Kenny Chesney featuring George Strait – “Shiftwork”

Brady Vercher | December 12th, 2007

Kenny Chesney For as few duets as George Strait does, he agreed to record a real clunker here. “Shiftwork” barely touches on the working man’s plight and doesn’t really go much beyond slightly complaining about “a big ol’ pile of shiftwork.” The fact that it’s light and fluffy isn’t that big of a deal and doesn’t necessarily make it a bad song. What makes this a bad song is that it’s dull and boring, with zero redeeming qualities. If music is supposed to make you feel something, then this song captures the monotony of “shiftwork,” but who in their right mind is going to want to be bored when they listen to a song? And who’s going to want to be bored repeatedly?

It’s common practice for the artist with fewer accomplishments to lay down the vocals for their track and ship the track off to their accompanying vocal partner to record at a later date, as was done with this song. This duet, however, turns out to be nothing more than a decently recorded karaoke performance that stretches on for way too long and whose only appeal is the names of the recording artists. That alone can’t save an already mediocre song.

Thumbs Down

1 Ping

  1. [...] Day“, “Back When I Knew It All,” “Put A Girl In It,” and “Shiftwork” the best that country music can come up with for national [...]
  1. Chris N.
    December 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    So they get George Strait to do a duet, and then have him sing … a poop joke.

  2. Brady Vercher
    December 12, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    The magic eight ball says, “It would appear so.” Then again, what would be a good subject for a Chesney/Strait duet?

  3. Corey
    December 12, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    My sentiments exactly. I love Strait and Kenny usually picks some great songs but… What a big ol’ pile of …. this one is.

  4. Peter Kohan
    December 12, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Hmmmm… a good topic for a Chesney-Strait duet… something about Mexico sounds about right.

  5. Heidi
    December 13, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Kenny and George are in my top five favourite artists. A duet from them makes me happy no matter what the topic (but then again, I admit to being shallow LOL) I agree that the song is a bit of a snooze though.

    Have you seen the video? Lots of chesty women washing cars and work weary dudes singing George’s part. It’s a bit weird.

  6. Brody Vercher
    December 13, 2007 at 11:37 am

    This song is a big pile of “shiftwork.”

    And about as clever as my previous statement.

  7. Brody Vercher
    December 13, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Oh yea, and that car in the video is pretty nice.

  8. Chris N.
    December 13, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Chesty women washing cars, eh? I’m open to reconsidering my position on this song once I’ve seen the video.

  9. Gregory Bailey
    December 14, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    When Did Your New Single “Shiftwork” Release to Country Radio.

    From: Gregory Bailey

  10. Roger
    December 16, 2007 at 12:20 am

    with all of the great songs in nashville it astonishes me that this song was recorded much less released as a single….

  11. Billy Ray
    December 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    This is some of the gayest shift I’ve ever heard.

  12. Bill
    January 13, 2008 at 3:21 am

    As somone who has to work a “big ‘ol pile of Shift Work,” I LOVE this song. It hits too close to home.

  13. ccf
    January 20, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I’m a fan of Strait’s and I was shocked when I heard he had done a duet with Chesney. His music has gone down hill for a long time and he hits rock bottom almost with this.

  14. KENNY
    January 25, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    i think yall are all crazy..this song is great. I guess none of yall would know because obv. you have never worked shiftwork. How about just sitting back and listening to a GOOd song without being so criticle. its special for them and i think its wonderful for them to go out on a leaf like this and still make it up to the top 10 so far. I WILL NOT be surprised if this song is not number 1 within 4 weeks.

  15. hairandtoenails
    January 25, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I can see that “Shiftwork” hits home for many people; Kenny and George are right that shiftwork is extremely hard, even oppressive at times.

    But a song isn’t good for the reason that it points out the obvious. I can see many people who work shiftwork nodding in agreement or holding the songs message close to their hearts. But the lyrics never offer any insight into anything here. We should demand more from our favorite singers than songs that we can relate to, we should demand songs that we can relate to and that are insightful as well.

  16. suziq
    January 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm


  17. Margie
    January 30, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I cannot stand this song! Not that crazy about Kenny, but I do like George and can’t believe he sang this crap. I’ve worked shifts before, but that does not make me like this ridiculous song! I can’t believe it’s already in the top ten! Well, I should expect it with the little island boy singing it! Now 9 to 5, that’s a great song!!

  18. CRAIG R.
    February 3, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I have often told friends that Kenny Chesney has become the Tom Cruise of country-although he would be neck and neck with Garth Brooks for that position. Like Cruise he just can’t just be. Although I think his voice has matured- I think his song picks lack any substance- whether in country terms or pop terms. Part of the reason for this lack of depth seems to be his fear that he will sing something or be something that will turn off his fan base. But that means that every song he picks is not about his place in the world, or his thoughts or feeings- but what he wants to project off to his fans. I mean this fratboy, Jimmy Buffet image looks sadder and sadder as he turns 40. Sad, because the real Kenny Chesney- whomever is he- like the real Tom Cruise- might have something powerful to say- something that reflects real country. But “Shiftwork” doesn’t work because Kenny Chesney doesn’t know or can’t say what he really feels. Or maybe I am wrong and he is just a shallow man-child- a Peter Pan- and his music is a reflection of that lack of subsatnce. Maybe he is the Eddy Arnold of his time!

  19. Chris N.
    February 3, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    “We should demand more from our favorite singers than songs that we can relate to, we should demand songs that we can relate to and that are insightful as well.”

    Well said. One thing that always puzzles me in the comments here is when people insist that a song is good just because they can relate to it. What does that have to do with quality?

  20. wayne
    February 6, 2008 at 11:13 am

    How many years has she worked as a waitress.

  21. Stephen H.
    February 6, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I like this song a LOT better than “Don’t Blink.” I don’t know if that reflects well on me or not.

  22. Brady Vercher
    February 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Stephen, that explains A LOT about you…

  23. Roger
    February 16, 2008 at 8:54 am

    I think Craig R hit the nail on the head…there is no one out their putting out any more vanilla singles that pander to his core fan base than Kenny Chesney.

  24. Zach Parolin
    February 16, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Can I bring up burning questions in an old topic?

    “Shiftwork” is now at #6 on the charts, and should climb again next week as Rascal Flatts falls from the top 5. I think we’ve all decided that the song is not that great, and it makes me wonder what type of crap the A-List artists can get away it solely because of their name.

    I don’t know if this is a fair way to look at it, but if we erase “Kenny Chesney and George Strait” and give credit to “Josh Gracin and Luke Bryan”, does the song even reach the top 30? Keep their voices in the song and take away the names. The song wouldn’t climb at all, in my opinion.

    How far should a name be able to carry a song? I guess we’ll find out again with “Picture to Burn”.

    More chart madness: “Another Try” lost plays and three spots this week (down to #30), as Mylee Cyrus and a weird release from Tim McGraw still have homes closer to the top. I know it’s a one week lapse and the song will likely climb in the coming weeks, but come on!

    Big props to Gary Allan, though, for continuing to climb after 30 weeks. I’m ready for the song to die, but good for him.

  25. Roger
    February 17, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Zach i agree completely…if Kenny Chesney covered a Miley Cyrus song it would hit the top 10…and If you have followed the charts in the last 5 years it is amazing to me how Gary Allan’s songs move up the charts…his singles hit the top 10 after 30-35 weeks of 3 to 4 more spots a week, Kenny’s reach them in 10-12…for my dollar i always feel a gary allan cd is a wise investment….he really seems to be one of the only guys that tries to make a “record” (i’m old school!) there seems to be a flow on his records that other artists do not achieve or are not allowed to achieve because they have to have so many of each song because that is what the “focus group” likes.

  26. FLETCH
    February 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm


  27. Double-L
    February 26, 2008 at 12:49 am

    This song bores me to pieces.

    Both artists mailed in their performances. You can sound “beat down” because your big ol’ pile of shi*work has you that way but you don’t have to sound BORED out of your mind. I’m saddened by the fact that two of our top artists couldn’t have put out a better effort on such a “groundbreaking” duet merging one of the best “stand on stage” entertainers and current “Entertainer of the year”.


    It’s just blah.

    Maybe Kenny should’ve invited Buffet onto the tune since it’s all about the calypso beat crap anyway!

    Oh, jeez. I really vented, didn’t I? Oooops! :)

  28. Big D
    February 28, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Oh, I think Kenny and George proved the so called “experts” wrong. Maybe you can write about their #1 party in a week or two. You can eat a big ol’ pile.

  29. ccf
    February 28, 2008 at 11:48 am

    A big ol’ pile describes this single to a t. All you to do is leave the F out of the word Shift and you have a better title to what this single is.

  30. Leah
    March 8, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I absolutely hate this song. It is so horrible. The lyrics that are supposed to sound like another word….they aren’t even funny. And they play it all the time on the radio…ugh!

  31. Jared
    March 11, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    I would disagree with the article, and many of what others have posted. The fact of the matter is that many people work shift work, make a decent enough living and still are able to visit various parts of the world. The song simply points to the fact that we work shift work, and are passing the time. After all, there are plenty of people who just wish to log the time and retire. So, the song even conjures the joys of vacation/retirement to some tropical paradise. The song resonates for those who work shift work, and everyone who has complained about it must not even know what that is like. My wife, kids, and I loved the song way before it even made it to the airwaves. The video is great! The song is great! And it is very Kenny!

  32. Devlon Comeau
    April 2, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Personally I think this song is great. This song actually shows a type of music that has long been forgotten by most country lovers. That music is old mainstream country music. This song clearly fits the troubles of those who have worked back in the days and nights in the munitions plants during the Second World War.

  33. Drew
    July 27, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I think this song is about as bad as RF’s “Bob That Head”. Just like the review said, it is the most boring thing ever. There is absolutely no point. Nothing of substance is ever said. Just pure Grade A garbage.

  34. Jeremy
    October 8, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Damn. When did the world get so freaking serious? Lighten up everybody. I barely listen to country anymore, but at least this has an upbeat tempo and makes me forget about all the over-reported bad news for about 3 minutes. Don’t take yourselves so seriously all you wanna be music critics. That goes for the original author of this post, as well.

  35. Brady Vercher
    October 8, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Jeremy, thanks for associating The 9513 with “the world.” It’s nice to know people hold us in such high regard.

  36. lucyzapico
    June 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    you guys need to leave GeorgeStrait, Kenny cheseny alone i am a big fan of both of them and if i have to i will defend both of them if you guys do’nt like GeorgeStrait, Kenny Cheseny then do’nt buy there Cd’s. I love you Kenny, the king of country music GeorgeStrait hopefully i can attend one of GeorgeStrait’s concerts in the near future. I love you GeorgeStrait very much you mean the world to me. you are my #1 in my life
    God Bless Kenny, GeorgeStrait i love u guys very much.

    your #1 Fan
    Farmington NM

Tagged In This Article


Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton