In the ‘Gravity’ album era Big & Rich have made a habit of releasing solid, radio-friendly love songs set to a modern country/pop/rock sound, and their latest single is no exception. A fan favorite featuring Tim McGraw, ‘Lovin’ Lately’ is the third single from their 2014 project and finds the narrator pining over a lover who left him. It’s a letter of sorts to his ex who his friends don’t necessarily know is now his ex, and he’s been calling her everyday with no reply (this guy just doesn’t know to take a hint. Move on dude!). He fruitlessly asks his ex who she’s been knocking around with lately, and it does come across as something of a desperate plea rooted in the depths of heartbreak. This is exemplified most clearly in the bridge, where they repeat “I don’t wanna know, but I gotta know,” over and over, showing how conflicted the guy feels as his misses his lady.
Big & Rich have had back-to-back top 10s for the first time ever in their career with prior singles ‘Look At You’ and ‘Run Away With You’, so it’s clear they’re really onto something. Their biggest success has been with the more serious material, so I’m glad they’re choosing to stick with it. I’m not their biggest fan, but these singles, including the latest one, have been pleasant enough that I wouldn’t turn them off if they came on the radio, which is saying something given my reaction to a lot of stuff these past few years.
The music itself is pretty easy on the ears, employing mandolin and tasteful electric guitar along with a muted drum loop for the verses, while real drums, bigger guitars and full multi-layered harmonies join to flesh out the chorus. Regardless, it’s pretty reserved, and like a lot of their material it has elements of adult contemporary providing them a larger audience. The mid-tempo track probably isn’t going to be huge, and I won’t have it on repeat for days, but I do see it at least looking to match the success of its predecessors. It’s a good song for the winter and delivers some heartfelt lyrics with a pleasant, mainstream sound – a good choice.
The only thing is is that Tim McGraw’s vocals aren’t particularly prominent. In fact, I kept forgetting he was even on the song. He never takes the lead and instead is embedded in the harmonies, which seems odd given they would want to make the most out of his involvement. Regardless, it’s a good selling point and it is exactly the type of song he would record himself.
This track gets a thumbs up from me.
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