Album Review: Lee Brice – Love Like Crazy

Karlie Justus Marlowe | July 26th, 2010

Lee Brice - Love Like CrazyIf the lyrics on Lee Brice’s debut album are any indication, the young singer likes things that don’t change: True love, small-town country living, neighborhood bars and the unpredictability of life. Hopefully his fans feel the same way, as the songs on Love Like Crazy steadfastly stay the clichéd course.

While almost every song can be classified under stereotypical Formative Backwoods Country-isms, Friday Night Hijinks and Old People Are Wise categories, Brice’s bewilderingly bizarre production choices and musical stylings are unpredictably jarring. Within a 45-minute span, listeners are jostled between rip-offs of Hank Williams, Jr., sleepy island songs reminiscent of Jack Johnson and spoken-word verses that would make Ke$ha proud.

Still, for an album that struggles with manic mediocrity, Love Like Crazy can claim at least one standout: “Four on the Floor,” an odd experiment in electronica, rap and rock music that comes close to tainting the entire collection, is easily the worst song of the year. Conversely, Brice shines brightest when channeling Clay Walker on “Beautiful Every Time,” playing with phrasing on “She Ain’t Right” and voicing his longing on the unfortunately titled “Happy Endings,” which earns points for mentioning Myrtle Beach in a country love song.

In the end, however, Brice is right–some things, including misguided attempts at debut albums, really never change.

1.5 Stars

  1. Thomas
    July 26, 2010 at 7:39 am

    …finally, nashville seems to become a little edgier again. no more of that familiar “bang in the middle” three-stars stuff. however, i wonder, whether aiming for five-star quality might not be the more promising path? just a thought.

  2. WAYNOE
    July 26, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Karlie,

    While I understand you comment, “While almost every song can be classified under stereotypical Formative Backwoods Country-isms, Friday Night Hijinks and Old People Are Wise categories”, can you please let us know what subject matter would interest you?

    It is certainly obvious that songs about country life, God & guns, red white and blue, run on Saturday night and go to church on Sunday morning, sweet tea and cherry pie automatically put said songs with these lyrics in 9513 trash heap.

    I’m not saying that I don’t tire of these as well, BUT PLEASE GIVE US AN IDEA WHAT IN THE HECK YOU WOULD LIKE IN THE LYRICS!

    Why not make a list of what things need to appear in a song for you, or other bloggers/critics/whatever to give it a good rating? Seriously, I am not disagreeing with your rating, but give us what you would liek.

  3. WAYNOE
    July 26, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Oops. Revise last word to “like.” How careless of me.

  4. Derek
    July 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Wow… thats a harsh review, I know this album has a few duds but it also has some enjoyable songs. ie Happy Endings, She Ain’t Right, Sumter Country Friday Night

  5. Lewis
    July 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Wow!! That’s the lowest rating that I’ve seen for an album on here ever. Lee Brice is nothing like Jack Johnson or Ke$ha in that Lee is not a pop singer or a rapper. He’s a great country singer who is about to have a song reach 50 weeks on the country charts with Love Like Crazy. Lee Brice is in the same league as Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson and Justin Moore in that he’s a singer-songwriter who enjoys what he does.

    And Karlie, if you don’t like Lee Brice, may I give you some advice and let someone else handle the review of Lee’s next album instead of you. And I’ll ask you, what country music artists do you really like, if any? Be honest now as we know that you have slammed a country singer with your review.

    One guess I have is that Karlie is someone who listens to Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or whatever floats her boat in the pop world with very little or no interest in country music at all. If she was into country music, she would not have given Lee a rating of 1 1/4 stars.

    Have a nice day!!

  6. WAYNOE
    July 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Best count I have is Justis is “DOWN” on 10 singles and “UP” on 9.

    This does not count for album reviews I will be starting to track album reviews as well as the singles in the near future. I will sporadically post the summarized results as I know the expert critics on this site will wait with abated breath to receive them.

  7. WAYNOE
    July 26, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Sorry that I misspelled again. Been a hectic morning. Meant to type Justus.

  8. Lewis
    July 26, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Waynoe: How many of those reviews that Karlie Justus gave favorable reviews to belonged to country-pop singers? Not talking about traditional country singers here like Alan Jackson, George Strait, etc. but country-pop singers like Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, etc.

    I believe when Karlie reviews both Taylor Swift’s new single and new album and calls them “THE BEST THING I EVER HEARD” then we know where Karlie’s personal feelings are favored towards and she’ll be up for the year.

  9. Brady Vercher
    July 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Waynoe: “Why not make a list of what things need to appear in a song for you, or other bloggers/critics/whatever to give it a good rating?

    If it’s not obvious enough, maybe you should go back and read the reviews for the songs that got a positive rating. Just maybe?

  10. Stormy
    July 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I personally would like to hear more songs about people being stalked by impassioned tornedos.

  11. Lewis
    July 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Brady: It does really matter when the reviewer is favorable towards singers who sing about love stories, fairy tales, songs with multiple syllables and repetition and bordering on pop artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa and mentioning Lee Brice in the same vein as Jack Johnson and Ke$ha. The only two country music people she mentioned in her review were Hank Williams, Jr. and Clay Walker. Don’t know whether she put Hank Jr. and Clay in there just to be fair or whether it was insulting towards Lee because he’s not a pop singer and doesn’t look or act the part of it.

  12. Leeann Ward
    July 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Lewis,
    Where in the world are you getting that Karlie likes Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, etc.? Because she doesn’t like this album, which easily fits the same category of those artists? You keep complaining that she mentioned Jack Johnson, Justin Beiber (who she doesn’t even mention), and Lady Gaga (also not mentioned in the review) in the review, but she doesn’t make the comparisons favorably, so I’m losing the point of your comments.

  13. Brady Vercher
    July 26, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Lewis: “It does really matter when the reviewer is favorable towards singers who sing about love stories, fairy tales, songs with multiple syllables and repetition and bordering on pop artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa

    It was idiotic the first time you said that and nothing’s changed this time around.

    The only two country music people she mentioned in her review were Hank Williams, Jr. and Clay Walker.

    And your point is?

  14. Lewis
    July 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    LeeAnn: I don’t believe that Lee Brice fits in the categories of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts at all. He belongs in the categories where Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, and Justin Moore are. Do you think that Jamey, Randy and Justin are of the same vein as Taylor, Carrie, and RF?

    Karlie might have just said that Lee Brice is a trashy singer with her review and that’s a total insult to believe that Lee needs to become someone he’s not.

  15. Leeann Ward
    July 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I think Lee Brice may be in the same category as Randy Houser and Justin Moore, both artists I do not like, but I don’t think that any of them are much like Jamey Johnson.

  16. Leeann Ward
    July 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Lewis,
    My real problem with your comments, however, is your random, unfounded assumptions regarding Karlie’s tastes.

    You also say: “One guess I have is that Karlie is someone who listens to Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or whatever floats her boat in the pop world with very little or no interest in country music at all.”

    How ridiculous.

  17. Stewman
    July 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I will now immediately go listen to “Four on the Floor”. Songs like “backwoods” “holler back” and alike are sooo bad, they are listenable for the comic relief.

  18. WAYNOE
    July 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Brady or Brody,

    Getting a little lazy aren’t you? Can’t you articulate a response better than that?

    Lewis,
    Here’s the list for Karlie and you can determine from that:

    Justus – Taylor Swift – DOWN
    Justus – Alan Jackson – UP
    Justus – Danny Gokey – DOWN
    Justus – Trace Adkins – DOWN
    Justus – Jimmy Wayne – DOWN
    Justus – Uncle Kracker – “Smile” – DOWN
    Justis – Jonalee White – Naked as Fools – DOWN
    Justus – James Otto – Groovy Little Summer Song – UP
    Justus – Randy Montana – Ain’t Much Left Of Lovin’ You – UP
    Justus – Mallory Hope – Blossom in the Dust – UP
    Justus – Easton Corbin – Leavin A Lonely Two – ???????-seems to be an up
    Justus – Josh Turner – All Over Me – UP
    Justus – Alan Jackson – Hard Hat and Hammer – UP
    Justus-Chuck Wicks-Hold That Thought – UP
    Justus-Bomshel-Just Fine-Down
    JUSTUS-ERIC CHURCH-SMOKE A LITTLE SMOKE – UP
    Justus-Billy Currington – Pretty Good at Drinkin’ – DOWN
    Justus-Tobacco Road-Stiff Drink-Down
    JUSTUS-STEEL MAGNOLIA-JUST BY BEING YOU – DOWN

    There is one I was unsure of and it’s noted.

    Also some of the earlier reviews I did not include the song title.

  19. Leeann Ward
    July 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Ha. “4 on the Floor” is totally on my workout playlist that I never use.

  20. Paul W Dennis
    July 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    The list of songs Karlie rated as compiled by Waynoe isn’t a Hall of Fame listing of great songs. It is, by and large, a pretty mediocre group of songs. Karlie gave no upward turned thumbs for songs that were out-and- out dogs and she gave no downwarded pointed thumbs for any truly great songs or performances. A lot of her up or down thumbs would be pointed sideways (for sheer indifference or ennui) were I doing reviews.

    I don’t usually agree with her assessments BUT she deserves considerable credit for being willing to stake out a position – it takes courage when all of the fan club attack dogs are too willing to condemn on the slightest provocation

  21. WAYNOE
    July 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Paul,

    You stated, “A lot of her up or down thumbs would be pointed sideways (for sheer indifference or ennui) were I doing reviews.”

    Can’t disagree with that.

  22. SW
    July 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    How the hell did “Four on the Floor” make a country album? “Carolina Boys:” same question? Regardless of your feelings towards this review, or reviewer for that matter, you need to recognize that the songs on this album wouldn’t make it on any other album. Brice wrote all but three songs on the album. Do you think the ten he wrote would have ever been recorded if not for his record deal? He picked bad songs.

  23. Stewman
    July 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I reckon the backwards ball cap is his signature look and his non-verbal communication to frat boys everywhere that “he’s one of them”.

  24. Rick
    July 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I saw this guy in concert in Fresno a couple years ago and he struck me as a “full of himself” blowhard of the first order. Now that a single of his is finally doing well on AirHead Country Radio, his ego will soon be competing with John Rich for the biggest in Nashville! That’s just freakin’ awesome…

  25. Benny
    July 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I think 1.5 is a bit harsh, gave the album 3 stars myself mainly because of the excellent title track of which is no mention in the review even you guys gave it a thumbs up. Well the rest is pretty much Nashville fodder but neither much offensive or bad with a few shining moments. I don’t think over-analyzing the reviewers other reviews or rating ratio makes much sense, I have better things to do anyhow..
    Well yeah the single rocks, but hope he and Curb have better things in store, lol.

  26. Jon G.
    July 26, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Hmmm…Lewis is strange.

    Musically, I think Randy Houser and Justin Moore are closer to rock than real country. And they’re just not that good.

    I’m not sure what makes Lee Brice so country, either. I mean, he’s contemporary country. He’s probably more country than Carrie or Taylor, but that’s like saying getting shot in the kneecap is probably less painful than being stabbed in the gut. His singles certainly have more in common with the songs of Rascal Flatts than those of Jamey Johnson.

    I guess Brice, Houser, and Moore are all artists that rely on lyrical genre cliches and songs about how country they are to solidify their cred. If you’re really country, you don’t need songs like “Backwoods,” “Small Town U.S.A.,” or “Boots On” to prove it. You don’t have to say you’re an “‘aw-shucks’ country boy” who “loves this place.” The music will speak for itself.

    With artists like Alan Jackson, Easton Corbin, Randy Montana, and Josh Turner on her list of “Thumbs Up” reviews, I think it’s safe to say that Justus generally likes neo-traditional leaning artists. The aledged correlation between her musical tastes and Gaga or whoever lacks evidence.

    Also, how Lewis determined from the clearly negative comparisons to Ke$ha and Jack Johnson that Justus was a fan of pop music is beyond me.

    And Lewis might be surprised to learn that all of the other critical reviews of the album “Love Like Crazy” that I’ve read have been similarly negative.

    Anyway, these points have almost all been pointed out; Lewis’ comments were so fundamentally flawed and just plain weird that I thought they needed reiterating.

    As far as my own opinion, I really like “Happy Endings” and the title track, but “She Ain’t Right” is so boring that the word ‘mediocre’ is too high a praise for me to give. But that’s just me. I’m unfamiliar with the rest of the album.

    The sideways thumb comment from Paul applies to me as well, at least in terms of most of Karlie’s ‘UP’s. I still think the ‘DOWNS’ deserve their ratings, though.

  27. Jon G.
    July 26, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Sorry for the rambling.

  28. Fizz
    July 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    More unimaginative music for unimaginative people. I understand I’m not really the target audience for this kind of thing, and frankly, I’m glad.

    What do I want to hear about in country songs? Prison! Cheating! Roaming! Drinking (something stronger than Bud Light). And not being sorry about any of it. I want an element of danger and escapism. If your idea of escapism is daydreaming about the Friday-night boot-scoot at the VFW, hey, more power to you, but I need more edge than that. This music is like Porzac: it makes you feel good in a really superficial, disingenuous way. It’s bubblegum music for grownups.

  29. Bobby P.
    July 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I think 1 1/2 stars may be a bit harsh if three songs merit positive words. But stars can be a bit tricky; for instance, I really like “If I Die Young” but I gave it only 3 1/2 because I didn’t think it would resonate too well with an older audience.

    Honestly, I thought this whole album was great, but that’s neither here nor there.

  30. Jaclyn Jill
    September 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Okay first of all, If I could give a review of this so-called here review; I would give it zero stars. I almost threw up a little when Karlie used Lee Brice and Ke$ha in the same paragraph let alone review itself. I mean, you cannot compare pure trash to pure talent. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion yes, which is why I’m voicing mine. Lee is a true talent who writes from his heart and his soul shines through his voice. “Four on the Floor” is also quite a great song also so I’m not too sure where that slam came from but okay. In fact, I have had the cd playing in my car for the last 3 months and I never get tired of it. Just saying…this review sucked and Lee deserves waaay more than that.

  31. Paul W Dennis
    September 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Karlie’s review was worth three stars (she’s done better). Jaclyn Jill’s review of the review is worth zero stars (only becasue I refuse to go into negative numbers).

    I assume Ms Jill heads (or is it deadheads ?) Mr Brice’s fan club. Only a diehard fan would consider this song anything more than filler

  32. Rosemary
    November 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I guess Love Like Crazy should be his theme….to all Mothers out there…do not bring your 18 year old daughter to his concert….they are ALLOWED ON THE TOUR BUS AND ALLOWED TO DRINK!!! Would I have been thrilled at 18…of course…BUT I am now a mother and the drinking age is 21!! Talk about Love like Crazy…I hope when he has an 18 year old daughter he writes about that!!!! Maybe she will be on tour with someone else! Lee does not deserve Rave reviews….Unfortunately the old Hick is coming out in him…aren’t they allowed to marry their 18 year old sister’s where he comes from??????????? I’m all done listening to his songs…

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