NOTE: This post is the opinion of a NashvilleGab writer and not necessarily the opinion of the owner. I respect my writers' opinions and their right to have them and hope that you all will too. In other words, please aim death threats at writer and not me. That is all.
I expected to hate this song. I really did. All the opinions of my fellow critics of Blake’s recent musical offerings pointed to that exact conclusion, so I avoided it for a while. When I came to actually listening, however, I found myself – dare I say it – enjoying it?
Don’t get me wrong, Blake’s slow rapping is, for the most part, pretty terrible, but I hate all slow country rapping so that’s no surprise. The lyrics are also fairly appalling, as usual throwing in as many clichéd ‘countryisms’ (in fakery rather than truth) as is possible, for example “Drinking that ice cold beer, Talkin' 'bout girls, talkin' 'bout trucks, Runnin' them red dirt roads out, kicking up dust”, and phrases like “backwoods legit” that just screams ‘New Yorker trying to be country’ (yes I know Blake’s from OK). Then there’s all that horrible sexism that country songs are so keen on right now thrown in for good measure, “Yea, the girls 'round here, they all deserve a whistle, Shakin' that sugar, sweet as Dixie crystal, They like that y'all and southern drawl, And just can't help it cause they just keep fallin'”. Really? I mean REALLY?!
It’s not so much Blake, but more a wider problem of trends in country music that I have an issue with here, although Mr Shelton is certainly not off the hook for recording such a monstrosity of lyrical content. Aside from these aspects, however, ‘Boys Round Here’ is actually kind of… good?
Musically, a groove is instigated from the beginning that is pretty damn infectious. There’s some good slides and twang in there, and a multitude of different things going on. The chorus has fuller rockier production to give country fans something to hold onto, and even Blake’s rapping at times fits with the music rhythmically and creates a strangely perfect fusion. The Pistol Annies are barely audible which I’m disappointed with but their contribution works well, both in the call-and-response in the second verse and their gentle harmonies from then on. Whoever has mixed this has done a very good job.
I’m concerned that Blake identifies with this song as his life because a) it’s so over-done it sounds inauthentic and b) he’s super-rich, super-famous, and spends half of his time living in a mansion in LA and jetting all over the place to play for millions of people. He’s not the ‘good ole country boy’ he portrays himself as, and I see this song as further propaganda, over-done in order to compensate for the betrayal country fans may feel at his work on The Voice and in the pop music world. Like he’s trying to convince us he’s still just like us. I’m sorry, I’m not buying it.
But while I wouldn’t come out and say this is my favourite song, nor would I avidly recommend people listen to it (as it in all honesty reflects poorly on Blake as a person), I don’t mind it, and I have enjoyed listening to it to write this review. I guess pigs really do fly.
You can listen to 'Boys Round Here' here: