Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lee Brice, "Beautiful Every Time"

First of all, congratulations to Lee Brice on breaking the record for longest chart run in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart with "Love Like Crazy" at 56 weeks.  "Love Like Crazy" has provided Lee Brice with a thrilling and long-awaited career breakthrough, after seeing his original debut album shelved as each single tanked in the lower reaches of the charts.

But it's easy to see that Lee's sudden success is the result of a highly-calculated approach to achieving superstardom.  He has fallen into the good graces of the radio gods by giving them exactly what they want - easily-digestible lyrics that are deep enough for the fans to tout as meaningful, but not deep enough to provoke too much actual thinking.  While "Love Like Crazy" did contain a few isolated lines that were actually somewhat interesting, such lines were difficult to find in the mess of nondescript cliches that surrounded them.

"Beautiful Every Time" follows very much in the vein of its predecessor.  It's a slice of simple and inoffensive contemporary that goes down easily.  But to Lee's credit, this time he employs some interesting lyrical images to aid in grasping his listeners heartstrings, such as a gorgeous view of the ocean and a beautiful blushing bride.  Lee's powerful voices shines brightly on the soaring chorus, despite a few distracting production choices and an uneven melody that jumps too suddenly from low to high.

But where the song ultimately goes wrong is in its blatantly contrived appearance, which instantly arouses suspicions of pandering.  It's hard to like this song when it is all too obvious that Lee is trying so hard to make us like it.  While the ocean part gets a few extra points, the song unfortunately veers off into all the typical lyrical formulas that radio clamors for.  Surely radio will never be able to resist the triple-whammy of a song that mentions soldiers, church, and Mama! 

The best country songs spring from personal experiences and emotions.  They rarely come in the form of slick and predictable single offerings that are tailor-made to fit the current radio climate of the time.  The simple fact is that it's hard to be moved by a song that is so clearly aimed at the top of the charts.  Some things may be "Beautiful Every Time," but this song is likely to get very old very fast.

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