Country Critic: Garth’s Back! His Music isn’t!



Yes, this truly does seem to be the day for comeback doesn’t it. Garth Brooks has finally released his lead single to his comeback album, and if that isn’t a good enough reason to return to blogging, I don’t know what is.

Yes, seven years after the release of his last single (oh, Garth has a thing with the number seven. Don’t ask, I have no idea why), Garth is giving fans the new music they have been demanding for years. And it is about time. For long time country fans like myself, this past year has been a very dark time. Bro-country has continued to have a death grip on the genre and many artist are flat out making pop songs at this point. Not pop songs with a slight country sound, but pure pop. Country music needs someone to come and return the genre back to its roots. Garth is in a perfect position to be that someone. You see, while the other member of the Class of 89 (Clint Black, Travis Tritt, and Alan Jackson) are now firmly in the “legacy act” category, Garth retiring when he did, and not putting out any music for so long prevented this transition from happening naturally. So Garth now finds himself in a unique position, as there are adults who remember hearing him when they were in diapers, but he still expected to release big hit singles.

If Garth plays his cards right, he could not only reestablish his own career, but also the traditional sound that has been missing from the genre for several years now. So does Garth live up to his past works, or is this comeback starting to look like a bad idea. Let’s find out. (Song can be heard at the link provided)




So you know how I said Garth was in a position to bring a traditional sound to country radio. Forget it. Garth decided to go the other route. Once again we have a pop song on our hands. Oh sure, it’s more country sounding than what is currently popular, but that speaks more to how far the genre has fallen than anything else. What’s most upsetting is that you can’t even hear any of the old Garth on this track. If anything, this sounds closer to something Kenny Chesney would have put out in the late 00’s.  This isn’t looking good for the upcoming album, as I now fear Garth is going to be pulling a Tim McGraw, trying far too hard to have a hit, even if it means abandoning the sound that made him popular to begin with.

Now it is possible, that this song is just more pop sounding so that Garth is in a better position to have his first song become a hit, thus guaranteeing his follow up singles will have some airplay. And there is some evidence to back that up, as prior to this songs release, all signs were pointing to a song called “Tacoma” being Garth’s first release. But until the follow up single is released, I have only theories.

I will give the song some credit. It has a nice uplifting message. In many ways, I would say the themes are familiar to “We Shall be Free”, a previous hit Garth had back when he still ruled the world. For some, particularly those unfamiliar with Garth, that might be enough. But as a longtime fan of his, I expect more. The song may be uplifting, but it also doesn’t say anything new. The fact that it doesn’t feel like Garth is putting his all into it certainly doesn’t help. Go back and listen to “We Shall Be Free” and then listen to this. In “We Shall Be Free”, you believe Garth believes every word because he is singing his heart out. But here, it honestly feels like he is holding back. Which is disappointing considering Garth has a reputation of going all out in his performances.

While I don’t think this is a bad song, it is a disappointment. I don’t think this is going to join the ranks of “If Tomorrow Never Comes”, as another Garth classics, nor do I expect it to win over any new fans. The uplifting message may raise it above what is the norm for “country” now of days, but it takes more than that for me to enjoy a song. But again, I’m a longtime fan, maybe this is exactly what is needed for new listeners. So are you an old fan like myself, or this your introduction to his music? Either way feel free to share your own thought down below. I look forward to discussing them with you. Until next time.

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