Blake Shelton — “Drink on It”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | January 12th, 2012

blakesheltonSongwriters: Rodney Clawson, Jesse Alexander and Jon Randall

Those fuzzy hours between the first sip of a strong drink and Sunday morning coming down can sometimes end up a bit troubling. What happened? Was that slurring, shouted karaoke session funny, pathetic or some combination thereof? Could the night be considered one for the record books, or just embarrassingly awkward?

That hazy, hung-over scenario closely resembles the mixed bag that is Blake Shelton’s new single “Drink on It,” a boozy, smooth-talking song that’s all style, little substance, and delivered without so much of a wink-wink, nudge-nudge to soften its rough edges. Between all of the charm and cheese, it’s hard to know whether to deem it a sleepy success or flailing failure.

One thing’s for sure: The song is a two-stepper’s dream, with the reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year gamely navigating an old-school ‘80s country sound that hangs well on his voice. The vibe of “Drink On It” is his most valuable asset here, a fitting description of the singer himself as of late. Between his half of country music’s most famous newlyweds and larger-than-life presence on Twitter, Shelton’s recent surge has stemmed more from award show wins and reality singing competitions than record sales and stellar song material. That’s neither a damning piece of evidence nor a resounding professional coup, but it does demonstrate how the singer’s personality and experience have sent a buoying breath of life into his career over the past few years.

And while the tune’s lyrical twists and satisfying production choices make for an intriguing follow-up to his mixed bag of recent singles, it’s Shelton’s delivery of the lyrics’ questionable intentions that sinks this ship. His voice sounds thin, missing the smokiness of its barroom setting; and although it’s probably an accurate part of this protagonist’s working vocabulary, jargon such as “cosmo” and “prick” ring awkwardly forced.

It doesn’t help, of course, that the premise is a thinly veiled attempt to liquor a lady up before bed, with suggestions like “Maybe later on we can sleep on it/But for right now, girl we just need to drink on it.” In fact, it could very well be a precursor to wife Miranda Lambert’s upcoming stint on Law and Order: SVU, complete with a questionably boozy sounding female back-up singer.

In the end, just like that blacked-out night, all that’s left is a bad taste in your mouth and a half-hearted vow of never again. But like the bottle, Shelton’s suave, catchy take on “Drink on It” ends up hard to resist.

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  1. Thomas
    January 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    …it could have been a no brainer for the top spot of the charts, if only someone would have had the courage – not the tennesseean one – to say: “hang on guys, this almost beats any josh turner lyrics, when it comes to being really, really boring.”

    when you blow chances like that – you are almost excused, when you drink on it.

  2. Paul W Dennis
    January 17, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I think that you’re reading too much into this – it’s not an immortal classic, definitely not PC (which is a good thing – I have no use for PC “thinking”) – there’s so much stuff on the radio that is so much worse that I’d give it a C+ and leave it at that

  3. Nolan
    February 20, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I really like Blake Shelton, both musically and his personality/attitude. I’m afraid this entire album bored me half to death, I gave it a listen and didn’t hear one song that I ever care to hear again. It’s soft, it’s soccer mom country, and it’s not the Blake I know.

  4. Jon
    February 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    it’s not the Blake I know.

    Know him pretty well, do ya?

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