Monday, May 31, 2010

James Wesley, "Real"

James Wesley is back after barely missing the Top 40 with his previous single, "Jackson Hole." His new single, "Real" begins with some surprisingly striking lyrics. I've never before heard a country song slamming all reality shows from The Bachelor to Survivor to The Real Housewives of [Insert name of city or county here]. He doesn't mention any of the shows by name, but lines such as "a pretty girl cries 'cause she don't get a rose" and "where I come from housewives don't act like that," make it obvious what the song is referring to.

The song's treatment of reality shows almost made me want to give it a positive review, since I have nothing but contempt for such shows. Indeed, they are a far cry from what real life is really like. How unfortunate it is, then, that the song begins to weaken as the verses progress! James goes on to mention several life-altering experiences such as war and death, as well as the trials related to the farming industry. He attempts to tie all of these references together by saying "I call that real." Is that all the song is trying to say? Is it only saying that "Reality shows aren't real, but farming catastrophes are"? It almost sounds like James doesn't quite know what he's trying to say, making "Real" seem like an unfinished product.

It's okay for a country song to just be fun, but this song isn't fun. Not every country song has to have some kind of message, but if a song hammers away at emotional hot-buttons, then there needs to be a reason for it. Such references should play a role in helping the song to make its point, and that's exactly what's missing from "Real."

Believe me, I wanted to like this song, but I didn't. It was an innovative concept that was not fully developed. The song sounds like it's trying to make a profound statement, but it ends up being a melodramatic disappointment.

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

To hear this song, click the "Cool New Music" link under the "More Cool Sites" link list.