Oh, mainstream country music. The month of March was not a good one. Really the majority of 2015 hasn’t been good for mainstream country music. Most of the music is terrible and the key 18-35 year old demographic is abandoning the genre. Things aren’t looking from any angle you look. In this past week or two there’s been a shortage of new releases in mainstream country, which was actually great for me. I needed a break from it. But then I heard that Thompson Square released a new single titled “Trans Am.” The duo is made up of husband and wife, Keifer Thompson and Shawna Thompson. They’re on the Stoney Creek Records label and have experienced some radio success a few years ago. They’ve kind of fallen off the radar though since 2013, so they’re trying to recapture attention with this new single I imagine.
Do they capture my attention? Yes, but not for a good reason. “Trans Am” is simply a mess and I don’t know where to start. Within the first ten seconds of this song you know it isn’t going to be a very country song. In fact you pretty much know this is another pop rock song trying to pass itself off as country. Sure there’s a token banjo in the background, but it’s basically a meaningless prop thrown in at the last second. The production of this song may seem fun and pleasant upon first listen, but it actually gets more annoying with each listen. This kind of instrumentation has been done to death in country the last few years.
Another thing that hurts this song is it reminds me of another song that I enjoy more: Sheryl Crow’s “Steve McQueen,” the pop hit from the early 2000s. I’m not sure what it exactly it is, perhaps the theme or maybe the instrumentation, but I immediately thought of this song upon my first listen of “Trans Am.” “Steve McQueen” is all-around better, from the instrumentation to the vocals to the lyrics. Speaking of the lyrics, they’re perhaps even more ridiculous than the instrumentation in “Trans Am.” The entire song revolves around a car and a woman:
Girl let’s fly, jump inside, take a ride in my Trans Am
Hammer down, cruise around, rock this town in my Trans Am
Everybody wants to ride, hey, everybody wants to ride, hey
Girl, you know you wanna ride, take a ride in my Trans Am
See country music is evolving! Instead of a truck it’s a car. Bro country may be pretty much dead, but it’s elements and impact are very noticeable still. Also the word “whoa” is uttered 21 times throughout the song. This is in addition to rhythmic clapping. Now Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown” doesn’t sound so ridiculous. I could list several other problems with this song, but to save my time and everyone else’s reading, I’ll just say this: this song is a combination of “Steve McQueen” and a Lady Antebellum song from their 2014 album 747. It doesn’t matter which Lady Antebellum song you pick either. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if many listeners would mistake this for a Lady Antebellum song. I probably would have if you didn’t tell me it was Thompson Square.
This duo is capable of making decent music and this is not an example of it. “Trans Am” is cookie-cutter bullshit. There is nothing original nor creative about this song. We’ve heard hundreds of iterations of it before and will probably hear even more versions of it in 2015. “Trans Am” is the first single off of Thompson Square’s new upcoming album and if it’s any indication of the rest of it, then writing the review for it will be pretty easy. Just look at the review for Lady Antebellum’s 747 album. “Trans Am” is a song I do not recommend and suggest avoiding. Same old stuff, just a different song.