My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Trace Adkins – ‘This Ain’t No Love Song’

As a singles artist, Trace Adkins has always had a very spotty track record, at least with me.  For every ‘You’re Gonna Miss This’ or ‘Every Light In The House’, there seems to be 2 or 3 ‘Hot Mama’s’ and ‘Chromes’ to counteract any forward momentum he gains as a serious recording artist.  With Adkins’ gravelly baritone and genuinely personable swagger, he has the talent to become a major torchbearer for this generation of country stars.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t always lived up to those lofty expectations his own charisma sets for himself.

Enter ‘This Ain’t No Love Song’, the second single from Adkins’ upcoming Show Dog album Cowboy’s Back In Town, under the guise of label-head Toby Keith.  My first thoughts after hearing of their partnering was that the gaudy, tasteless side of Trace Adkins as a recording artist was about to explode and leave the able balladeer in the past.  That may still be the case, as was evidenced by Trace’s final Capitol release, the shoddy ‘Ala-Freakin-Bama’.  Following the abysmal chart performance of ‘Bama’, the second single finds Trace shifting gears, and channeling his bravado into a kind of cool charm.

At first listen, ‘This Ain’t No Love Song’ sounds like it adheres strictly to its title.  It’s the nuances in Adkins’ edgy vocal that tell you there may be more to the story than the literal meaning of the lyrics.  With his trademark dry wit, bordering on sarcasm – but this is too smart to call sarcasm – Trace sings here, rather unconvincingly, of all the reasons this recent melody he’s created with his guitar isn’t about his love for a certain lady.  He sings ‘the earth didn’t move when you first said my name, I didn’t feel a thing’, before that same indifference leads him to drive by her house, then ‘get his guitar on and sing a tune’, and even though it’s about her, it’s still not a love song.  It’s just a shoe-tapping groove that the singer had to get out of his head, and down on paper, regardless of the inspiration. Or so he’d have you think.

A great song with fresh idea and nothing overbearing or in-your-face about the production is a fairly novel idea for today’s mainstream country music.  With ‘This Ain’t No Love Song’, Trace Adkins may have struck the perfect balance between his up-tempo ditties and the memorable ballads that dot his catalog.  Now if he will only continue in this direction, we’re in for a run of great music.  Time will tell.  For now, I’m very happy with his current release.

Grade: A

‘This Ain’t No Love Song’ is available digitally from amazon, and all other major retailers.

10 responses to “Single Review: Trace Adkins – ‘This Ain’t No Love Song’

  1. Ben Foster July 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    You hit on a point that I hadn’t thought about. Trace does seem to be striking a nice balance between witty songs and emotional ballads.
    Here’s my review:

  2. Andrew Leprich July 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I agree this is one of Trace’s better singles. It’s no “Arlington” or “Then They Do,” but this is an encouraging example of Trace delivering a quality song while balancing commercial considerations. Great review.

  3. Razor X July 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    It’s not a terrible song, but I’m not really impressed with it.

  4. Occasional Hope July 17, 2010 at 3:29 am

    I quite like it, but it’s not one of his best.

  5. Jordan Stacey July 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Just to clarify a small point this is his first single for ShowDog-Universal. “Ala-Freakin’-Bama” was released while still with Capitol Nashville and was pulled once he left the label thus the low peak.

    This song was written by Marcel and I can really hear his voice shining through the lyrics. Sad to think he could’ve had this great song if he had ever taken off.

    • J.R. Journey July 20, 2010 at 2:47 am

      Thanks for the correction. Wikipedia has it listed as a ShowDog single and as the first from the new album even.

      • Razor X July 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

        “Ala-Freakin-Bama” is on the new album. This album was recorded for Capitol and Trace was apparently allowed to bring it with him to Show Dog-Universal, the label on which it will be released.

      • J.R. Journey July 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

        That’s why I was confused.

  6. Pingback: J.R. Journey’s Top 10 Singles and Tracks of 2010 « My Kind Of Country

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