The short version: Aaron Watson continues to be one of few artists in current mainstream music who can blend modern and traditional elements in a good way.
- Writer: Aaron Watson
- Rating: 7/10
The long version: I’m starting to think Aaron Watson doesn’t get enough credit.
Ever since he attained legitimate success as a mainstream country artist, Watson has been one of very few artists who can put a modern spin on country music without compromising his roots. When combined with his often passionate (and underrated) deliveries and strong sense for melody, I remember exactly why Vaquero was one of my favorite albums of 2017.
The rumor circling around was that his new single, “Kiss That Girl Goodbye,” was looking to push the envelope even further. While there’s some debate for that, the single is nonetheless a very solid addition to Watson’s discography.
The formula for a great Watson song is all here. The song moves so quick that you’ll need to hold onto your hat, and the hook and melody are as strong as ever. The electric guitar driving the upbeat, fiery track is supplemented by fiddle and banjo to create a lighthearted mood despite the song’s biting content. Even the “woohs” and the hand-clap-led pre-chorus lend themselves nicely to the song’s energetic, fun atmosphere.
Of course, the focus on energy and fun does mean the lyricism isn’t quite up to par as a result, but to be fair, it does all it needs to do. The song is essentially a cry for freedom for a woman leaving a (presumed) sleazy male spouse, with Watson cheering in her corner. Now, I’ve criticized many mainstream country songs as of late for adopting a trend of douchey male narrators telling their love interests to leave their current relationship. This is a different case. For one, the second verse reveals the other guy cheated on her, so there’s at least some justifiable cause (even if the evidence is only coming from Watson).
Secondly though, Watson never directly inserts himself into the track. He’s acting as the narrator from afar who’s got no actual part in this story and has nothing to gain one way or the other. Therefore, while the story isn’t the most descriptive in the world, it approaches it from the right angle, lending itself even better to the song’s rollicking attitude.
In short, “Kiss That Girl Goodbye” isn’t the type of song that’s going to win any “song of the year” trophies, but it’s good at what it was designed to do – to have an absolute blast. Watson handles the faster pace incredibly well, the song sounds great, and the lyrics do their job well. Once again, it’s a great example of how Watson is able to move country music into the present in the right way.