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.