus on the radio. Depends on the mood I am in.
Well, if I’m being honest, I get more out of this song than I do out of Carrie’s “Something in the Water”, and I get pretty much nothing out of this song.
In my mind, just about every country song like this, even Dierks Bentley’s much-hyped “Here on Earth” from his last album, don’t really get at how hard faith is. No mainstream country artist is ever going to sing something like this ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS_7cjIk4k0 ), and I think that’s something we really need to change.
CountryKnight, I feel the same. But I think lately I’ve swung to the latter because of the debauchery of bro country.
Glad to see a shared opinion!
My problem with some of the religious songs being played on the country radio is that many bro-country artists will record them and the debauchery songs. Talk about hypocrisy or at the very least, a form of Pharisee. I found a book at Ollie’s Bargain Store about Christianity and Country Music with the foreword by Josh Turner. FGL had a couple of pages in the book. In the book, they profess all this faith and then they act like heathens in their songs. Being Christian doesn’t mean you receive a free pass and an easy prayer for forgiveness from the debauchery. Their songs are darn catchy and it is not hard to fall for their genuine excitement in their material. They certainly believe in their lyrics.
There is nothing wrong with a little bitty part of bad boy, but bro-country decides that being a bad boy just means you are an angel with dark wings. I disagree with that. The problem is that as long as some female fans (a large segment of the country’s fan base) continue to tear at FGL’s clothes, bro-country will continue to thrive.
That is why I love Josh Turner. He walks the walk and sings the song. But his kind of old-fashioned romance ballads won’t catch the ears of the radio audience especially the college-aged audience (well, except for me.).
I guess it is better (and all we can expect at this point) to hear these kind of religious songs over a generic bro-country song. That speaks loud to the sad state of country music. I’m glad that Spotify allows me access to the legends.
Aren’t these boys a product of ” The Voice”? Enough said. They have big problems in a variety of ways. And they won’t last.
It is too bad that Levi Riggs’ “Between Me and God” didn’t become a hit. He sings the song with a sincerity. It is a song that covers well-trodden ground of regret but he makes the concept timeless.
And it has a great couplet: “I kept my faith but had my doubts/ He has never given up on me somehow.