Kenny Chesney — “Pirate Flag”
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.”
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