Saturday, April 24, 2010

Zac Brown Band, "Free"

Before 2008, nobody had heard of the Zac Brown Band. Now, in just two short years, they have quickly become one of country music's biggest attractions. Their new single "Free" comes on the heels of their third number-one hit, "Highway 20 Ride." Most likely, this song will perform well on country radio. But because of the band's great popularity, the fact that this song will likely be a hit doesn't say much about its quality.

"Free" begins with the sound of that soft fiddle that has become the band's trademark. The first half of the slow-tempoed song sounds soft, mellow, and pleasant. But it sounds like drummer Chris Fryar has an espresso near the end of the song, and he starts banging away. The drumming is a little overdone, and it makes the mostly-slow song seem somewhat disjointed as a result.

The song's lyrics are mostly vague and repetitive, describing two lovers driving down to a beach, looking up at the stars, and doing "all the things that lovers do." In the chorus, they are said to be "Just as free/ Free as we'll ever be." The narrator doesn't really describe why he feels so free; he only repeatedly declares that he feels free. The lyrics border on being annoying near the end of the song, when the narrator starts repeating the sentence, "No we don't have a lot of money/ No we don't have a lot of money/ No we don't have a lot of money..." Dude, we get it - You don't have a lot of money. Unfortunately, this song doesn't have much to offer in lyrical profundity.

"Free" might make good background music, or it might be good for listening to in the car. But it doesn't arrest attention the way a good country song should, and there's nothing that will make it stick in your memory after its four minutes are expired. It's like a little piece of ear candy - sweet at first, but not substantial.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)