My Kind of Country

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

Album Review – Sammy Kershaw – ‘I Want My Money Back’

By the mid-2000s Sammy Kershaw had severed ties his with Mercury Nashville, a partnership that concluded with the release of Greatest Hits, Chapter 2 in 2001. Now recording for Audium/Koch, Kershaw released I Want My Money Back in 2003 under the direction of Richard Landis.

The two singles begin a problem that penetrates the album. I Want My Money Back attempts to position Kershaw as a pop-country singer, thus stripping him of any resemblance to the man who recorded “Yard Sale” and “Matches.” The title track, which reached #33, is an atrocious tale of a man wanting to return the memories of a horrible date laid out with clichéd lyrics and a generic melody. Not much better was the second single, “I’ve Never Been Anywhere,” something similar to a country-rap that’s suffers from being too progressive.

Elsewhere Kershaw misses the mark completely adding a drum machine and echoing effect to the horrible “Miss What’s Her Name.” I will admit I enjoy the beat of the song, but I can’t wrap my head around the idea that this is Sammy Kershaw singing this. Same goes for both “Sunday on Bourbon Street” and “Are You Having Fun Yet.” The former, complete with its upbeat piano is too cheeky to be taken seriously, while the latter is too loud and comes off kind of desperate.

Kershaw tries to rebound towards the middle of the album, showcasing attempts at recreating his former glory. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel the results are below his best efforts. “Stitches” is an okay neo-traditional story song but nothing close to the caliber of material from his heyday, “Beer, Bait, and Ammo” lays the steel and fiddles on so thick it almost feels like parody, and “28/83 (She Ain’t In It For The Love)” starts out like classic Alan Jackson but only manages to muster up an unintelligent and rather idiotic tale about a gold digger framed with more cheese then Brad Paisley at his least inspired.

There’s no point dancing around the fact that I Want My Money Back is a very appropriately named and terribly constructed mess. There isn’t an outstanding let alone good or great song to be found here, but worse, Kershaw sounds like he’s in the throws of an identity crisis. Listening to this, Kershaw’s Emotional Traffic and Incredible Machine, you’d never know he could ever be compared to George Jones let alone rip your heart out with a killer honky-tonk heartbreaker.

I’ll recommend listening to it (the album is on Spotify) simply on the fact you should form your own opinion. But I’ll guarantee you you’ll wish you had the time back you spent listening to it.

Grade: D 

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