Album Review: Kip Moore — Up All Night

Sam Gazdziak | May 31st, 2012

kipmooreupallnightWith the success of Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, Eric Church and the like, it was only a matter of time before new outlaws would start to pop up. Kip Moore represents Version 2.0 of the Outlaw Movement (3.0 if you want to go all the way back to the Willie/Waylon Era). The rough edges are a little more polished in this version, the songs are a little more generic, but the bravado, the party lyrics and rural references are all present and accounted for.

Moore is proof that if you mention trucks and homemade wine enough times in your songs, you qualify as a country singer. Up All Night is loaded with electric guitars, with the occasional steel, but the production is more akin to a polished pop record than a rough-around-the-edges rock album. Moore has some grit in his voice, but the amount of mellow songs on the album don’t really give him the chance to use it. “Drive Me Crazy,” co-written with Thompson Square’s Keifer Thompson, is one of the few times where he really gets to cut loose vocally. It’s one of the album’s highlights.

Eric Church would be the obvious point of reference for Moore. He attempts Church’s bravado in “Reckless (Still Growin’ Up),” where he drinks, smokes pot and threatens to shove something up a record producer’s ass (switching Moore’s baseball cap for a cowboy hat is interfering with his artistic vision, apparently), but it still comes across as inferior to Church’s “Drink in My Hand” or “Smoke a Little Smoke.” “Hey Pretty Girl,” meanwhile, sounds more like a Bruce Springsteen song (specifically, “I’m on Fire”) than Church’s “Springsteen.”

The better tracks on the album deviate from the outlaw formula. Despite the “Amazing Grace” snippet at the beginning of the song, “Faith When I Fall” is more spiritual than religious, and it’s Moore’s best vocal performance. “Everything But You,” about about a post-breakup life, has enough creative details to give it some authenticity.

Moore’s debut single, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” is a certified hit but does have the distinction of being one of the weakest songs of 2012. Take all of the cliche-ridden songs from Luke Bryan and Justin Moore, break them down to their basic elements – truck, beer, hot girl, sex – and you have “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.” This song is so country that it requires two apostrophes. Still, without any substantial narrative, it ends up being less of a song and more of a spreadsheet containing all the buzzwords required to have a hit on country radio today.

That’s the problem with Up All Night as a whole. It comes across more as a very calculated marketing effort than an organic body of work. It’s a perfectly acceptable product that is precisely manufactured to appeal to fans of Aldean, Justin Moore, Church and others who would call themselves “outlaws.” There are a few rowdy songs about drinking and partying but enough tender ballads to appeal to every demographic. There are country references galore – Johnny Cash gets name-checked, naturally – but the songs themselves are pop- or rock-oriented to keep things from sounding too “country.” There’s nothing offensive about the album, but there’s also nothing terribly original either.

2.5 Stars

  1. bob
    May 31, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Re “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.” Great line: “This song is so country that it requires two apostrophes.”
    Re the song & the rest of the album – not so great.

  2. Rick
    May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    This album marks yet another milestone on AirHead Country Music’s road to artistic irrelevancy. Its commercial product tailored to the current marketplace and nothing more. Will “Classic Country” radio stations decades from now ever play this kind of stuff? I certainly hope not.

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on Engine145.com. You're good at what you do, and The …
  • bob: Go Brandy FGL - Just go away.

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton