Kenny Chesney – “Live a Little”
Songwriters: Shane Minor and David Lee Murphy
If you’re even remotely interested in Kenny Chesney’s new single, “Live a Little,” you’re already miles ahead of the singer himself.
At least that’s how the country superstar’s performance sounds on his latest offering to radio from Hemingway’s Whiskey. After a punchy instrumental intro builds momentum, the song’s energy takes a nose dive as soon as he utters his “not a minute for me to be me” lament in the very first verse. The phrase “phoning it in” doesn’t even apply here, as that would imply Chesney is engaged enough to pick up a phone and dial in a number.
To say its “live it up” (or, this go-round, “live a little”) outlook is well-known territory for Chesney would be an understatement, but things sound familiar in more ways than one: The toe-tapping tune borrows heavily from the melody of fraternity romp “Keg in the Closet,” making it nearly impossible to get through lines “I need to live a little, have some fun” without substituting in “Keg in the closet, pizza on the floor.”
But where that song accurately and charmingly bottled the nowhere-to-go, nowhere-to-be beauty of college life and the fresh wave of nostalgia such memories pull to the surface, “Live a Little” turns out completely and utterly forgettable.
The tune’s Hallmark card sentiment continues down a path recently forged by George Strait’s “The Breath You Take” and Brad Paisley’s “This is Country Music.” Songwriters Shane Minor (who penned number-one singles “Brand New Girlfriend” and “Beautiful Mess”) and veteran David Lee Murphy play it safe and simple, but straightforward verses like “Step back, smell the rose/Feel the sand between your toes/Unplug, unwind/Step out in the sunshine” turn flat when coupled with Chesney’s monotone delivery.
“Live a Little” has an air of Uncle Kracker at a poetry reading, with approving guitar riffs substituted in for appreciative snaps–which, come to think of it, would be a lot more entertaining.
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