Single Review: Kane Brown, “One Mississippi”

(Bonus review: Keith Urban’s “Wild Hearts,” for Country Universe)

One Mississippi cover

Despite my mostly negative track record with Kane Brown’s output, I want to like the guy. He’s got a solid voice and, as of late, has shown a desire to record more traditional country material. Not that that automatically makes a song better, mind you, but his thicker drawl has always been better suited for it, and he’s got potential. But his heart is also set in pop music, and I wouldn’t mind hearing a genuinely good blend of the two from him.

The problem is, even at his best, he mostly settles for these weird fusions of traditional and contemporary, like here, where the fiddle receives prominent play and supports a surprisingly good melody and one of his best hooks, but also feels weirdly blended against the thicker percussion, especially on the overly bombastic chorus that strips away the track’s more unique detail. Still, there are elements to appreciate, like the opening with the gentler acoustics or even the understated – if all too short – bridge. It’s just so loud otherwise, and for no discernible reason. 

It’s also an on-again, off-again relationship track that doesn’t really explore the deeper issues with this particular couple or leads to any sort of payoff other than an endless cycle of honky-tonk-badonkadonkin’, and it’s the sort of song I’ve just heard performed convincingly better elsewhere – even as recently through the underlying tension and unease that makes Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave” one of the better radio singles of the year so far.

It’s better than average for him, but I’m still not sold yet.

Grade: B-

Written by Ernest Keith Smith, Jesse Frasure, Kane Brown, and Levon Gray

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