The Band Perry — “All Your Life”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | August 18th, 2011

bandperrySongwriters: Brian Henningsen and Clara Henningsen

The Band Perry has built its name on just a tad bit of crazy, stringing together a trio of radio singles that reached the top twenty – no small feat for brand new artists only two years in – while playing off the off-beat.

Lead single “Hip to My Heart” banked on its campy fizz and exclamations like “Brother, man!,” while the beautifully morbid “If I Die Young” drew simultaneous reactions of “What?” and “Wow.” And after all its grammar mangling, “You Lie” wedged in paternal death threats to round out a radio catalog of catchy, inventive and unique tunes that hung their freak flags high.

Follow-up “All Your Life,” the latest off the group’s debut self-titled debut from 2009, seems to throw off that pattern as an easy-listening ode to everlasting love. Familiar love song staples are here – the sun, the moon, fireflies and long walks on the beach – but slowly and surely Kimberly Perry, along with brothers Reid and Neil, reveal they’re not coming from the usual place of puppy love.

The twist revealed in the tune’s bridge is reminiscent of Sugarland’s music video for “Stuck Like Glue,” minus the reggae breakdown and in-your-face antics; however, the camp is played up with a pulsing, old-circus sound over affected vocals revealing “Lately I’ve been writing desperate love songs/And mostly sing them to the wall/You could be the center piece of my obsession.”

Kimberly’s mature vocals blend well with her brothers, and her dedication to maintaining the band’s charming spunk is intriguing, like a bright pink petticoat barely visible from underneath a black dress. Unfortunately, the funky pay-off comes in a bit late in the game, when the song has already slogged through a couple of forgettable verses such as “Would you catch a couple thousand fireflies/Put them in a lamp to light my world.” In fact, it’s easy to tune out and miss the entire thing in a “Wait, what did she just sing?” lapse of interest.

Presented as an entire package, however, what appears to be an easy lob for radio airplay morphs into a surprising curveball that is perhaps the trio’s biggest display of crazy yet. And in the sea of mainstream country radio where hick-hop rap lyrics appear to be a legitimate new frontier, this kind of wackiness is a welcome display of creativity by one of the genre’s most inventive young bands.

Thumbs Up

  1. SamB
    August 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I really like this song, and have probably listened to it about ten times… but you know, I’d never got that twist in the bridge. So you’re right there!

  2. Ben Foster
    August 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I have to say I was genuinely curious whether this one would get a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. For me, it kind of seemed to straddle the line, even though I do typically enjoy the off-beat stylings of The Band Perry. I’ve always loved the way this record sounds, with the banjo and and the slow steady tempo, but I can’t say I really cared for the lyrics much. Then again, I had never really taken notice of the twist in the bridge. Nice review, Karlie.

  3. J.R. Journey
    August 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    “…like a bright pink petticoat barely visible from underneath a black dress

    That’s the best visual metaphor I’ve ever read in a music review. I too missed the significance of the bridge’s twist. Great review.

  4. Rick
    August 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Of the new artists and groups to emerge in the Top 40 realm over the last couple of years, I have to say I find Kim Perry’s vocal stylings to be among the most interesting. Kim’s vocal approach is both unique and highly listenable, a tough combination to pull off. I’d much rather hear Kim embellish a story song with realistic emotional shadings than over the top vocalists like Carrie, Reba, or Jennifer Nettlesome.

    This is an enjoyable song and hopefully the Band Perry has become a Top 10 fixture at this point craziness and all. The Band Perry’s presence on the Top 40 country charts is one of the few influences lowering the AirHead Factor by a measurable margin.

  5. Jeremy Dylan
    August 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I love this group. I love this record.

  6. Ken Morton, Jr.
    August 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    How have the Henningsens not been signed to a major record deal yet? They’ve had pens of gold thus far and the little I’ve heard them play is tremendous stuff.

  7. Thomas
    August 19, 2011 at 2:55 am

    …funny enough, when i hear them, i always think their sound is one of the few modern things in today’s mainstream country, even if its banjo and mandoline heavy. then again, it could just be the fact that i love this “youthful” exuberance in kimberly perry’s vocals. works for me this time round too.

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