Zac Brown Band
Written by Zac Brown and Niko Moon
Sometimes pushing musical boundaries reveals new depths of talent that you didn’t know an artist had.
Other times, what’s revealed are the limitations to talent that the artist is apparently oblivious to.
I don’t know why Zac Brown Band decided to make warmed-over, turn of the millennium album rock. All I know is that it’s plain awful.
“Beautiful Drug” strays way too far from the band’s comfort zone, and it strips them of all of their distinction and personality, leaving the frontman sounding like Adam Levine minus the personality and vocal range.
A total dud.
If ZBB wants to add some “non country” songs on their album because they like all kinds of music and blah blah… at least have the courtesy to release the rock music to rock radio (which they did with “Heavy is the Head”) and the country songs to country radio (“Homegrown”, maybe hopefully “Dress Blues”?). Beautiful Drug should be kept to the EDM crowd. (if that’s even a thing).
Jekyll & Hyde is the first ZBB album I didn’t buy. (I regret buying the Grohl EP.) The only songs I bought from J&H are the Isbell “Dress Blues” song for a soldier song playlist and “Mango Tree” for my wife, a Sara Bareilles fan.
Yep: pretty much sums up my thoughts on this.
The songwriting (or lack thereof) is actually my biggest strike against this track. This SCREAMS “written-by-committee” with the convenient timing of the tired lust-is-a-drug simile permeating country/”country” radio in the meanwhile.
If Zac Brown wants to make EDM songs, then he by all means has every right to. I’m not judging him for that. What I AM judging him on is going about it half-assed………….and doing so under the Zac Brown Band moniker: when it is clear the majority of his bandmates are not involved here as reflected in live performances of this where many of the are standing idly.
The thing is, Zac Brwn has already proven he can deliver a decent EDM song on his own. Listen to his Avicii collaboration “Broken Arrows”. Now THAT is what an EDM crossover effort done right sounds like. He sounds impassioned in his vocal performance, the lyrics actually have some thought and and ambiguity put into them, and though the production is a bit lukewarm………….it’s definitely serviceable and crowd-pleasing.
This simply misfires on all cylinders.
I’m thinking a Light to Decent 1 out of 10 for this.
Bob: I would also recommend you check out “Junkyard” and “Bittersweet”, if you haven’t already.
“Junkyard” definitely isn’t country, but it is a gripping, visceral and well-written and performed track concerning Zac Brown’s haunted memories of emotional abuse inflicted on him and his mother from his father. Even if you’re not a fan of corporate hard rock, I think it’s that kind of song you can respect for the thought and effort put into it.
And “Bittersweet” still stands out as an emotionally potent song about coming to terms with loss of a loved one. Definitely a solid gut-puncher.
Besides those two tracks and the decent “Heavy Is The Head”……………yeah, I can do without the rest of the album.
@Nadia – thanks for your recommendations. I read the lyrics to both songs before listening. I really liked “Bittersweet”. Re “Junkyard”, I agree that it’s gripping, visceral and well written, the kind of song you can respect for the thought and effort involved – but i did not exactly find it enjoyable to listen to.
I don’t know what “corporate hard rock” is but my guess is that I wouldn’t like it since I was never into the hard rock or heavy metal of the 60’s and 70’s.
I didn’t know that Zac Brown’s father was abusive. That is truly sad.
disappointed with this album, save for Homegrown which i liked.
Isn’t it ironic Zac Brown criticizes Luke Bryan for “That’s my kind of night” but here he is with this single…