Review – Kellie Pickler’s “Feeling Tonight”

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.

Grade: 2/10

9 thoughts on “Review – Kellie Pickler’s “Feeling Tonight”

  1. Raymond July 15, 2015 / 11:12 am

    It appeals to me that is all I got. This should help Kellie radio wise if Kelsea can get a hit on her pop-country than why not Kellie. Unfortunatley this has only been a Sirius XM song. I feel like Kellie is trying to follow labelmate Kelsea. I do think Someone Somewhere Tonight was a terrible single choice. Great song just not for radio. I am hoping this will be like Tough where the lead song is mediocre and the album blows me away.

    Derek 2 things. What have you thought of Kellie’s other singles. Also her album 100 Proof

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    • Derek Hudgin July 15, 2015 / 11:24 am

      As I mentioned in the review, I think 100 Proof is great – a damn good Honky Tonk album. For my money, it’s her best album.

      As for her singles, I like some more than others. The two I mentioned in the article are my favorites. “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” is a little too fluffy, but a good message, and “Best Days of Your Life” is objectively an okay single. Personally, I enjoy the song quite a bit, but I know as far as country singles go, it’s not the best.

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      • Raymond July 15, 2015 / 11:42 am

        While Derek I do agree that this song isn’t good. It’s not I do want Kellie to succeed so she can get some more momentum the tides at radio are changing ever slowly. This was probably the best to release for radio and fans. Just hope she can find some success.

        The only reason why I like Best Days Of Your Life is the video. It makes me laugh no I’m not a sicko. Hopefully her Mickey with her second single and when Kacey,Lauren Aliana, Danielle, and Casadee have new songs.

        Speaking of which Lauren performed at the CMA Fest performed a song titled ‘Crashing The Boys Club’. I’m also looking forward too new Martina McBride really the women should start coming with new music soon.

        I will say I will take this pop-country over the overproduction of Sam Hunt or Raelynn any day.

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  2. Nadia Lockheart July 15, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    ………………and so the Year of the Underwhelming Lead Single From The Critically-Acclaimed Female continues! =P

    *

    Honestly, this is not terrible by any stretch. Merely underwhelming.

    As far as the production is concerned, this reminds me of a cross between eponymous-album era Sheryl Crow and mid-career Shania Twain. I have to say that I really dig the crunchy guitars in that they give this some much-needed pulse and grit that helps elevate it among its countless, toothless peers like (cough) “Love You Like That”, “Love Me Like You Mean It”, “Baby Be My Love Song”, “Lose My Mind” etc. (cough), and the hints of what sounded like a bouzouki give this track something that I wouldn’t consider country musically as a whole, but definitely resembling heartland pop at least.

    And Kellie Pickler sounds pretty solid as always, too. Her vocal actually goes a long way to make up for the fact this track doesn’t sound decidedly country at all and is straight-up pop-rock, and has a willowy texture and undulating resonance that keeps me on my toes. Even though her voice shone more on “100 Proof” and devastating power ballads like “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You?” previously, Pickler doesn’t falter here and maintains a commanding appeal.

    *

    But this is where my praise stops……………….because we now have to get to the dealbreaker…………………the songwriting.

    Look, I know I have been rather harsh on Faith Hill every time she surfaces in a discussion I’m a part of because I fully stand by my opinion she is the single most disposable country superstar of the past generation or two and waste of talent…………….and the main reason why I think this is because she (and her label most certainly) settled on the most GAWD AWFUL songwriting imaginable for her releases. There’s not one song, NOT ONE, that stands out as BOTH a career record AND well-written to my ears. In fact, I don’t have a single album track of hers in my music library either. Her discography as a whole strikes me as nothing but anonymous, shallow pop bait.

    And the songwriting here reminds me of Hill’s heinous song selections. One can effortlessly take the anti-intellectual route and say “Oh, it’s just a cute love song that isn’t trying to be anything more than it really is!” But I’m not going to buy that because, after all, we’ve heard cute songs from her before that weren’t all that deep but STILL have vastly more substance than this. “Unlock That Honky Tonk” is mostly just a party song, but it had an alluring conversational and occasionally off-color conversational quality to its lyrics. Same story with “No Cure For Crazy” with its share of zippy couplets in spite of its tired theme. Even with love songs, sure, “Bonnie & Clyde” is one of the most overdone pop cultural references put to song, but you can’t deny there’s an urgency, an itch, driving that song that makes it at least somewhat distinctive.

    “Feeling Tonight” is just faceless songwriting by committee.

    And that’s a crying shame. Because I’ve always thought Faith Hill has a powerful vocal and have long wanted to cheer for her. She has so much potential, and yet she has always squandered it on some of the absolute worst songs peddled to her and others in the industry that seldom give her room to make the most of her vocal abilities. Kellie Pickler finds herself in a similar bind here.

    *

    Eh……………….at least Pickler has actually released a damn near-classic album.

    Still, that only reinforces how there’s no excuse to settle on something as half-assed as this.

    Because I do actually like the production and vocals, here’s the thing. I’m going to give this a 4/10 so it just falls short of the cusp of a 0 grade. I think the context is crucial here to show how, if you’re going to record pop-rock in country music, this serves as a better template musically than most of what we’ve been hearing otherwise. But I simply cannot review this any higher because, as a whole, this is the equivalence of songwriting by committee and lacks any sort of soul.

    But I don’t recommend this at all. For anyone who is new to Pickler, I would recommend they pick up “100 Proof” to get a glimpse into her country side, and a few select tracks like “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You?” as a means of showing what country-pop done right sounds like.

    Pickler, you’re BETTER THAN THIS.

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    • Raymond July 15, 2015 / 12:58 pm

      I do think she made the right call releasing this. Sure the writing is bad but she needed something more radio-friendly. I definitley see your criticism but I think her and her label knew that they have to get a hit. The songs not good but wait for the album I think Kellie will deliver. I trust she knows what she’s doing. I do think that for artists they want to release stuff so radio and fans can like. Unfortunatley critics aren’t the thing on the labels or artists mind.

      Trust me though Kellie and I think Ashley Monroe will deliver.

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  3. Megan Conley July 15, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    This chorus has some of the most obnoxious, terribly written song lyrics I have heard in a long while. She is capable of so much more. She and her label are trying to follow in the footsteps of Kelsea here, but at least Kelsea’s songwriting was better than this.

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  4. Cobra July 15, 2015 / 2:54 pm

    It saddens me that this is the direction that she went given that in the past, she’s been one of the better ones at keeping it country.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kevin Davis July 15, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    This is profoundly depressing. Kellie is from Albemarle, right next door to where I was raised. She is one of our “hometown” heroines. I was ecstatic and proud when she “went country” on her 100 Proof album and, for the most part, on the subsequent album. And, based on her interviews at the time, she truly seemed to be proud about the integrity of her work on those albums, as genuine reflections of her own rural Carolinian upbringing.

    But now this?! It is a betrayal. And this has been a year of betrayals for me: Randy Houser, Jake Owen, and now Kellie Pickler. I can only hope that the rest of the album is more authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. John in Georgia July 15, 2015 / 10:39 pm

    Not the worst song ever (I’d give it anywhere from a 2-4/10) but still a major disappointment. I’d compare it to some of the weaker pop schlock Sara Evans has released to the radio over the years. Like with Evans, Pickler is capable of so much better than this.

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