Saturday, October 16, 2010

Christian Kane, "The House Rules"

Actor, songwriter, and country-rock band frontman Christian Kane adds a new item to his resume with the release of his first solo country single, and that item is hillbilly shouter.

What better way to kick off a solo career than by pandering to the redneck party crowd demographic?  Why, there are a million better ways, but that's not to say it can't be done reasonably well.  One such success story is Gretchen Wilson, who managed to strike a chord with "Redneck Woman."  Granted, she has been very much imprisoned by her debut hit (no comment on the current state of Gretchen's career), but still, any artist can learn from the way that artists like Gretchen have been able to capture a fun and lighthearted spirit, channel it into their performance, and preserve it on a record.

That's where "The House Rules" fails.  It doesn't inspire us to let loose and have a good time.  All it really does is make you dive for the volume knob.  The lyrics are mainly a boring matter-of-fact description of a party scene where "Everbody sings and drinks and laughs and gets high." (Duh - what did you expect?) But even though the lyrics are dull, they could have been elevated with a better melody and a more nuanced performance.  Christian's performance on this track hardly even resembles singing.  Instead, he overbearingly shouts that if you don't have a good time, you'll be thrown out of the joint.  There is absolutely nothing remotely catchy or fun about this whole abomination of a single, and any appealing qualities are drowned out by deafening hard-rock guitar riffs.  As the crowning touch of mediocrity, they throw in a chanting crowd sing-along, as if in a desperate attempt to convince us that we are having fun, which is almost laughable.

Is this really how you want to introduce yourself to the country music community - as one who aims to be nothing more than loud?  If loudness is what you're aiming for, then congratulations - you have achieved it.  But "The House Rules" is, by all other measures of artistic worth, a dismal failure.  If this is the kind of country music that this actor-turned-singer plans on making, then he'd better not quit his day job.

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