The short version: Riley Green doesn’t differ much from his debut single, “There Was This Girl,” on “In Love By Now,” but the latter song is a better showcase of his talent.
- Writers: Riley Green, Rhett Akins, Marv Green, Ben Hayslip
- Rating: 7/10
The long version: While I was on the fence about Riley Green upon hearing “There Was This Girl,” I’m definitely on board for “In Love By Now.”
And I suppose I’m not alone with that opinion, as “There Was This Girl” went on to become a sleeper hit for Green, becoming the No. 1 country single in the United States as of last Sunday. With his new single, “In Love By Now,” while it doesn’t differ much from his debut single, the cracks in the wall from that song are patched up to showcase a new song better suited for Green.
Thus far, Green’s brand of country music has been rollicking, uptempo numbers, and that doesn’t change on “In Love By Now.” Like with his debut single, the song is mainly carried by a breezier, rollicking electric guitar groove, only this time around there’s more flavor thrown in with some steel guitar and faint banjo in the background. Whereas his debut single felt like it could have afforded to have more flavor to its sound, “In Love By Now” learns from those mistakes. It might not pack as much of a punch as that song, but the wistful, sunnier tone suits the song better overall anyway.
Lyrical content is still Green’s weak point, as while the song is likable, the imagery is fairly nondescript and conventional (a girl riding in a shotgun seat, cover bands, Ray Bans). It’s the song sentiment, however, that ultimately makes it likable. The song adopts a familiar focus of the aftermath of a relationship, but it’s not meant to cast sympathy on Green. Instead, the song focuses on the other party in the relationship and how well she’s doing now that she’s moved on. Green doesn’t shy away from owning up to his pain, but the point of the song is that he’s happy for her, especially when the song comes with the implication that he’s the one who messed up the relationship. It’s a mature perspective that doesn’t detract from the reality of the situation, and the brighter tones of the song ultimately make it sound like a fun celebration, especially when the song also implies both parties will ultimately be alright in the end.
Vocally, Green still isn’t the most distinctive singer in the world, but like with his debut single, his personality really helps sell the song. He’s a charismatic, likable performer, and just like with the lyrical content, he never sounds bitter over the situation. Again, he’s obviously hurt, but you can tell he’s ultimately happy she got what she deserved. On top of that, Green himself once again maintains an impressive flow atop a bright melody.
“In Love By Now” doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel or will challenge for a song of the year distinction, but it puts an unconventional twist on a familiar topic in country music, and that means something. Again, Green hasn’t shown much versatility as an artist yet, but he sticks to what he knows – bright, uptempo, guitar-driven songs with breezier accompaniments and a likable personality behind it all. Hopefully “In Love By Now” can be the song to really put Green on the map.