It’s 2015 and I’m writing a review for a song by Steven Tyler. Not just a song by Tyler, but a country song. What a world we live in. One of the newest trends in country music is artists coming over from other genres where they’re no longer relevant and churning out their own brand of country music because country music will pretty much accept anything nowadays. This goes back to my argument about needing gatekeepers in the genre, but that’s a whole other can of worms. The person I believe to be the most responsible for this is Scott Borchetta. He started it by having his artists do a tribute album to Mötley Crüe last year. Not to mention he’s responsible for Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert and Thomas Rhett. Borchetta also signed Tyler to Dot Records. Still as much as I hate this as a fan, you have to applaud him for his business acumen. Borchetta is evil, but he’s smart and knows how to make money.
There is definitely money in a Steven Tyler country album. After all many old rock fans have flocked to country music, now that rock is non-existent in the mainstream realm. Everyone is aware of Steven Tyler of course through his heydays as the frontman of the iconic rock band Aerosmith. You can’t deny the major impact Tyler and Aerosmith has made on American music, as they’ve produced numerous great hits and a recognizable brand across the world. They also helped usher in one of the most influential hip-hop groups in history, Run-D.M.C. to crossover and mainstream success when they allowed them to cover “Walk This Way.” Needless to say Aerosmith has a laundry list of accomplishment and no way can deny their impact. So coming into this I’m well aware of Tyler’s successes and I knew there would be some musicianship on display in his lead single “Love Is Your Name.”
The big question though: Does it sound country? Surprisingly yes. I expected a much more rock oriented song and this is actually better than I expected it to be. The theme of the song is nothing complex, as it’s a love song about a man professing his feelings for a woman. Despite it sounding weird to hear Tyler in a country song, his vocals aren’t bad and fit more into the country sound than I thought it would. The instrumentation is a combination of a violin, banjo and guitar with drum loops. The sound is not too different from Mumford & Sons on their last album Babel. This actually sounds like something that comes from country radio, something a lot of songs on country radio right now can’t claim. So yes Tyler, the rock singer, sounds more country than country artists.
“Love Is Your Name” is not a bad song, but it’s not a good song either. There’s nothing special about it and the theme of the song has been done to death, although I think it was smart for Tyler to do a love song as his first single. The production is decent, but it could have been better. The same could be said of the lyrics. The “ohs” in the bridge are unnecessary and hurt the song a little. Other than that, this is an above average song that I think will do well at country radio. The former rock fans should enjoy it and many mainstream country fans should enjoy the song’s carefree attitude and simple theme. Tyler’s first foray into country music could have been much worse and this is the kind of start he needed (at the very least) if he wants to be taken seriously in the genre. Based on the current state of country radio, this will be one of the better songs on it this summer. Steven Tyler played it safe with this song, but it was the best choice he could make.