Craig Morgan – “Bonfire”
Listening to Craig Morgan’s latest album, That’s Why, how many of you think to yourselves, “This album would be perfect if it just had a song about drinking with your friends at a party outside of town?” Me neither. But apparently Morgan and producer Phil O’Donnell did, and they’ve decided to re-release the album and replace two of the original tracks with two new ones, including Morgan’s next single, “Bonfire.”
With “Bonfire,” Morgan joins the annual summer ritual of artists and labels competing to see who can release the most popular anthem by attempting to recapture the fun and flavor of “Redneck Yacht Club.” If you’re willing to overlook the production, the lyrics and the melody, he does just that. If those three things matter to you, I’m afraid this is just another forgettable attempt at a party song that will serve as background music for your summer barbecue.
The song features a collection of nameless, faceless people gathered around a bonfire outside of town to drink. That’s it. There is no description of any of these people, what their backgrounds are or what they’re doing besides drinking and “partying,” whatever that means. The only person who is identified as an individual is the obligatory police officer who seems to show up at all of these shindigs and scares everyon–only to join in on the fun himself. What a twist!
The ramped up electric guitars that open the song could easily lead someone to mistake it for a Jason Aldean tune, and things go downhill from there. With little concern for dynamics, the production remains at full blast for most of the three minutes, leaving Morgan in a perpetual shouting match to try to be heard over the instrumentation. As a result, any semblance of a real melody is lost in the ruckus. Suddenly the lyrics seem like a minor issue compared to the production.
Craig Morgan is a talented artist with one of the more distinctive voices in country music today, but he has hampered himself once again with poor song selection as he has forgone artistic merit in favor of commercial success. “Bonfire” will likely be a hit, but that says more about commercial radio than about the song itself.
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