Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Band Perry, "If I Die Young"

After gaining a modest amount of airplay with the cute-but-frivolous "Hip to My Heart," the Perry siblings are back with their follow-up single - a melancholy ballad about young death and the shortness of life.

On the positive side, the production is pure perfection.  "If I Die Young" mixes a pop-like melody with an arrangement that is heavy on fiddle, banjo, and mandolin, backed by a gentle drum beat that is just soft enough to underscore the track without being a distractions.  Kimberly Perry's vocal performance is full of nuance and emotion.

If I were judging vocals and production alone, this song would easily be a ten.  Unfortunately, however, there are a few lyrical loose ends.  The song begins with the narrator expressing her burial wishes, then it moves on to images of a mother burying her baby, and ends with comments on how people are often not fully appreciated until they are gone.  Though the song is full of poetic lines that are all interesting, and any one of them would make a great song on its own, there is no narrative binding them all together.  The song's ultimate point remains unclear.  Nevertheless, writer Kimberly Perry demonstrates remarkable potential as a songwriter, since she displays a knack for crafting verses that pack a great deal of emotional punch.  In addition, the spectacular production makes this easily one of the best-sounding singles of 2010.

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