Single Review: Dierks Bentley – ‘Am I The Only One?’
April 26, 2011
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Dierks Bentley’s bluegrass-infused and artistically adventurous Up On The Ridge having failed to score any major radio hits to match the critical acclaim, he is now moving on to a new album, due out later this year. Understandably, it appears that he is reverting to a more radio-friendly sound, at least with the lead single. Other reviews have been disappointed by this song, but I would cautiously differ from that judgment.
This song is, admittedly, clearly a calculated attempt at regaining his automatic-play status at country radio. Lyrically, it is basically a cheery Friday evening go-out-drinking song, with the protagonist abandoned by his old drinking buddies and then hooking up with a similarly lonely “country cutie”. It is not groundbreaking (which should make it fit in just right with radio playlists) but it is an enjoyable enough single and far from the worst of what’s on offer on the airwaves. Dierks wrote the neatly constructed song with producer Jon Randall Stewart and Jim Beavers.
Musically it is almost a ramped up version of the title track of Up On The Ridge, opening with punchy banjo rolls and guitar licks. Things get a bit more raucous when we hit the chorus as the electric guitars get a workout, but although it is a little louder than I would ideally like, the production is not overwhelming . In fact, this feels mroe like a progression from rather than the complete departure from Up On The Ridge I had feared it might be. That should not have been a surprise, as Dierks has kept Stewart, who helmed the last project, as producer for the new project. Dierks’ vocals sound good, with the distinctive grain in his voice strongly in evidence, particularly in the superior first half of the song.
It does come off the rails a little at the end, with the cliche’d relapse into a barroom chorus. On the whole, however, I think this should achieve the desired radio play to encourage sales of the new album, without completely selling out to commercial demands. Just a few weeks after its release, it’s already higher on the charts than the lovely ‘Draw Me A Map’ managed in its entire run last year.