Kenny Chesney – “Ain’t Back Yet”
Kenny Chesney’s newest single begins with the couplet “I heard a song ’bout a ramblin’ man/Bought a guitar and I started a band.” Whether he’s singing about classic ramblin’ tunes by Hank Williams or the Allman Brothers, it’s never a good idea to begin a bad song with allusions to better ones. It’s all downhill from there.
“Ain’t Back Yet” is one of two songs newly tacked on to the soon to be re-released Greatest Hits II (the other one is “This Is Our Moment”). It’s also going to play during the closing credits of Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3-D. Let’s hope the song isn’t representative of the movie. Unlike Chesney’s singles of the past four or five years, there’s not a trace of beachy pop to be found here. And for once, that’s a bad thing. When “Ain’t Back Yet” starts up, it sounds like a second rate Jason Aldean song. The drums and Generic Guitar Riff #27 lead into an average vocal performance and bland lyric.
Co-writers Craig Wiseman (“The Good Stuff,” et al.) and Chris Tompkins (“Before He Cheats”) hit all the Upbeat Summer Hit buzzwords (guitars, Corvettes, girls), but “Ain’t Back Yet” is still boring despite their best efforts. Although we’ve heard lyrics like “Looking back at the moments black and white/I wouldn’t change a thing that could change my life/For the worse, for the better/Man, I was gone, gone forever” before, a strong, convincing vocal could have made it sound fresh, or at least captured the listener’s attention. Chesney’s phoning it in; both the laid-back charm and the ability to sell a story that he’s exhibited on other songs just aren’t there.
Of course, this single’s weaknesses won’t slow its success on the charts. At this point in his career Chesney could release three and a half minutes of armpit farts and it’d break into the Top 10. But if you’re not a die-hard Kenny fan from the soles of your flip-flops to the brim of your straw cowboy hat, stay away from “Ain’t Back Yet.”
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