Thursday, July 22, 2010

Joe Nichols, "The Shape I'm In"

It's always enjoyable to hear an artist's fresh new take on a classic theme of country music.  Sara Evans' stellar hit "Cheatin'" was a classic example of this type of song (and it easily would have been a perfect 10, had I reviewed it).  Joe Nichols' new song, "The Shape I'm In," while not quite at the same high standard as "Cheatin'," falls into a similar category. 

This song puts a twist on the classic country theme of heartbreak and loss.  The narrator is a man who is rallying himself after a difficult break-up.  The lyrics strain to be optimistic, but it's obvious that this man is not yet ready to stop being miserable.  He admits that he's "gettin' better at barely gettin' by," and he's 'doin' all right for the shape he's in.'  Lyrically speaking, this is one of Joe's strongest songs yet.

The production is a bit rough.  At times, the combination of wailing harmonicas and bluesy guitar riffs sound cluttered.  But it's not enough to ruin the song, which still boasts solid lyrics and strong vocals.

As a singer, it sounds like Joe Nichols is in pretty dang good shape.

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