The short version: Easton Corbin makes his return with a song that, while not bad, is still below his talent level.
- Writers: Ashley Gorley, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins
- Rating: 6/10
The long version: If the next trend we see in country music is artists proclaiming how country they are, count me out.
Granted, songs like “Raised On Country” and “90’s Country” aren’t completely out of Easton Corbin’s wheelhouse lyrically. His debut single, “A Little More Country Than That” essentially played to that trend in a surprisingly endearing way.
Plus, as evidenced by “A Girl Like You” from 2017, Corbin is able to adapt to new trends while still (sort of) staying true to his own sound. After all, he’s essentially had to fight and adapt since around 2013 rather than thrive. He’s certainly got experience by this point. Could “Somebody’s Gotta Be Country” actually buck this new trend and be a pretty solid song?
No, not really, but in fairness to Corbin, this song is better than most of its competition in terms of songs adopting this lyrical trend. Overall though, “Somebody’s Gotta Be Country” still feels like a slight step down for Corbin as a whole.
For someone who’s found a new home over at Tape Room Records, you’d think Corbin would flex his newfound creative muscles and craft a song that sounds a little less generic. The song this reminded me most of was Riley Green’s “There Was This Girl,” namely in how the song mainly rides off its rollicking electric guitar to craft a (somewhat) neo-traditional sound. Despite the song’s reliance on little more than this and an odd mix of drums and drum machines (pick one next time, preferably the former), there’s a bright energy to this, and the song overall carries a solid groove, but it just doesn’t have that extra spark to stand out.
This carefree, brighter vibe actually compliments the lyrical quality somewhat nicely, especially when, again, it’s not quite as bad as other songs in this vein out right now. Instead of bragging how country the narrator is, the vibe you get from listening to this is just a sense of bewilderment. He’s content with his rural lifestyle and is just wondering what happened to his town. While it doesn’t appeal to me personally, when looking at this objectively, it’s a smart angle for the song to take. There’s even mentions of his friends settling down, leaving him feeling alone in just wanting to have a good time.
With that said, while the song takes a more interesting angle than other songs in this vein, that doesn’t mean there’s a lot to love here other than that. The song essentially is still a proclamation of, “I do country things in the country” without really being all that detailed. Holding the door for a woman isn’t exactly limited to country folks, and just because you’re partying all night long doesn’t mean you’re saving country music.
Still, aside from the lines about needing two spaces to park his truck and “center-console ice-cold beer” promoting drunk driving (as Kyle of Kyle’s Korner says, “that’s not OK”) there’s nothing obnoxious about this song. Even Corbin himself sells the role well of someone who’s confused by how things have changed.
But with all of that said, being better than its competition doesn’t mean this song is all that great. There’s very little inherently wrong with it, but an absence of bad doesn’t equate to an abundance of good. “Somebody’s Gotta Be Country” feels like a song we’ve heard before, both sonically and lyrically, because we have heard it before. Overall, “Somebody’s Gotta Be Country” is mostly just serviceable and alright, but little more than that.