Review – Tim McGraw’s Mediocre New Single “Top of the World”

Tim McGraw Top of the World

Why Tim? Why did you have to do this? Didn’t you learn from before not to chase trends? A few years ago McGraw tried his hand at being hip and cool to keep up with the un-country sounds of mainstream country by releasing the atrocious single, “Lookin’ For That Girl.” It was an all-around bomb at radio and in sales. It was the cold water to the face McGraw needed to wake him up and make him realize that he didn’t need to be something he wasn’t to be successful. So his next three singles were all great and experienced great success at country radio. Why? Because it was in his wheelhouse, which is late 90s to early 2000s style country. It plays a little to radio, but it’s traditional for the most part. “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”, “Shotgun Rider” and “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” were three of the best singles to released to country radio in the last year. Not to mention McGraw’s 2014 album Sundown Heaven Town was a good album.

This made it all the more puzzling when McGraw just released his new single “Top of the World,” the first from his new upcoming album. The song starts out with the sound of heavy drum beats and a token acoustic instrument that sounds like it was just thrown in as an afterthought. Luckily, the drums beats disappear for the majority of the song. Instead the sound we get through most of the song is a very neutered and subdued pop country meets adult contemporary sound. All I know is it’s a far cry from the traditional arrangement of his last three singles. The song itself is about falling in love and a man expressing his emotions for his woman. It’s your typical love song that’s just there. The lyrics aren’t that inspiring nor romantic. Just look at the chorus:

Cause when you got love, like we got love
I’m holding on to heaven, holding on to you
When you got one, like I got one
Anyway you looking, it’s a hell of a view

Don’t know where we’re gonna be
But I know we’re gonna be
Sitting on top of the world
So keep hanging on to me
Yeah, don’t you wanna be
Sitting on top of the world
Top of the world

They aren’t very interesting at all. Really just leave me saying meh after listening to them. Then a few days later if you ask me to recite them back, I couldn’t because they’re just so forgettable. This wasn’t a problem with the other three singles. So not only does this song not sound country, it’s not even catchy either. I thought these pop country songs appealing to radio were supposed to have a hooky that’s easy to remember? It should also be mentioned that McGraw just doesn’t sound that excited in the song either. For a man with a lot of charisma, it’s pretty devoid here.

I was hoping McGraw was going to continue his streak of quality singles, but it ends here with “Top of the World.” It’s a shame because it appeared we could finally have a mainstream country artist we could count on to release something good to country radio. This surely isn’t the worst song on country radio right now, but it’s a big disappointment considering the bar McGraw has set with recent singles. He’s capable of more and everyone know its. It had a hot-shot debut at #30 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this past week, so it could be poised to have a successful run at radio. Or it could ultimately stall out on the chart like “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.” I could see it going either way. Regardless I hope this is just a deja vú of the last album McGraw released where the first single sucked and the rest were good. We’ll have to wait and see. I just know that “Top of the World” isn’t a good song and a disappointment to this critic.

Grade: 4.5/10

28 thoughts on “Review – Tim McGraw’s Mediocre New Single “Top of the World”

  1. Scotty J August 14, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    Don’t forget ‘Truck Yeah’ the lead single from his album before ‘Sundown’ that may be the most embarrassing single ever released by a major, future Hall Of Fame performer ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lorenzo August 14, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    I think Tim has proven that he’s interested in releasing quality music. His strategy is perfectly working: he releases an uncomfortable and usually monstrous song (truck yeah and looking for that girl) to shock country radio and his fans so much that it paves the way for his following single (one of those nights and meanwhile back at mama’s), always seen as a comeback to his roots. I actually enjoyed the song and I’m glad that Tim released this song instead of another utter piece of garbage. This will bring him into the spotlight again and his new music will hopefully be successful

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  3. Kevin Davis August 14, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    Yeah, the drum beats at the beginning are disconcerting, to say the least. The song is definitely a step back, but it could be much worse, as we all know. It’s an entirely forgettable song, as Josh said. I find the chorus to be very annoying by the second listen. It is clearly grasping at a pop sing-along, stuck-in-your-head type of chorus, but it doesn’t work — not for me, at least. I’m obviously not the average country fan today; after all, I had Jason Isbell’s latest song, “Something More Than Free,” stuck in my head all week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 14, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    This is a huge disappointment quality-wise—I’d give it a 3.5/10—but as Lorenzo pointed out, his lead singles have as of late tended to be bad songs that are just attention-gainers for his album. I don’t think we have anything to worry about; McGraw learned his lesson when “Lookin’ For That Girl” bombed, so he won’t be dumb enough to have a whole album of pandering, mediocre songs like this one. And it would’ve been a big risk to release a deeper, traditional country song to radio as his lead single, like “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools,” which was lucky to get as far as it did.
    I’m still convinced his next album will be a solid, mostly traditional album like “Sundown Heaven Town.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kuzco August 14, 2015 / 5:53 pm

    I see where you all are coming from, but I still like the song a lot. Is it his best? No, not even close. But, the drum machine intro aside, it mostly works for me as a breezy, laid back love song. The lyrics are adequate and the chorus is catchy for me. Certainly, that’s not high praise, but I would give a solid 6-7. Maybe I’m becoming cynical, but I feared it would be much, much worse given the releases of Truck Yeah and Lookin for that Girl. I’m definitely not disappointed as you, Josh. Although I am disappointed he didn’t release either City Lights or Overrated as a fifth single.

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  6. petemarshall724 August 14, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    Is this song better than “Truck Yeah” and “Looking for that girl”?

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    • Josh Schott August 14, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      Yes

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  7. Scotty J August 14, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    The other thing about this is Tim McGraw is in the position to be one of those gatekeeper types that has been talked about so much. He has the ability, as he has proven the last year, to release more country sounding material and still have hits therefore he is in a unique position to keep that up but he seems to always want to, or maybe is pushed to, release the occasional trend chasing single (of which I agree this is the least offensive) that leaves you scratching your head.

    If the ones that can don’t then the end is near for country music on the radio.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Derek Hudgin August 14, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    This was quite bland. I’m surprised he wouldn’t have gone for a 4th single of Sundown Heaven Town. “Overrated” or “Sick of Me” would have been nice options.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond August 14, 2015 / 10:05 pm

      You mean 5th since it went Looking For That Girl
      Meanwhile Back At Mama’s
      Shotgun Rider
      Diamond Rings & Old Barstools.

      I feel like Tim just has a lot of music he’s wanted to get out since the Curb Records debacle. Just a theory as for this song it’s catchy and Tim sounds in control just want more production to grab me or intresting lyrics.

      Are you guys gonna review Dierks Bentley Riser. You guys have zero Dierks reviews and it’s bugging me.

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      • Derek Hudgin August 15, 2015 / 9:27 pm

        Oh, right. I forgot about the atrocious first single from the album.

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