This is a republished post, backdated to reflect that and posted again for reader visibility, edited for past grammatical errors and sentence structure issues.
It’s sort of fun to see where certain male mainstream country singers stand with their careers after the collapse of the bro-country trend. Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line? Heck, they’re still around, but even they’ve seemed to move on (not to anything interesting, mind you). Cole Swindell is still around because … well, heck if I know. Others like Tyler Farr and Chase Rice rode that train until the end, and we’ve haven’t heard a success story since. And then there’s Michael Ray, a weird sort of anomaly to it all.
Why? Because he had to be one of the last performers not just simply “try” the bro-country trend, but actually ride it to some decent success with a No. 1 single in “Kiss You In The Morning” (even if the sales were pitiful). Sure, his debut album didn’t show any potential whatsoever, but beneath the image and production, there was a surprisingly good singer who at least sounded country, vocally.
With that said, it’s nice to finally have a single from Ray I can finally get behind, even if I don’t totally love it. This song is no world beater lyrically, but it at least says something, and kudos to Ray for at least trying to craft something with more substance this time around. The framing is the key to why this works. Sure, the narrator is being a little pushy by telling his lover that she just needs to let go of her past and learn to love again, but hey, to his credit, he’s not doing it just to love her and leave her. I know I shouldn’t give credit to a song for something it doesn’t do, but still, the fact that he just wants her to be happy (as indicated by the second verse) actually does mean something.
Now, I think Ray could have been a little more subtle with the message. You know, make her express her feelings in baby steps rather than just ask what’s wrong with her. You’re coming on a little too strong there, dude. Also, while I do appreciate the minor, darker production here, it feels a little stale in some spots. The bass groove is nice, but the pedal steel could have been mixed a little higher, especially when it lends a nice bedrock to the chorus (which, by the way, has a really great melody to show off Ray’s vocals).
But other than that, yeah, I was genuinely shocked by this. Again, it’s not going to change your world, and there are faults with it, but at least Michael Ray is finally using his talents for good rather than evil. Let’s keep going in this direction.
Written by: Pavel Dovgalyuk and Abe Stoklasa