Album Review – Easton Corbin’s ‘About To Get Real’

Easton Corbin About To Get Real

If you were born with a golden voice tailor-made for country music, wouldn’t you use it for good? Most people aren’t born with a fantastic voice like country artist Easton Corbin. As I’ve said on the site before, the first time I ever heard Easton Corbin’s voice I thought it was George Strait. There aren’t many country artists upon first listen I like to King George. Yet ever since Corbin’s debut single “A Little More Country Than That,” I’ve been consistently disappointed with his output. For the most part it’s been bro country, checklist songs that Corbin is way above in terms of talents. He could tackle almost any country song he wants and instead we get singles like “All Over The Road” from him. With his new album About To Get Real, I was hoping it would be a return to what made me originally a fan of his. But at the same time I expected some good songs that are completely overshadowed by mostly bad songs. Unfortunately it’s the latter.

The album kicks off with “Kiss Me One More Time,” a pop country love song. The instrumentation reminds me a lot of Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which isn’t a good thing. If this had more steel guitar and less drum loops, I might like the instrumentation. The lyrics aren’t that bad, although the line about their love being sweeter than “honey or homemade line” is cringe-worthy. This song is just decent, but what’s scary is this is one of the better tracks on the album. The next song “Guys And Girls” is one of the worst songs on the album. It’s straight out of the bro country playbook, as the song is about defining what guys and girls do to each other. Thrown in-between this is every bro country cliché you can think of. Seriously give it a listen and I don’t think Corbin missed one bro country trope. From the moonlight to a truck to a small town, it’s all there. This song is just pathetic in every way, especially coming from Corbin.

Speaking of pathetic, next is the completely forgettable “Clockwork.” If you recall this was released as a single in early 2014 and it couldn’t even crack the top 30 of neither the Billboard Country Airplay chart nor the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. Corbin and his label should have just trashed this pop country love song and left it off the album. There are several bad songs on About To Get Real and “Diggin’ On You” is certainly one of them. It’s your standard pop rock, bro country love song. Sure it isn’t offensive lyrically, but it’s just a “been there and heard it,” type song that if you don’t hear you won’t miss anything. Corbin’s most recent single, “Baby Be My Love Song” follows this. I reviewed this song several months back and I still don’t like it. From my review: It sounds like a country song for the most part, with some pop elements fused into it to help draw the mainstream crowd to this song. Corbin’s voice is as great as ever, as there isn’t any auto-tune or other machines altering his voice. Unfortunately the lyrics for this song are…..well for the lack of a better word, horrible.

The album’s title track is Easton Corbin’s take on a “sexy time” R&B-influenced country song. The most prominent instrumentation to me on this album was the drum loops, which on a country song shouldn’t be the case ever. Sure there’s an electric guitar and piano sprinkled in a little, but it feels like that was by accident more than anything. This song is only a little over three minutes, but it feels longer because I find myself getting bored listening to it. “Yup” is another song where Corbin frustrates the shit out of me. This is basically an alternate take of Joe Nichols’ “Yeah.” In-between Corbin singing “Yup” over and over, he’s singing about trying to get a girl drunk and you know of course what he’s going for. Can we stop centering songs on an alternative to the word “yes”?

The most country song on the album is “Wild Women And Whiskey.” You can actually hear pedal steel guitar and the piano. The instrumentation reminds me a lot of what you would hear in a late 90s country song. There’s just one problem: the lyrics. It’s a pretty checklist song about…well wild women and whiskey. On top of that Corbin name-checks Alan Jackson and George Strait at the beginning of the song. If only he followed the examples they set. “Are You With Me” is another one of the better songs on the album, as it’s a love song where Corbin sings of trying to see if the woman is on the same page as him. The lyrics could have been better, but this is the best-written song on the album. Sure it’s not that creative of a song, but it’s decidedly country and mostly avoids annoying clichés. Unfortunately it’s buried towards the back of the album; so don’t expect it to be released as a single.

Easton Corbin takes a page out of the Chase Rice playbook on “Damn Girl.” I could just tell from the title that I would cringe throughout this song and I was right. It’s just another song about a guy picking a girl up at the bar and trying to take her home to have sex. “Just Add Water” is your standard summer checklist song. What? You couldn’t tell that from the title? It was pretty obvious from the title. I’ll be surprised if this isn’t Corbin’s next single or a future single, as country radio would eat this song right up. Maybe in my younger years I would have liked this song more, but I’ve heard so many of these songs that I’m just over them. I’m all for a summer country song, but this just doesn’t add anything to the mix.

About To Get Real closes out with “Like A Song,” one of the softer and more tender tracks on the album. Along with “Are You With Me,” this is one of the best-written songs on the album. Yes, it relies on the cliché of getting a woman stuck in your head like a song, but it works for the message of this song. It’s a heartbreak song where the man can’t stop thinking about his ex and is doing what he can to cope with his pain. This is the type of song that should make up the majority of Corbin’s albums because it truly showcases his talented voice. This is the kind of song that originally made me a fan of Corbin.

Coming into this album, I expected a mix bag from Easton Corbin. That’s exactly what Corbin delivers with About To Get Real. There are mostly bad and forgettable songs, but there are a couple of songs where Corbin shines and shows glimpses of his true potential. The pandering, bro country songs though ultimately bring this album down and make it disposable for the most part. Corbin was blessed with a golden voice, but unfortunately it’s wasted on terribly written music. I still stand by my original opinion of comparing his voice to George Strait, as he could easily be that type of artist for the next generation. But Corbin shows that he doesn’t want this by chasing trends all the time. Maybe one day he’ll wake up and give us his best. For now he’s just giving us his worst.

Grade: 4/10

 

22 thoughts on “Album Review – Easton Corbin’s ‘About To Get Real’

  1. Raymond July 6, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Eh a more if a 5/10. The writing I found to be weak like really mediocre. The production I found to be pretty safe radio-friendly. But also cookie cutter. Easton’s voice does save the album too a point and I like the more traditional,moments but it felt kinda sloppy and inconsistent. When Darius Rucker is putting a better album than you than well yeah. I do hope Easton can stay cause he at least seems like a nice person.

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  2. Zack July 6, 2015 / 11:35 am

    I really juggled between a 3/5 and 2.5/5 for this. Honestly, are thoughts are pretty much the same, except I actually always enjoyed “Clockwork”, I didn’t like when he kept rhyming “girl” with “girl”, but it worked for me overall. The sound really isn’t the problem on this album, it’s the lyrics as you said. You can add all the steel guitar and fiddle you want to a song, if all you’re singing about is a “hookup” why should I care? The good news is that “Are You With Me” was also on his last album so the inclusion of it here should signal that it will (hopefully) be a single…..unless of course the label chooses “Yup” …. :p

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    • Raymond July 6, 2015 / 11:41 am

      Wait Zach I thought you were at a like 5/10.

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      • Zack July 6, 2015 / 12:00 pm

        A 3/5 and a 2.5/5 is the equivalent to a 6/10 and a 5/10, respectively. I went with 3 because there really wasn’t anything “atrocious” on here (don’t get me wrong, there are some BAD songs), but overall I felt the good tracks saved it from a disaster

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      • Raymond July 6, 2015 / 12:04 pm

        Oh I thought you meant like a 2/10. Oh ok.

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  3. Megan Conley July 6, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    For me, the bad songs on this album made the good songs worse. The production really didn’t bother me, just all the terrible lyrics and pathetic pickup lines–it was like a contest for which song could produce the worst, most obnoxious pickup line. “Like a Song” wasn’t bad, but by the time I reached it, I was already so bored by the album, it didn’t redeem it much. In my review I wrote, “Easton Corbin is one of the most frustrating people in country music for me” because he has a voice identical to George Strait’s and uses it to sing this crap. I will be pleasantly surprised if “Are You With Me” is a single.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nadia Lockheart July 6, 2015 / 6:57 pm

      They purposefully carried “Are You With Me” from his previous album to this one because the Belgian EDM producer Lost Frequencies re-mixed that song, released it as a single last autumn, and it has since become a massive hit worldwide (it just peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom).

      Thus, it makes absolute sense they’re hoping to piggyback off its surprising success by likely planning to make it a proper single stateside. Especially if the Lost Frequencies version finds its way to North America.

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      • Derek Hudgin July 6, 2015 / 8:03 pm

        Wasn’t “Are You With Me” already released as a proper single?

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      • Nadia Lockheart July 6, 2015 / 8:30 pm

        No.

        “All Over The Road” only produced two singles: “Lovin’ You Is Fun”, followed by the title track.

        *

        Which makes the success surrounding “Are You With Me?” so hilariously random! (laughs)

        I mean, what are the odds a Belgian EDM producer will come across a B-list American country entertainer’s abysmal-selling album, and let alone draw attention to a deeper cut………………..then proceed to re-mix it? It sounds so funny thinking about! 😉

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  4. Nadia Lockheart July 6, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    Yeah, this album really pissed me off.

    Call me biased if you wish against Easton Corbin, and nothing but a jealous type still living in my parent’s basement………………but there’s not a single entertainer who has disappointed me more over this past decade in country music than Easton Corbin.

    *

    Remember when he released his debut single “A Little More Country Than That” when everyone was praising and hyping him as the next George Strait? Beneath just Kacey Musgraves, the hype surrounding Easton Corbin at that time was arguably the most overwrought. Many were EXPECTING him to wield the traditional country baton and proudly sprint on down the road with it in a time when traditional country was beginning to thin in terms of influence on the radio dial.

    But here’s the thing. While Easton Corbin clearly has one of the more richer and distinctive voices among the genre’s mainstream males, “A Little More Country Than That” struck me as a most shallow song lyrically. Actually, when you really take it in, the lyrics are fairly terrible. Then he followed it up with another dime-a-dozen beach song titled “Roll With It”. Sure: again it SOUNDED good, but took absolutely no chances and, if we were to size it up with Strait’s discography as a whole (which has more than it’s share of insubstantial fluff too if we’re being honest with ourselves), it would fit among his weakest 10% of releases. Then I gave his debut album a listen………………and while it was better than the two singles suggested, again it struck me as no better than the parade of mediocre albums Strait was releasing for a while in the mid-nineties with only a couple standout cuts in “That’ll Make You Wanna Drink” and “This Far From Memphis”. And I think the main reason the album didn’t do much for me is that I felt absolutely convinced ANY male country entertainer could have cut the strong majority of those tracks because they completely lacked a distinctive point of view and struck as gimmicky.

    Then I heard “All Over The Road”, and that was a worse album to my ears. Aside from the infuriating title track that shamelessly trivializes the issue of distracted driving, it was chockablock with interchangeable fluffy love songs that, again, lacked any distinctive point of view whatsoever. All I could ask myself after listening was: “WHY should I care? WHAT distinguishes Easton Corbin from his peers? Does he actually have something unique to say?” All while I continued to see many critics and folks on country music message boards continue to praise him like the best thing since sliced bread became buttered.

    *

    And now, we come to “About To Get Real”.

    Most everyone here already knows how I feel about “Baby Be My Love Song” (which is not pretty at all). And so it’s anguishing it’s only the tip of the iceberg……………….as we have another album completely bereft of personality and distinctive points of view, and rather dearth of identity and artistry in favor of trend-chasing, interchangeable fodder for radio programmers.

    It has gotten to the point where the George Strait vocal performances and his traditional country stylings just smack as a cop-out, more than anything, from his pandering to tropes and lyrical laziness. The bro-mance title track sounds exactly like something Luke Bryan would sing. “Guys & Girls” is dripping with cliches from the ad-libbed Saturday night tailgating to nonsensical attempts at rhyming with eye-rolling lines like “Girls give guys that all night rush, and guys give girls that butterfly crush.” and sounds like a Kenny Chesney song. “Yup” sounds like a blatant rendition of Joe Nichols’ “Yeah” albeit without a towering chorus and flowing more on a groove. “Diggin’ On You” sounds like a rendition of “Big Green Tractor” except taking place in a truck. And “Damn Girl” and “Just Add Water” read (though not necessarily sound) like mid-level Florida Georgia Line fare.

    “Like A Song” is truly the only song here that even remotely impressed me upon listening. It’s a genuinely heartfelt moment that closes the album and where we get a brief glimpse into how Corbin could use his strong vocals to carry more authentic and affecting material.

    Which makes it especially infuriating that you have to wait until the very last track to find anything resembling substance. Seriously! I don’t get what it is about entertainers like Chase Rice to Tyler Farr on his first album even bothering to insert a track where they’re actually trying for something affecting as the final song on their respective albums. Why bother when the first ten to fourteen songs are anything but?

    *

    In the end, “About To Get Real” manages to sink ever further with his worst album to date……………….but most unfortunately, it has only underscored my suspicions and disappointments in him all along and does absolutely nothing to inspire second thoughts in my considering him the singe most disappointing male country singer/songwriter of the past decade.

    He may have the voice that echoes legends of the past, but he is as faceless an entertainer as they have come.

    I give this 2/10, absolutely no recommendation and we’ll see where he goes after subsequent singles inevitably stall and he learns the hard way chasing trends isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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  5. Topher July 6, 2015 / 4:47 pm

    I think I hate on this album a lot more because I was expecting more from Corbin. True, he hasn’t released anything amazing yet, but I always felt like he could be the one to lean traditionally and get us out of the current trends. Alas, it was not to be.

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  6. Lorenzo July 6, 2015 / 5:16 pm

    I like Clockwork, I think it’s one of the best singles Easton released. The melody is not really country but I can relate to the lyrics.
    what really sets me off is that even Easton has fucking removed his fiddle from his music. This is downright outrageous, I loved the fiddle in Easton’s music. think of Dance Real Slow or Tulsa Texas. The fiddle was pure art in those songs. He was one of my last hopes. what a shame.

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    • Nadia Lockheart July 6, 2015 / 7:00 pm

      “Clockwork” at least had an interesting idea going lyrically. I’ll give it that.

      That said, “Clockwork” bored me to tears listening to, and it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest it is his worst-performing single to date.

      I will agree with you that “Tulsa, Texas” was the high point of the otherwise dull, forgettable and anonymous “All Over The Road”.

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      • Lorenzo July 11, 2015 / 5:17 am

        yeah sadly Easton records a lot of generic cuts and this new album his proof. maybe he should get a little deeper and put more of himself in his music. otherwise it just sounds…empty.

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  7. Billy Terry July 6, 2015 / 11:38 pm

    I personally think this is Easton second best album,,how can u get upset with him bro in it up a bit, when u have horrible fans who don’t request your traditional sound music anymore and your sales drop that will make u change things. I’ve always been a big Easton fan and still will be when u compare him to crap like luke,jason, chase, keith, fgl, and there music Eastons music is 100 times better even with a little bro in it,, and live best performer in the business and ive seen him 6 times and he gets better every time!!!

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    • Nadia Lockheart July 7, 2015 / 3:38 am

      Mercury Nashville surely knows both Easton Corbin and Billy Currington are in their twilight years as mainstream acts. They obviously won’t admit this publicly, but they are essentially milking them both for their remaining mainstream worth…………………..and that means putting shorter leashes around their necks when it comes to song selection.

      Since his debut album, Easton Corbin has continued on an approximate 1/3 sales decline from album to album. His eponymous debut sold 43,000 in its opening week. “All Over The Road” sold 29,000 in its opening week. Now “About To Get Real” is estimated to open with 20,000.

      His airplay fortunes will only continue to diminish from here on out, regardless of what trends he chases. Whereas, had he chosen to develop himself as a true artist, he would quite likely have a more stable following even if it didn’t ensure him radio success.

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      • Josh Schott July 7, 2015 / 11:37 am

        Excellent comment that hits the nail right on the head, Nadia. Both Corbin and Currington only have a couple more years left at most before they’re in the same situation as Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum and other acts that are past their prime. If either of them were smart they would have tried to go for critical success with their new albums so they could try to build up a loyal fan base. Instead they chased short term gain again. The album sales for both of their new albums have been paltry. Willie & Merle’s album has outsold both of them and they get zero radio support. Speaks volumes to how much Corbin and Currington are regarded in the mainstream.

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      • Raymond July 7, 2015 / 11:52 am

        I don’t think Lady A is quite done yet. Sure they will never be as big as they once were but I think that they need to find that it song. Say what u want about Bartender but that was a massive hit. What they need to do is stick to pop-country or pop. Freestyle just was a whole lotta nothin song. But I think Lady A and maybe Easton are young enough in their career to gain some momentum back.

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      • Nadia Lockheart July 7, 2015 / 12:05 pm

        That’s probably why Lady Antebellum decided to team up with American EDM producer Audien, and just released the new EDM song “Something Better”.

        They’ve dabbled in EDM influences before with “Compass”, but where that was more dipping their toes in the style, this is fully submerging themselves in it. And, honestly, it’s a good fit for them. One of the issues I’ve long had with Lady Antebellum is how lifeless and bland the majority of their material was; especially between the “Need You Now” and “Golden” eras. It had no pulse. “Something More” basically is true to their usual style, but it gets that much crucially needed pulse their earlier stabs at Adult Contemporary were lacking.

        “Something Better” should probably serve as a trial balloon for Lady Antebellum in seeing what inroads they could make with the EDM community, or modernize the Adult Contemporary sound. Obviously, I hope they engage more with modern country sensibilities, but they’ve never been anything more than pop-country going all the way back to their debut album, and since their debut album their sound has consistently been Adult Contemporary/Adult Top 40.

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  8. fromthewordsofbr July 14, 2015 / 11:09 am

    I see Mr. Corbin is channeling his inner Dustin Lynch with “Yup” (“yep, yep, that’s where it’s at”), huh?

    I enjoyed Easton’s first 2 albums but I dislike this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Easton December 7, 2015 / 8:50 am

    This is great album. I like songs of Easton Corbin

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