In 2014 it became pretty obvious that country music is the most popular genre in music. The popularity of bro country shot it into mainstream and the incorporation of pop elements has allowed the genre to remain in the mainstream conscious. Why else do you think Jason Aldean and Sam Hunt had such big years last year? Another thing that has benefitted from the increase of popularity of country music is music talent shows. Whether it was American Idol, The Voice or that new music show on ABC that I’ve completely forgotten about with Brad Paisley, country music artists have done pretty good on it in recent years. Just look at all of The Voice alumni I’ve reviewed on the site (Gwen Sebastian, RaeLynn, The Swon Brothers, etc).
One problem though that everyone notices is that after the show these artists drops off the face of the earth. One minute they’re in the spotlight and next they’re just another artist struggling to make it. I thought these shows are supposed to make stars? Other than Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, almost all of the other winners disappear after the show. Several months after finishing runner-up on season six of The Voice, Jake Worthington has yet to release any new music. How is this show beneficial to him again? Well the people at The Voice finally wised up for season seven as the finalists all performed and released an original song at the end of the show’s season. This is great for the artists, as it will help them springboard into the “real world” of music.
Today I take a look at season seven winner Craig Wayne Boyd’s single “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face.” Now I no longer watch The Voice, but I do monitor it just to make sure I don’t miss anyone interesting. It’s a good thing too because Boyd is certainly interesting. Just like Worthington he played a lot of traditional country music throughout the season (Cash, Haggard, Strait) and also paid tribute to fallen outlaw singer Wayne Mills (who mentored both Boyd and Blake Shelton early in their careers). Boyd isn’t some fresh face either. He has toured around the country and opened for big acts such as Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and Brantley Gilbert. So don’t worry, Boyd has “paid his dues.”
Boyd’s new single “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” isn’t terrible nor is it great. The instrumentation is certainly solid. It plays right into Boyd’s wheelhouse of a rock country feel (with a few fiddles thrown in) while also being friendly enough for soccer moms. It goes perfectly with the radio friendly, upbeat lyrics that are borderline milquetoast. This song is very safe and doesn’t take any chances. It’s definitely going for a universal feel that appeals to a wide swath of listeners. I’m neither offended nor impressed, although after a few listens it makes me sleepy. It’s just another song to me.
While this will have no bearing on the grade, I have to say something about the music video. Specifically I want to bring up the casting of the woman in it. She looks like she’s around my age and yet she is supposed to be Boyd’s “baby” in it. For reference, Boyd is in his mid-30s. She passes more for his daughter than girlfriend/wife. This comes off as a little creepy and off-putting, a sentiment shared by many in the videos’ comments too.
Nevertheless this song is doing what it’s supposed to do and that’s get Boyd noticed by the country music audience. It shot up to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country chart in the first week of January. It has since fallen out of the top 25 completely, but still not many artists can claim to have a #1 song and I’m sure it brought him some new fans in the process. I think Boyd is capable of producing great music that is certainly much higher in quality than this single. “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” is just an average showing that I’ll probably forget about a month from now.