Review – Eli Young Band’s “Turn It On”

Eli Young Band Turn It On

The Eli Young Band started out their career in the Texas/Red Dirt scene. They gained a pretty big following in the biggest country music scene outside of Nashville. After experiencing decent chart success under independent labels, they moved to the Republic Nashville label in 2011 and have been in the mainstream scene ever since. They’ve had a few #1 hits and are a relatively well-known country band. The music they’ve produced since joining the mainstream scene has been hit or miss. They just released a new EP titled Turn It On and the lead single from it is the EP title track, “Turn It On.” It’s already charting in the top 60 of the Country Airplay chart, so I definitely wanted to check this single out.

So is this song a hit or miss by the band? I’m definitely going with miss. Right away you can tell this is just another pop country minus the country party song that caters to radio. The opening lyrics indicate it’s a guy in a bar or club talking it up with a girl and of course trying to get lucky. It’s yet another hookup song. Also it’s under neon lights because that’s supposed to make this song hip and cool. The instrumentation in this song is your generic, adult-contemporary sound with the nothing special guitar lyrics. In other words, same shit different song.

The chorus of this song is an annoying ear worm meant to get stuck in your head and drive you nuts. Not in a good way either. Just look at the chorus:

I can’t turn it off, turn it off, turn it off the way you turn it
Turn it on, turn it on, turn it on girl I’ll admit right now
I’m just about halfway gone, baby you can do no wrong
And I can’t turn it off the way you turn it on

How many songs now does that make where it’s chorus is essentially repeating itself several times with the exact same phrase? I like to think the success of Joe Nichols’ “Yeah” is what spawned this repetitive, clichéd chorus fetish that is present in too many country songs nowadays. By the way those above lines are pretty much the song, as its repeated ad nauseam. The lyrics in between this are simply filler so the song can repeat the hook again.

This uncreative garbage is getting pretty old. Then again I’m not surprised either. With the success of Sam Hunt, all of the other trend-chasing artists in the genre are going to try to follow suit in the way Hunt’s music is styled. Eli Young Band shows with this song they don’t give a crap about quality. It’s all about the money for them and they’ll churn out whatever they have to for radio success. You know why people hate sellouts? They hate sellouts because it’s easy. Making generic radio hits is easy to pull off. Making great music is difficult. It’s a true art form where you put your heart and soul into it. “Turn It On” is the opposite of heart and soul. It’s corporate, lifeless radio filler and I highly recommend you avoid it.

Grade: 0/10

 

16 thoughts on “Review – Eli Young Band’s “Turn It On”

  1. Raymond March 10, 2015 / 11:40 am

    Eh I agree that the song is terrible but I find it more a 2/10. Than anything. Eli’s voice is so tampered with. The song feels so bland and vanilla to where I don’t hate it. I just hope this is more the exception for them I continue to believe the critics favorites like Eli Reba Ashley Monroe Kacey and Gary. Even solid acts like Gloriana and Kip Moore I’m hoping releasing good material cause both their songs while solid. I’m nervous about what will be on their upcoming albums. For the record I looked back at Gloriana’s work the past little bit and people can disagree all they want with me I feel like Gloriana’s the best group in country music mainstream of course. I wasn’t fond of a couple of the Zac Brown Band songs I heard on iTunes this weekend. Plus Gloriana’s unque pop country now becoming country rock with Trouble I’m so excited for when they release an album.My opinion. Back to this song it’s way too messes up to like and unlike Eric Church’s new single this doesn’t leave me interested instead I’m just bored out of my mind with this so overall 2/10. It’s not offensive enough to be considered the worse this year unlike Michael Ray David Fanning Jason Aldean’s new song along with Raelynns new song but this song just doesn’t work for me.

    Hope you guys like the comment. Please Respond.

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  2. Scotty J March 10, 2015 / 11:50 am

    Great review, great review, great review.

    I have nothing else to say.

    Kinda like this horrible song.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Derek Hudgin March 10, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    “If I kiss you up against the wall it ain’t my fault”….. I don’t think that’s how it works there, Eli….

    Eli Young Band’s “Turn It On”: What you get when you cross Thomas Rhett with Texas

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott March 10, 2015 / 12:24 pm

      Hahaha! That’s scarily accurate.

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    • Raymond March 10, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      Haha! That’s a good one Derrick I didn’t notice that line till now. Man this songs songwriting is pathetic. I’m assuming you wouldn’t had hold anything back as well if you reviewed this song. Excellent comment.

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  4. fromthewordsofbr March 10, 2015 / 1:33 pm

    I’ve never cared for the Eli Young Band, no doubt thanks to the fact that I prefer Will Hoge’s version of “EIIBYH” better than the EYB’s.

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  5. bob March 10, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    It is bad but I think 2/10 is more appropriate as Raymond suggested since it’s not totally offensive. My favorite EYB song, “War on a Desperate Man” (Mike Eli & Blu Sanders) was never released as a single.

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  6. NoahHibiscusEaton March 10, 2015 / 2:40 pm

    Uggghhhhh, this is just pathetic.

    *

    And it’s a shame, because I’ve generally liked the Eli Young Band’s output to date.

    Leading all the way through their commercial breakout with “Life At Best”, the Eli Young Band has certainly never released anything particularly groundbreaking or challenging, but I give them props for making music that consistently touched that soft spot for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers I had growing up that was replete with strong melody lines, jangly guitar and sharp technical songwriting. It helped they have a background in Red Dirt, which gave their sound enough of a distinctive flavor. And lyrically, on through “Life At Best”, I appreciated (despite a huge exceptional dud in “Radio Waves”) how they primarily grasped at small town life including its imperfections and fragilities. Sure, Mike Eli just doesn’t stand out as an exemplary emotive vocalist or interpreter, but sometimes you compensate for those limitations with a Rodney Atkins-like populist draw. And I thought Eli truly accomplished that early on. He came across convincingly as “one of us”, which made songs like “Skeletons”, “War On A Desperate Man”, “Every Other Melody” and “Guinevere” shin

    But beginning with “10,000 Towns”, something started to happen that gave me a bad feeling about this band’s future. “Drunk Last Night” was honestly not bad and effective enough in Eli giving off a convincing vocal, but sonically it seemed out of their element. Then, when I heard “10,000 Towns”, it really felt like the band was losing that human touch on small town highs and lows. They essentially phased that out in favor of a lower-calorie version of “bro-country”. Songs like “Just Add Moonlight”, “Let’s Do Something Tonight”, “Angel Like You” and the title track just smacked as routine Nashville songwriting machine palaver. And while “Dust” and “Prayer For The Road” proved they hadn’t entirely lost that touch, neither of those efforts stood out quite like their earlier stabs at those topics because Frank Liddell & Co. overproduced “10,000 Towns” to death and rendered the former way too clunky and overcompressed, with the latter not having enough room to breathe.

    Well, when “Dust” underachieved commercially, it was quite obvious they were going to undergo a retooling of sorts. And while I honestly didn’t have a good feeling about that either way…………………wow, I didn’t think it would be like THIS.

    *

    This is, like I said, capital P Pathetic.

    It was quite obvious to me they were going to make their sound even more polished, and so there’s no reason why it should surprise me that’s exactly what we get here. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear something like “Skeletons” or “Guinevere” either.

    But……………what in the frick is going on with Eli’s vocals in this? I’m sure Auto-Tune is a partial culprit, but I think there’s more to it than just that. Because HE DOESN’T SOUND LIKE HIMSELF here. It’s almost as though a radio executive told him in an intimidating tone: “We’d like you to experiment with singing at a different register!”………..so he did, and then they instructed Frank Liddell to overprocess the vocal track to death. Does this band lack any self-awareness whatsoever? Do they not see that they are confirming to a growing number of disaffected fans of theirs that they are becoming less man and more machine? -__-

    And then…………………..there are the lyrics. >=(

    Yes, my friends……………..in the course of two albums and one impending EP release, the Eli Young Band have went from small town consciousness to bro-lite to straight-up bro country. And the results are like icepicks to the ear canals. Obligatory “Damn, girl!” interjection? Check! Name-dropping a liquor brand to appease tour sponsor prospects; in this case Shiner Bock? Check. The aforementioned disregard to consent in casual relationships. Check. Aggressive repetition of the hook phrase? Check. Mentioning how hot that “girl” looks in daisy dukes and/or bikini tops?

    …………………..oooooooops, you forgot one, boys! 😉 (eye roll)

    *

    Would I go so far as to give this a 0/10?

    Well, not quite. This bolsters an effective-enough melody that will at the very least succeed in shallow fashion what it set out to do: give this band another radio hit. Thus, it at least succeeds on a crassly commercial level.

    But yeah, in this Year of Disappointing Return Singles From Better Regarded Country Artists that has also afflicted Gary Allan, Kacey Musgraves & Ashley Monroe, this is the worst of all those attempts (which is saying something considering how bad Gary Allan’s return single is).

    1/10 and NO recommendation. SKIP. THIS!!! >=(

    *

    Finally, as an aisle, I have to wonder if the mythological being Medusa has taken reign over Music Row, or Music Row is being governed by a cache of hypnotists.

    Because it sure doesn’t feel like bro-country is going away. In fact, I’m beginning to believe we’re getting a bad secondary infection………but it’s even worse now because artists we are more likely to count on to deliver relative quality are coming down with this bug left and right. This band has come down with it. Gary Allan has contacted it. And I wonder how aggressively the Medusas of Music Row are going to hypnotize the remaining artists who have thus far refused to budge in jumping on this bandwagon?

    =(

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    • Josh Schott March 10, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      Great thoughts as always Noah. You’re right this is pathetic. Eli Young Band never impressed me either, but I always thought their music was decent. You could do a lot worse than EYB. But as you said this fall in quality began with 10,000 Towns and the quality has been dropping since. This is full on bro country and they know it. This was blatant and they don’t give a shit. His vocals did weird me out, but the lyrics were even more offensive for me to really address it well. It’s just all around bad.

      Your last points are definitely interesting. Artists that have consistently delivered quality music in past years have produced some really disappointing music so far in 2015. Bro country was slowly dying at the end of 2014 it appeared, but now it seems to still be lingering. I really think the concept is dead, however the impact it made has infected the genre to create a secondary infection just as you said. Bro country showed artists that if they make upbeat music they’ll get more sales and more radio time. Notice how all of those artists you mentioned having disappointing singles all made their singles upbeat and fun. It reminds me once again of what a radio programmer said a couple weeks back that Windmills posted on Twitter. The radio programmers liked songs like Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got” and Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You,” but they said they didn’t want to play them because they’re “mood killers.” It wasn’t fun or upbeat, so they didn’t want to play it. This leads me to think that right now there is an internal battle happening inside country music. Some artists and industry people are fighting for music with more substance and pushing this type of music (Eric Paslay, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, Carrie Underwood), while others are simply throwing their hands up, giving up on the cause and going with the trends (Allan, Monroe, EYB). I don’t think Musgraves is “selling out” though and that “Biscuits” is just a miss on her part.

      It’s clear to me that there are people in country music that are sick of the bro country effect along with the metro-politan music and truly trying to change things. But they’re going against a strong wave of artists who are content on producing the same crap over and over. For some of those artists, it’s the only music they’re capable of making (Rhett, Swindell, Rice, Hunt). Like I said in The Hodgepodge last week country music needs a civil war. The genre need to implode before it can improve. As they say it’s always darkest before the dawn. The million dollar question: Who’s going to stand up and say enough is enough?

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      • Scotty J March 10, 2015 / 10:52 pm

        That quote about ‘She Don’t Love You’ is one of the most troubling things I’ve seen in along time. The people that say that are truly in the wrong job. Just think about the implications of that sentiment. ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’? Man, what a downer! ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’? We can’t play that it will kill the good time party mood!

        That Alan Jackson song ‘Three Minute Not Too Country Positive Uptempo…’ or whatever song may be the most prophetic song in history.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scotty J March 10, 2015 / 10:57 pm

        Actually that song could be tweaked a little for our times by instead of saying no drinking cheating etc. that said song now MUST have drinking etc.

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  7. Zack March 10, 2015 / 4:37 pm

    Haven’t heard this yet. Been avoiding it based on the title and it looks like my assumption was correct. These guys have been going downhill since “Level”. How can they seriously go from songs like “When It Rains”, “Highways and Broken Hearts”, “So Close Now”, to selling out? I believe the EYB is talented, but they just don’t catch my attention anymore like they did a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pete Marshall March 10, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Pure crap 1/10 They stabbed Red Dirt/Texas country music in the back. Dumpster Fire

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