Blake Shelton’s list of protegés continues to stretch longer every year. This is the case of course because he’s a coach on The Voice, NBC’s music talent show that promises to produce new stars each season (I’ll be talking about this on another day). There have been a good number of country artist that have emerged from the show, all thanks to Blake. One of those artist was Gwen Sebastian, who I find to be one of the more talented protegés of Shelton. I thought her 2014 single “Small Town Soul” was a solid song and I’ve been looking forward to a full album from her. I think she has good potential and with country radio needing more female country artists, I would definitely support her on radio. She has yet to release an album in the last year, but she has released another single, called “Throw It Back.”
So is this another solid offering from Sebastian? Well right away you can tell this is a different sound for Sebastian, as the song kicks off with a banjo and guitar combination that will catch your ear. Then she begins to sing and immediately many problems arise for me. First let’s address Sebastian’s vocals. They annoy me. A lot. Why? The excessive amount of twang in her voice is nauseating. It sounds like she’s been hanging around RaeLynn and her annoying over-twang rubbed off on Sebastian. Go listen to “Small Town Soul.” It’s a night and day difference in the amount of twang in the vocals. I find myself having the same problem with Miranda Lambert sometimes, but she’s from Texas, so the twang in her voice isn’t fake. It’s actually a part of her voice. Sebastian is from North Dakota and people from North Dakota don’t have this amount of twang in their voice.
The second problem I have with this song is the theme and lyrics. Here are chorus lyrics:
“Fireball. Cheers y’all.
Throoooow it back, catch a little buzz.
Let it get you crazy like a good party does.
There’s a part (???) of me and you at the bottom of the glass.
Throoooow it back.”
Really deep stuff, huh? A party song about drinking. Now I’m all for party songs and I’ve cited plenty of examples of great country party songs on here. But is this song any different from the crap we’ve heard from the bro country? No. It’s pretty much the same thing and it still sounds just as bad coming from a female country artist. These kind of lyrics have been overused so much that they no longer have any merit. The fireball line just makes me cringe. As for the instrumentation, it’s decent. It at least sounds somewhat country mixed in with the rock influences that permeate much of Miranda Lambert’s singles.
This is a letdown compared to “Small Town Soul.” It’s just another party song amidst the sea of party songs flooding country radio. This song offers nothing new nor creative. I would’ve maybe liked the song a little more if it wasn’t for the excessive twang in Sebastian’s voice. Combined with the sub-par lyrics this makes for a pretty lackluster song. “Throw It Back” just feels like a slightly more country version of Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender” or Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking.” It’s just another carefree song about drinking that I’ll forget about weeks from now. I recommend avoiding this song.