My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Blake Shelton – ‘Neon Light’

Blake SheltonIn a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Blake Shelton said the following about his latest single “Neon Light”:

“The song, the melody, the chorus is so George Jones or George Strait. It really is. Of course, I’m always going to have the haters and critics out there that say it’s not. But then, kiss my ass! I know more about those records than a lot of people.”

Way to stay classy, Blake. I am no Blake Shelton hater, having liked quite a lot of his music, though admittedly not so much in recent years. And I’m no slouch when it comes to familiarity with the music of both Georges and all I can say is that I imagine that the Possum has probably put some wear and tear on the inside of his coffin after all the turning over he must have done at the comparison. I can’t imagine George Jones singing this song under any circumstances. I can imagine him speaking out against Blake’s remarks, had Shelton been imprudent enough to say something like this while Jones was still alive. The chorus does sound a little like some of George Strait’s poorer efforts, and now every time I hear the song I try to think of how his version would be different — and presumably much better.

I’m not sure that this song is salvagable, but I imagine that a Strait recording of this song would have a much different arrangement. Ditching the annoying hick-hop beat would be a good place to start. I took an instant dislike to it from the moment I heard the the first opening notes from the banjo. There was a time when the banjo was regarded as primarily a bluegrass instrument and was rarely used on mainstream country recordings. I used to think that was a shame, but has been so overdone in recent years — usually in an attempt to give a rootsy feel to otherwise non-country sounding songs like this one.

The sad part about this is that fans that grew up listening to country radio over the past decade — the ones too young to remember George Jones or the kind of music George Strait did back in the 80s — probably do think that this is rootsy, throwback record. But those of us old enough to know better are unlikely to be impressed. Lyrically the song doesn’t have a lot of substance, which is OK for a summertime release, but Scott Hendricks’ obnoxious production is a deal killer for me.

Grade: D

9 responses to “Single Review: Blake Shelton – ‘Neon Light’

  1. Jonathan Pappalardo August 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    The positive note here, for me, is this isn’t close to Blake’s worst material (“Boys ‘Round Here”) but this is far from his best, too. Middle of the road in my book.

    What I HATE is the rhyming of “tunnel” and “subtle.” That word tunnel just rubs me the wrong way when he sings it. It’s a very hip-hopish move, too, which is unfortunately popular right now.

  2. Erik North August 29, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Besides everything else, for him to compare this record of his to George Jones and George Strait is beyond the pale. He can’t carry either man’s musical luggage!

  3. southtexaspistolero August 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    “I’m no slouch when it comes to familiarity with the music of both Georges and all I can say is that I imagine that the Possum has probably put some wear and tear on the inside of his coffin after all the turning over he must have done at the comparison. I can’t imagine George Jones singing this song under any circumstances. I can imagine him speaking out against Blake’s remarks, had Shelton been imprudent enough to say something like this while Jones was still alive. The chorus does sound a little like some of George Strait’s poorer efforts, and now every time I hear the song I try to think of how his version would be different — and presumably much better.”

    This is exactly how I feel about the song. Well done.

  4. Six String Richie August 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    In regards to the Jones comment, I can actually hear how Shelton is trying to do a bit of a Jones impression with his vocals. Listen closely and you will hear it. I guess I appreciate that he did that. Otherwise, this song bears no semblance to anything Jones did and I really don’t see how this is comparable to any of Strait’s work either.

    The line “neon light at the end of the tunnel” could have made for a really good country song. It’s a shame the writers failed to come up with anything interesting to pair with that potentially great hook. If this song had been written and produced in the 90s or 80s it probably would’ve been quite good. Overall, just another weak single from Shelton.

  5. Leeann Ward August 31, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I agree completely with Sixstring Richie. I can hear it when I listen carefully, but it’s certainly not something I’d guess he was doing on my own. And doing a poor George Jones or Strait impression is pointless if the song has no other resemblance to the mens’ music.

  6. Ken September 1, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    To paraphrase the chorus of this complete waste of 3:45:
    “This song song song sucks sucks sucks….”

  7. Ron J October 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Let’s assume that it is “so George Jones” (which I just don’t get at all) why would YOU record it Blake?… Nobody wants to hear their grandpas’ music, Jackass!

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