I almost thought I was going to have to write a Guilty Pleasure when this song started to play, but then about 30 seconds into it, they saved me the trouble by turning it into a typical pop-country number.
I’ve never paid all that much attention to the Band Perry. I vaguely remember seeing them on TV at some point, shrugging my shoulders and switching the channel. A friend who listens to country radio and knows my disdain for pop country and my affinity for dark music sent me a link to this song, guaranteeing me I’d like it. I’m game to give anything a listen or two, and early on, I thought she might be right.
It opens quietly with a dark banjo piece and a little kick drum. I was thinking that I might get something along the lines of the Turnpike Troubadours’ “Gin, Smoke, Lies,” one of my favorite country tunes of last year. The singer starts, and her voice is a little pretty and poppy, but I’m still not completely turned off. Then come the electric, rock guitars. Now I’m not opposed to that. Hell, I’m a metal guy, but I see where they’re going, and it’s to that same glitzy, hummable, ultimately disposable pop chorus that I’ve heard a thousand times on country radio. Heck, I think I’ve heard at least three Carrie Underwood songs with almost the exact same one.
After that, it drops back down into the banjo part, and a fiddle swells up in the back, but it’s too late at that point, and I know that chorus is coming again.
The sad thing is, though, I think there’s a really good country song hidden in here. Lyrically, it deals with some classic country themes — jealousy, cheating and crazy. It’s kind of a scary song when you think about it, the woman so obsessed with a man that if he dies before she does, she’ll tell the gravedigger he’d better dig two. The problem is that darkness doesn’t come out in this delivery. It needs something more sparse, more melancholy, dare I say, more Johnny Cash-like.
I guess it’s not bad for a pop-country song, but it’s not for me. No dice on converting me, but keep trying. I’m always up to hear something new.
That said, I would love, love, love to hear this song in the hands of someone who is not worried about radio-friendly hits and not afraid to take it to the place where it needs to go. In the right hands, I’m sure my friend would be correct about this song.
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