Friday, April 22, 2011

Thompson Square, "I Got You"

"A car's got gasoline to run down the road.  A crop's got rain, dirt, and sun to make 'em grow.  A song's got rhyme.  A clock's got time..."

I bet you can't guess what comes next, can you?  "You got me, and baby I got you"!  Did Kiefer and Shawna not realize that we could see that coming from a mile away?  The second verse rolls around, and the painful predictability continues.  Now they sing about how they "don't need a big old house full of stuff," because being wrapped up in each other's arms is enough.  I can't shake the feeling that I've all this before.

The best and most interesting songs on Thompson Square's self-titled debut album are those that offer witty takes on the ups and downs of a relationship, and that carry a hint of authenticity.  There's nothing unique or authentic about songs that are so obviously tailor-made for radio.  Like its similarly uninteresting predecessor "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not," all "I Got You" really says is "I want a Top Ten hit."  There are a million other songs that sound just like it.  Once it's chart run is over, it will just be another one of those "million other songs" that we refer to when criticizing a future release.

Not only is the song a bore, but the production is enough to cause a headache.  Again with all the incessant banging and crashing!  Wouldn't it be great if record labels showed some confidence in artists by using simpler arrangements that allowed the artist's performance to pull its own weight?  Instead of that, country radio has become the site of a never-ending battle over who can make the loudest records.

Dear Nashville:  Please stop dumbing down artists who could actually be good. 

Unsolicited advice:  Quit drowning them out with unnecessary overproduction, tone down the thrashing guitars and drums, and have them sing a song that's actually somewhat interesting.
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)