‘Someone Somewhere Tonight’ is Kellie Pickler’s first single on Black River Entertainment, but it existed for some time before Kellie chose to record it. Previously performed by Kenny Rogers and Pam Tillis among others, to give Kellie the radio hit she so utterly needs and deserves they needed to update the song a bit musically.
And that is exactly what they have tried to do. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it doesn’t work. The song begins with delicate mandolin and acoustic guitar, with electric guitar beginning to make its appearance, with the occasional strum to build atmosphere. That’s all fine and good, but it continues to build and build, until the second verse sounds like a mess. It doesn’t help that the sound they’re using is quite a dirty, rough guitar sound, and it absolutely overpowers what should be a gentle, humble song. However, they’ve tried to make a sweet, thoughtful ballad into a big, powerful country rock ballad, and it’s just not one that can be belted vocally. That results in Kellie straining to be heard above the noise, and the other aspects of the production get totally lost.
It drops completely down for the second chorus, using fiddle to carry it, back to where it should have been in the first place, and it sounds much better. But then the solo (the biggest mistake I think), seems to hold a guitar-off, using too many pedals, too much distortion, too much overdrive, and too much tone. It shrieks unnecessarily in a song that should be a focus on the meaningful lyrics. These lyrics tell the stories of so many people all over the world, yet brings it back to the simple love felt between two people during the chorus. The third chorus is again trying to be big, and I can see why they would do that if they had chosen to make the rest of the song gentle, but that is not the case. Then yet again they drop it down to close, and it seems they simply couldn’t make up their mind what they wanted the song to be. Whilst trying to remain relevant, different and edgy they ruined a brilliant song that didn’t need to be over-done. It totally distracts from the premise of the song and erases any emotional effect it may have had.
Kellie’s vocals, however, are the song’s saving grace. Although more wavery than I’ve heard them before, there’s a vulnerability and a truth-telling in them, carrying the song and making some twists and turns without over-doing it. If it hadn’t have been for the over-production, I would have rated this song highly.
I was worried about the use of a ballad, and one that had been done many times before, to give Kellie the sales and radio boost that she was denied during her ‘100 Proof’ era. I was worried that it might come across as more “old-fashioned” and thus wouldn’t translate well with a young audience lapping up the likes of Florida Georgia Line and Hunter Hayes. However, clearly it would have been better off like that! I’m not sure how this song will fare, although I’ll tentatively make a prediction of top 20 on her fanbase alone. But as someone who had high expectations for new music from Kellie, I’m disappointed, and hoping for better when her album comes out.
You can watch the lyric video for ‘Someone Somewhere Tonight’ here: