Former American Idol contestant and Dancing With The Stars winner, Kellie Pickler, hasn’t found as much consistent success with country radio as she may like. Her 2012 album, 100 Proof, was praised by critics for her traditional styling and personal lyrics. However, the album was practically ignored by her label who did very little to help her make it a hit. Her follow-up, The Woman I Am, added a little more edge to her country music, but still resulted in lackluster charting singles. In fact, Kellie Pickler hasn’t had a single chart higher than 30 since the turn of the decade. Now Kellie is back with a new single trying to get the eyes and ears of country radio gazing back her way. And what better way to attract country radio listeners than by releasing a song that’s borderline pop! That’s what we have with “Feelin’ Tonight.”
Sure, right off the bat you’ll hear a quick banjo lick that kicks off the production, but that’s quickly abandoned for a heavy electric guitar and some sort of guitar tone/siren behind it. Heavy drums climb in to create a sound tailor-made for the song to thrive in arena settings. The overproduction even exists on Kellie Pickler’s vocals. Pickler’s North Carolina country twang gives her one of the most distinctive voices in country music, yet that twang feels rather subdued on this track. It sounds like there may even be a bit of auto-tune on her vocals as well.
The lyrics don’t help the song much, either. “Feelin’ Tonight” finds Kellie Pickler asking her man, if he’s still awake, to pick her up and take a drive “past the city glow.” There, they can be romantic in the country air. The lyrics paint the same damn picture we hear all the time in country music. The repetition in the lyrics is obnoxious, too. Just read the chorus:
Hey are you feelin’
Just what I’m feelin’?
Cause’ I’m up for feelin’ any kinda feelin’
You feel like feelin’ tonight.
I can’t even put into words how dumb I think that chorus is. Honestly, with the “ooo ooo ooo’s” and bubblegum pop production, I keep picturing some Disney actress releasing this song as an anthem to go along with her big movie, like what Hillary Duff did with The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Josh’s Disney comments in his Hunter Hayes review can be put right in on this song too.
Kellie Pickler is capable of much better music. Take a look at songs like “Someone Somewhere Tonight” or “I Wonder” to know where I believe to be the bar for Kellie Pickler’s music. “Feelin’ Tonight” falls way short of that bar. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but when you have three albums of good pop country blends and a damn good honky-tonk album under your belt, then that’s the standard by which your music gets judged. Kellie Pickler is one of my favorite female country singers, but “Feelin’ Tonight” is a giant swing and miss.