Review – Canaan Smith’s “Love You Like That” is a Calculated, Boring Song

Newcomer Canaan Smith is trying to find his place among the diluted crowd of solo male acts in country music. Smith’s debut single, “We Got Us” charted poorly, but a follow-up single and new EP has a few spotlights on Canaan Smith. He’s earned himself an opening slot on Dierks Bentley’s Sounds of Summer tour, he’s written a few songs with the likes of Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Cole Swindell, and Smith’s current single, “Love You Like That,” is slowly climbing the charts, floating around the top-15 mark.

“Love You Like That” is your average, mid-tempo love power ballad. There’s nothing noteworthy in the production of this song. It’s a generic electric guitar riff complemented with a banjo, a drum loop, and a faint ring from a steel guitar. The drumbeats are the most prevalent instrument on the whole track. The solo of the song is not even that interesting or different from the rest of the song. Safe doesn’t even begin to describe the production of this song. However, the content of the song draws ire.

The lyrics of “Love You Like That” are a calculated, cliché-ridden pile of junk. Smith wrote the song with Brett and Jim Beavers, and it’s almost as if they were working off a work sheet provided by Mercury Records: Answer these questions right, and you’ll have a summer hit!

Question 1: What famous singer do you name drop? “steady as a Tom Petty track.” Good job. Tom Petty hates us, so we’ll gladly include him in another country song.

Question 2: What time of day are you and your love together? “All night ‘til the sun comes back.” Perfect answer.

Question 3: Do you compare this love to alcohol? “stronger than a fifth of whiskey…..sweeter than muscadine wine.” Oh! Two booze references, you get extra credit.

Okay last question, how does this girl know you’re a country boy? “I could never do it like a pretty city boy. I’m more a fishin’ in the dark nitty gritty boy.” Excellent! And more bonus points for a name-dropping a famous country song in the process. Congratulations, Canaan Smith. We may have a spot for you in the revolving door that is country radio one-hit wonders.

Overall, “Love You Like That” is just a boring, uninspired country love song. Not one ounce of creativity was put into this song from the production to the writing. It’s not terrible and there are certainly worse songs that have been released this year. Yet, the song is far from good. I’ll be shocked if Canaan Smith doesn’t crack the top ten soon with this song, which is astounding to me that a boring song such as this appeals to so many people.

Grade: 2/10

38 thoughts on “Review – Canaan Smith’s “Love You Like That” is a Calculated, Boring Song

  1. Raymond May 13, 2015 / 11:05 am

    This song has actually grown on me a considerable amount and I might give it a good 5.5/10. Canaan I find to have a pretty good voice overall in general the production while safe I find safe for me to be like a 5/10 but the lyrics I agree are bad nice job Derek I don’t mind boring as I find it more middle of the road.

    Do any of you guys plan on reviewing Kelsea Ballerini’s debut album I heard it Love Me Like You Mean It and Yeah Boy Dibs were the only bad ones to me the EP doesn’t do it justice to me.

    Also Mickey Guyton has a new EP coming out.


    • Derek Hudgin May 13, 2015 / 3:15 pm

      Yeah, his voice isn’t bad… good charisma and smooth. But the songwriting is just so lazy. I can’t get past it.

      And I’m sure Josh will address Ballerini’s album or Mickey’s EP in the Upcoming Release section of the Hodgepodge tomorrow.


      • Raymond May 13, 2015 / 4:12 pm

        Ok looks like Mainstream is now dealing the stuff out Derek have you yet to listen to Ballerinis album it’s not terribile at all.


  2. Zack May 13, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Derek, the question sheet part made me laugh so hard! Mostly because its so true. I personally hate the line, “I could never do it like a pretty city boy, I’m a fishin in the dark nitty gritty boy”. Considering i come from a city, i take offense to this, as i don’t believe that being from the country instantly makes you country. Country music has never been about the geography, it’s always been a way of life, that feeling that unifies everyone and is relateable. Granted, many more songs have had worse “i’m country” lyrics. This one just seriously sets me off

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derek Hudgin May 13, 2015 / 11:28 am

      That line is quite stupid. What does “fishin in the dark nitty gritty boy” supposed to mean? I assume it’s just a way to call yourself country with the internal rhymes of ‘nitty gritty’ with ‘pretty city.’ But if you take the words as they are, it implies that he’s a rugged, dirty country boy who probably smells like a river or lake, especially if you don’t want to be considered “pretty” (which I interpret as clean, clean cut, polished). Is that supposed to be appealing to a female? I get that there’s attraction to rugged men, but still….


      • southtexaspistolero July 14, 2015 / 11:52 pm

        What does “fishin in the dark nitty gritty boy” supposed to mean?

        I am going to guess that is a veiled reference to the only Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song anyone plays anymore…and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was completely accidental.


      • Derek Hudgin July 15, 2015 / 11:00 am

        Right. I get the reference to “Fishin’ In The Dark,” but my inquiry is about what that is supposed to convey? Is it just his stupid way to prove he’s country and that it creates the interior rhyme of “Pretty City”? I guess my confusion is if it’s meant to be some sort of charming, “I’m a country boy” pick-up line, the specific use of “nitty gritty boy” doesn’t sound appealing within that context.


        • Josh Schott July 15, 2015 / 11:26 am

          I think it’s just a stupid way to prove he’s country. There’s no way it’s any deeper than this. Remember what we’re dealing with here.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Raymond July 15, 2015 / 11:45 am

        No Josh it’s to prove how much of a rough boy he is. This guy has so much potential. I mean he wrote Runaway by Love & Theft that song I found too be great.


      • Derek Hudgin July 15, 2015 / 12:32 pm

        “Remember what we’re dealing with here.”

        Clearly I’m fishing in an empty pond for something that isn’t there.

        Liked by 1 person

    • bob May 13, 2015 / 12:52 pm

      I also hate that “pretty city, nitty gritty” line but I don’t want to be country. I just want good music and this song fails that test.


  3. Josh Schott May 13, 2015 / 11:26 am

    Your question and answer part had me laughing my ass off. Well done! My favorite was the Tom Petty answer. I think Canaan actually has a decent voice and could make some good music, but these lyrics are just dreadful. Maybe touring with Dierks might improve his song output. We can only hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond May 13, 2015 / 11:28 am

      Josh he does have an album coming out and he had his EP out so we already have some input.


      • Josh Schott May 13, 2015 / 11:30 am

        Yes, June 23. Titled Bronco.


      • Raymond May 13, 2015 / 11:34 am

        There’s yet to be a track listing but I am curious we can only hope he pulls off a Jon Pardi let’s hope.


      • Derek Hudgin May 13, 2015 / 3:46 pm

        I gave his EP a listen and it’s quite bad. “Two Lane Road” is god-awful. It doesn’t make me hopeful about Bronco


    • Derek Hudgin May 13, 2015 / 11:30 am

      One can only hope. I didn’t listen to the rest of his EP so I have no idea what his other songs are like. And apparently he has an album due out this summer called ‘Bronco’ so based on what we know about mainstream country, it’ll probably be full of cliched country boy songs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Davis May 13, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    We can only hope that he becomes a one-hit wonder. But, unfortunately, the record companies invest hundreds of thousands on an artist, so they guarantee that most will produce at least a few hit singles.


    • Derek Hudgin May 13, 2015 / 3:20 pm

      I hope he’s not a one hit wonder. He cowrote “Black Tears” with Tyler Hubbard, which FGL & Jason Aldean both recorded, and it’s actually a pretty good song about a stripper and pain and shame that comes with that profession. I hope his album proves he’s not a one trick pony, but I bet Mercury has it loaded with bro-country as yet another FGL, Cole Swindell type singer.


      • Kevin Davis May 13, 2015 / 4:23 pm

        Thanks, Derek, for the tip on “Black Tears.” I’ll check it out. I’m now interested to hear what his album offers.


  5. Cobra May 13, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    I’m so damn sick of singers and songs who have to remind us that they’re country. I’ve yet to hear this one, but when i see lines that try to prove “country cred” I immediately get turned off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin May 13, 2015 / 3:21 pm

      I wanted to write this in the review (and I don’t know why I didn’t) but within the first seven words of this song we get the phrases “Hey Girl” and “Small Town.” God, that’s just awful


  6. SRM May 13, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    Eh, I kind of like this one. It’s not great by any stretch, but it has this kind of “tough guy trying to be sensitive and adorably failing” thing going (at least for me), and it kind of reminds me of my best friend and his girlfriend.

    In short, guilty pleasure.


  7. NoahHibiscusEaton May 13, 2015 / 4:23 pm

    Your guess is as good as mine why mainstream country/”country” listeners seem to have a fetish for former “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” also-rans! =P

    Call me closed-minded, but the lyric: “I can never do it like a pretty city boy…” is an instant deal-breaker. That lyric isn’t only lame and tired………it’s irresponsible. It only further fuels the rural versus urban cultural war and reinforces negative stereotypes toward both lifestyles much like Eric Church’s “Homeboy”, songs like Justin Moore’s “Guns” and “Bait a Hook” and other songs by Brantley Gilbert, Josh Thompson and Aaron Lewis in the last several years do too. This song as a whole may not be political whatsoever, but that line is no less offensive and a contributor to the culture war rhetoric than the aforementioned offenders.

    But even beyond that lyric, it’s just an utterly hackneyed mess. Once again, Tom Petty has proven to be the recent entertainer of choice to name-drop in a radio singe (Frankie Ballard did this with his previous hit), and you have many of the same laundry list descriptors being juggled.

    This has also got to be one of the most toothless productions I’ve ever heard in a hit “country” single. Granted Chase Rice and Cole Swindell still own the crown, but this is a dishonorable mention. The whole track just sludges along to the point, when an electric guitar solo abruptly comes up in the song’s bridge, the track itself has admitted it was putting you to sleep and needed to exercise damage control ASAP.

    Finally, Smith’s vocals just sound tired and unremarkable here. Granted this is only the second single of his I’ve heard, and so this could prove to be an outlier performance. But here, his voice has absolutely no inflection or texture. And you can kind of tell he’s self-conscious of this and feels the need to compensate for that by trying to wear an accent.


    All in all, this is too forgettable and bland to give a 0/10. But yeah, this isn’t getting anything above a 2/10 from me, and certainly no recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pete Marshall May 13, 2015 / 9:20 pm

    Canaan Smith “Love you like that” isn’t awful it’s really a good tune. I really like this song 8/10 for me.


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