Justin Moore – “Backwoods”
Songwriters: Justin Moore, Jeremy Stover and Jamie Paulin.
Justin Moore must be riding high after “Small Town USA” hit #1, so what a great time to capitalize on his growing name recognition and rising album sales! Or he could release “Backwoods,” one of the weakest songs on his debut album, as his third single.
Imagine you were a visitor to the South from, say, the planet Mars. “Backwoods” would provide you with all the buzzwords needed to blend in while you work on that second edition of To Serve Man. Moore lists a series of items meant to convey backwoods-ness: gun racks, cold Budweiser, blue tick hounds, and buck knives. What do people do with all these accessories in the backwoods? They go tubing with a preacher’s daughter who “couldn’t get hotter”. In case the listener happens to be one of those Martian/non-backwoods types who is hopelessly unaware of what an inner tube is or how a person accompanied by a hot preacher’s daughter travels down the river in one, Moore helpfully provides a “splash” and a “ha-ha” seemingly intended to be playful but so soulless you’ve got to wonder if he plans on giving said young lady the “Knoxville Girl” treatment.
From the preacher’s daughter to the “work hard, play hard” lyric, clichés abound in “Backwoods.” But even the worst of clichés can sometimes be forgiven if the song’s other elements are far above average, or if it’s got a wildly catchy hook. “Backwoods” has none of those things. There’s no story or sense of forward movement here, just a list of stuff set to generic guitar with a half-assed chorus tacked on. There is a hint of banjo and pedal steel, but there’s nothing about the music itself that’s particularly memorable after the song is over.
Justin Moore has a good voice, as is evident on “Small Town USA,” which makes the shouting he does here even more of a shame. He’s also capable of writing a good song: “Grandpa” is a moving tribute, and “Hank It” is a catchy country rocker that Bocephus himself might dig, and not just because he lends the song its title. “Backwoods” sounds like something stolen from Jason Aldean’s recycle bin, but considering the popularity of these types of songs, it’ll probably zoom up the charts anyway.
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