Kenny Chesney — “Pirate Flag”

Sam Gazdziak | March 18th, 2013

kenny-chesneySongwriters: David Lee Murphy, Ross Copperman

Even though a good chunk of the country has been buried under snow or bailing out because of rain lately, it’s close enough to summer that the “fun” beach-y summer singles are starting to trickle in to country radio stations. Kenny Chesney’s “Pirate Flag” is leading the charge this year, and country fans must be starving for anything that reminds them of sunshine. It cracked the Billboard Top 20 in just four weeks – for point of reference, it took Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round” more than 20 weeks to accomplish the same feat.

“Pirate Flag” starts with a pirate-esque organ intro, segueing quickly into mandolins and drum machines. It’s an odd mix, but the Pirates of the Caribbean-meets-Country Bears slow jamboree is the most interesting thing about the song. Unfortunately, that lasts for about 20 seconds before Chesney starts rapping (of course he does) about being from a small town (of course he is).

“I come from a little bitty home-grown small town, Smoky Mountains, nice place to hang around,” he says. Just like that, it turns into the same song that every male country singer in Nashville has recorded at least twice. The creative arrangement gets overwhelmed by electric guitars, eliminating every last trace of creativity. Even when Chesney veers off course and sings about trading in small town life for a pirate flag and an island girl, it’s just trading in one set of well-worn imagery for another.

Chesney’s no stranger to the country-Caribbean genre, and it’s brought him plenty of success. When he’s on, the result is lightweight but enjoyable, like “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.” When he’s completely phoning it in, we end up with “Pirate Flag.”

Thumbs Down

  1. BRUCE
    March 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Oh boy. Yet another summer fun Buffet-cloned cowboy hat-sand flippin beach song. I guess Nashville has ran out of writers. Song-Regurgitation. Yuck.

  2. Ben Foster
    March 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

    These days Kenny Chesney releases a song that I like maybe once every two or three years. This is not it.

  3. TX Music Jim
    March 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I’m thinking from a marketing standpoint it’s smart. He can appeal to his country fans and the parrot heads. For sure not an earth shattering song but after a few Rum and Cokes it becomes annoyingly stuck in ones head for sure.

  4. Barry Mazor
    March 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Step away from the beach…walk slowly and no one will get hurt…

  5. Janice Brooks
    March 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Yes Jim get away from that beach.

  6. Luckyoldsun
    March 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I’d have thought that there was a limit to how many times and how long an artist could embrace the persona of a beach bum (and copy Buffet, to boot)and be at the pinnacle of mainstream country–tough economic times or not.

    Either Chesney has proved that totally wrong–or he may be pushing up against that limit.

  7. TX Music Jim
    March 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Strangely enough being a fan of long time Buffett compadre Jerry Jeff Walker and having been at his yearly camp Belize event this year it was full of parrot heads who commented that Chesney was considered “the heir to the Buffett leagacy.” Cheseny came up when pirate flag came forth from the sepakers of the palapa bar prior to JJW’s show. Like I said from a marketing standpoint smart cause that gives him a 2nd audience to draw from. Now were did I leave that salt shaker ?

  8. Markus Meyer
    March 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I thought Kenny had ended his beach obsession with back to back non-beach singles (‘Come Over’ and ‘El Cerrito Place’)

    Boy do I feel stupid.

  9. TX Music Jim
    March 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Marketing 101 cross branding. Release country singles followed by beach singles. shoot Kenny’s even introduced his own Rum brand. He has been studying Buffett’s corprate branding idea’s no doubt. Not a huge fan of Cheseny’s but he appears to be a good business man.

Tagged In This Article

// // //

Current Discussion

  • Paul W Dennis: They are an interesting group. This song sounds more jazzy (Andrews Sisters, Puppini Sisiter, Ingrid Lucia) but for a folkier …
  • Barry Mazor: What the "Americana" term brings to mind, by this point, is a matter of time and marketing. Like all …
  • Paul W Dennis: I loved the Jerry Douglas interview and love the ideas behind his two concept albums Unfortunately I never had the opportunity …
  • luckyoldsun: Barry, That's a good point, as far as country itself being a word that refers to a lot more than a …
  • Six String Richie: Also, in regards to that article, Aldean's #2 complaint was "Nashville Copycats" and he gripes that people are copping Luke …
  • Six String Richie: Billboard misprinted his new single as "Burnin' It Up" in that article! That goes to show how little even …
  • CraigR.: Here are 5 things that piss me off about Jason Aldean: 1. He is a sore winner. Why complain when you …
  • Barry Mazor: The words "country" and jazz (or "jass") and blues had been around for decades before they became genres (or formats) …
  • Jeff Miller: Yeah, the first time I played Jimmie Rodgers for my wife & daughter- they were aghast that he was singing …
  • David Cantwell: I think it more helpful to think of Americana not as a genre but as a format--and, perhaps better, and …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky