Often I tend to judge music in three ways, good, bad and ‘the fuck are you doing’.
The Band Perry have in a relatively short space of time become one of the biggest stars in country music. With an infectious pop/country sound they appeal to many fans who wouldn’t necessarily listen to country music. For me The Band Perry have given fans a bit of everything; whenever I’ve seen them live, they really bring their songs to life and generally are just a bundle of energy.
However, the stadium rock tracks are not why people people fell in love with TBP; their breakout hit ‘When I Die Young’ is arguably one of the best songs of the decade, and it was the one song that set them apart from other bands of their ilk (Gloriana, Dan and Shay, Love and Theft). Instead, it put them on a similar level to Lady Antebellum. Their variety has been impressive over the years, for every ‘Done’, ‘Chainsaw’, ‘You Lie’, appealing to a more commercial audience, you also have ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely’, ‘Postcard From Paris’ and ‘Pioneer’.
So, needless to say there was quite a degree of anticipation for their forthcoming single ‘Live Forever’. Much like realizing I’ll never have a chance of dating Kimberley Perry, I was left with a feeling of disappointment, and another which can be best summarized as ‘The fuck are you doing’.
I am not sure really where to start with ‘Live Forever’, as take away the minor hint of a banjo at the start, the production is too full on and it’s just pop all over. Lyrically it’s hardly the most inspiring either, with a very vague subject line of “This time I want it all… Lets go crazy, we gonna live forever”. For me this sounds very much like what someone who has just popped some ‘e’ in a club would say, not the result of hours of song-writing. Generally speaking I struggled to gasp any sense of lyrics – normally it’s easy to search for a subliminal meaning within a song, as even the most upbeat songs can often have a message or at least a coherent theme, but the opening verse of the song again leads to more confusion.
“I was dreaming of war, saw that I wouldn’t die, was dreaming of choice that my ship would fight, I was dreaming because it made me feel so alive, was dreaming it all from my bed last night.”
Then the next verse… “You will be my only one, hold my hand so we can run”. Unfortunately that Shakespeare dude has been dead a while, so I can’t really call on him to make any sense of it.
Now the song is not all bad; if you have a Kimberley Perry in your group then you always stand a chance, as you could argue that she turned ‘If I Die Young’ from a great song into a classic. You watch her perform ‘Done’ live and you couldn’t really imagine anyone other then her singing it, because she has that ability to put her own stamp on a song, with her raspy vocals her sound is distinctive.
So thankfully she is able to turn ‘Live Forever’ from a below average to average song. ‘Live Forever’ is hardly the worst song that will come out this year, as vocally it’s decent and it’s got a catchy hook. It’s a cheerful radio friendly hit and with a new album expected this fall, it makes sense.
However I really hope this is not a sign of things to come. The disappointment here is that TBP team have gone to great lengths to create what is in essence a pop hit in order appeal to their mass market, which again is fine, they have records to sell. But if you go through their back catalogue I am sure you will agree this has nothing on their best work. They have set themselves high standards and that is perhaps why I am more disappointed in ‘Live Forever’ then I would be normally.
The quality of their music overall allows them the benefit of the doubt and it would be grossly unfair for me to make a judgement for their new era, until I have had a chance to listen to their new record.
Get The Band Perry tickets here.