My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Reid Perry

Single Review – The Band Perry – ‘Done.’

DoneI’ve had Kathy Mattea on the brain lately, thanks in no small part to the life enriching experience I had seeing her live for the first time in late February. I came away stunned by her intellect and grace, but more importantly, her ability to pick songs that have an indelible magic. Her material is ageless and sounds just as good coming from a 53 year old as it did all those years ago when she was in her 20s and 30s.

The power of a great song is lost on much of mainstream country music today but judging from their 2010 eponymous album, I always thought The Band Perry had ‘it.’ I’ve loved all their singles (expect “Hip To my Heart”) to date, and they’ve truly been one of the bright spots on country radio in the past three years.

But there’s something way off about ‘Done,’ the second preview of their soon to be released (April 2) sophomore record Pioneer. What’s allowed them to stand out is an innate ability at mixing a sweet likability with a dark edge. Take that away, and they’re just another mainstream act vying for the attention of fans

At the simplest level, “Done” is so sloppily constructed, it’s beneath a band with this much talent. What struck me first was how juvenile the lyrics were, especially the chorus:

Mama always told me that I should play nice

She didn’t know you when she gave me that advice

I’m through, with you

You’re one page I’d like to burn

Bottle up the ashes, smash the urn

I’m through with you, la ti da

I don’t wanna be your just for fun

Don’t wanna be under your thumb

All I wanna be is…done

Seriously? They couldn’t even find at least one ear catching phrase to make their point? Lines like ‘I don’t wanna be your just for fun’ or ‘I’m through, with you’ are so childish, it’s almost embarrassing. The verses aren’t much better, oozing with the maturity level of a thirteen-year-old girl breaking up with her first love (“It’s gonna hit you hard Til You see stars” and “You play with dynamite don’t be surprised when I blow up in your face”). “Done” is like the reject song Taylor Swift left off her first album, the one that made “Picture To Burn” seem like such a good idea at the time.

I can forgive bad songwriting if I enjoy the track’s production (can’t “Done” just sound even a little country?), a case evident with TBP’s “You Lie,” which was actually clever. But the breakneck speed of “Done” makes the intent feel disingenuous, almost exacerbating the song’s lyrical problems. I give Kimberly credit for putting her sass into overdrive (and her vocal is strong as usual), but this feels like a comedy show, not a biting revenge anthem towards a dead-end boyfriend.

They need to do way better than this if they want to have a catalog of hits worthy of being sung thirty years from now.

Grade: C

Songwriters: Reid Perry, Neil Perry, John Davidson, Jacob Bryant

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Single Review – The Band Perry – ‘Postcards From Paris’

Since their debut in late 2009, The Band Perry have made their mark on country music – the brothers and a sister trio have racked up a couple number one hits (“If I Die Young” and “All Your Life”) a #2 (“You Lie”) and an all but forgotten top 20 (“Hip To My Heart”) while keeping the instrumentation decidedly country, a foreign concept to many of their contemporaries. Their latest single, the fifth from their self-titled debut, follows perfectly in that trend.

Written by the trio, Kara DioGuardi and Jeff Cohen, “Postcards From Paris” is the tune they couldn’t leave as an album cut even though their label wanted to move to their sophomore album. The release is a smart move, though, as “Postcards” is the perfect song to help bring them to the next level of superstardom and like others have stated, is one of the strongest lyrics on their record.

It also doesn’t hurt that producers Nathan Chapman and Paul Worley strike the ideal balance between old school country and new age country-rock with the blended production. The fiddle hasn’t sounded this good on any single thus far in 2012, and the punchy drums at the end of the chorus extenuate Kimberly’s anger perfectly, all while giving the song enough of a kick to keep the modern bent alive.

But it’s the offbeat lyrical content, quickly becoming The Band Perry’s signature quirk, which really helps sell the song. “Postcards” is, on the onset, a simple story of newly found love until you realize she’s with the wrong man:

I was with my boyfriend, a new boyfriend

He was as sweet as he could be

One look at you and I was through

My heart switched up on me

Like any great song, the emotions of being with the wrong person are fully flushed out – every decision she’s made is now coming into question, as though the universe got it backwards and her diamond ring was actually a fake. Now that she feels she’s supposed to be with someone else, the protagonist can’t help but let out her primal scream (accompanied by those well-placed drums) – And now I’m ruined, I’m ruined.

And it’s that twisty angst element that’s helped to form the trio’s sound and thusly helped them emerge as one of the most exciting acts having hits right now. So far each one of their hit singles has had a tinge of darkness to it. For them, it isn’t enough to sing a simple love song. Kimberly always has to be ruined when a better catch comes along or obsessed with the person who doesn’t notice her. With her gorgeous and tantalizing twang; she pulls off each character with the ease of a singer with twice as much life experience.

Like all their hits, “Postcards From Paris” proves that by singing material that digs far deeper than the average mailed-in fluff, The Band Perry are creating a rich listening experience that deserves further cultivation in the years to come. Their songs aren’t perfect yet, but with time, I have no doubt they’ll get there.

Grade: A