Friday, September 3, 2010

Jaron and the Long Road to Love, "That's Beautiful to Me"

(I still think that is the dumbest stage name ever)

Jaron Lowenstein is, and always has been, a coffee house pop singer.  After his star faded in the pop genre, he did what all prudent pop stars do to further a career - he shifted his appeal to the country market.  He scored his first Top 20 country hit with the vengeful, sinister, and darkly humorous ditty "Pray for You." (I think I'll call my local radio station to request it and dedicate it to... you know who you are)

He now goes from sinister and funny to sweet and saccharine with his follow-up single, "That's Beautiful to Me."  This piano-driven pop ballad follows the simple concept of describing all the many ways one's other half is beautiful.  One problem is that we get a bit of a "Been there, done that" vibe from this song.  Sammy Kershaw practically put a patent on this lyrical theme with his 1993 classic "She Don't Know She's Beautiful," and set a standard that few have been able to reach.  Joe Nichols has trod this territory more than once with songs like "Another Side of You" and "Gimmie That Girl."  "That's Beautiful to Me" bears a strong resemblance to these predecessors, but it doesn't bring anything new or interesting of its own to the table.  It even comes close to recycling some lines, such as those that describe a woman with a becoming lack of makeup.

Ultimately, it's the song's awkward lyrical construction that causes it to fall apart.  Jaron gushes and rambles about what makes his woman so special.  Descriptions range from smarmy and cheesy sentiments such as "Your kindness and sweetened soul lingers like perfume" to cheap throwaway lines line "You're so cool and I'm high tea."  Compare that with "She Don't Know She's Beautiful," in which each verse builds on the next in a focused manner.

Since Jaron's music remains devoid of country instrumentation, he claims that his country credibility lies in his storytelling.  But there's no storytelling going on here.  There's no central idea and no logical progression of thoughts to make this song meaningful, and there's no real reason for me to spend my money on this when I already have "She Don't Know She's Beautiful."  Better luck next time.

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