Brad Paisley — “Beat This Summer”
And now, ladies and gentlemen, commentary on a new Brad Paisley song other than “Accidental Racist.”
With all of the attention around that LL Cool J collaboration, it could be easy to lose Paisley’s second single in the chaos. Luckily, the only commotion around “Beat This Summer” exists within its own tangle of sonic ambition — and produces a prime example of modern country music pushing boundaries within traditional framing.
Count on Paisley to amp up the instrumentation on a standard summer love tune, layering banjo strings with bends of his famous electric guitar licks to create a funky foundation for his straightforward storyline. It pairs nicely with the song’s sandy beach set-up, where Paisley rightly bets on his boyish charm to sell both the ups and downs of young regional romance: “Like the Ferris wheel goes around and around/Well the trouble with up is there’s always a down.”
The contrast in swirling instrumentation and simple lyric delivery is stark and successful, adding interest and spark. But here, the storyline isn’t so much the focus as is it is the feeling of frenetic love with an expiration date -and Paisley’s brilliant underpinnings support its surprises, dips and surges.
It’s a bummer, then, when Fun-style background vocals are tacked onto the summer fun, on top of DJ scratching, echoes, electric guitar solos and distorted vocals. “Beat This Summer” would be a lot to take in just as an instrumental track; add on these gimmicky extras, and it very nearly goes into overload. First impressions matter on country radio, and this song requires a few of them to fully digest.
That’s the balancing act Paisley has taken on in his role as country music’s most daring regular dude. For better or worse, he never seems afraid to approach taboo subjects head-on or try out all 20 ideas on one song when perhaps 15 would suffice – hence the recent stars and bars hullabaloo. But on “Beat This Summer,” at least, that bravery serves him well.
- Juli Thanki: Indeed, Richie. Leslie Knope is my spirit animal.
- Six String Richie: That Parks & Rec. clip was perfection! Everybody reading this blog should watch it even if they don't watch the …
- Ben Foster: I'm coveting Dolly Parton's "Blue Smoke" 45.
- Barry Mazor: Speculation is free!
- Jack: Taste of Country has a pretty shallow point of view, and this little blurb is exhibit A.
- Leeann Ward: It is admittedly fun to speculate about these things.
- luckyoldsun: I wonder if the key to learning Gong Kwon Yu Sul is to be higher than a kite. lol
- luckyoldsun: Barry, I didn't say or imply that I have superior knowledge about the nominating process or workings--I'm just willing to make …
- CraigR.: After watching Easton Corbin's video I am left wondering where the man who made " I'm A Little Bit More …
- Barry Mazor: Well, gee, Taste of Country that sure clears that up. The argument's over--and it only took 200 words. …