Review – Eric Paslay’s “High Class” is Low Class Garbage

Eric Paslay High Class

Not another one! This has been the year of the sellout in country music, as artists who once captivated us with their quality music have turned to the dark side if you will and released music pandering to the current trends of the genre. Among them are Gary Allan, Zac Brown Band, Jake Owen, Brett Eldredge and Reba McEntire. The list continues to grow and one name I didn’t expect to end up on it was Eric Paslay. He impressed me with his 2014 self-titled debut album and even more when I saw him in-person. His last single, “She Don’t Love You,” was a candidate for Country Perspective’s 2014 Song of the Year award. I’ve constantly praised him on the site as one of the up and coming artists to watch in mainstream country music and someone who could bring substance back to a genre sorely lacking it. Now out of nowhere Paslay has turned his back on what made me like him with the release of his new single “High Class.”

This song starts out well enough with the sounds of acoustic instruments. Then the drum machine kicks in and Paslay utters a line about having “a night to go out in style.” That’s when you realize this is about to get real bad. It gets terrible in fact. Here are the chorus lyrics:

Rent us a car, show up late. Valet this ride.

Credit on my cards, money in the bank at least for tonight. 

Keepin’ my shades on inside, all dressed in black.

“Escalade, these Luccheses yeah baby cadi up this lac

We ain’t on the list, but we on the list when you look like this and you walk like that

Skip the line baby and don’t look back. Tonight we high class. 

Holy shit these are terrible lyrics (written by Paslay, Corey Crowder and Jesse Frasure, who is also responsible for “Sun Daze” and “Hangover Tonight”). As you can see this song is about going to the club and partying because that’s the newest theme in country music that has to be beaten to death. Paslay goes on to sing about how great the DJ is and how all the girls are like, “I heard he taught Timberlake.” So we get a Justin Timberlake reference as the cherry on top of this steaming pile of crap of a song. Keep in mind this song follows up “She Don’t Love You.” These lyrics are all set to a dance club beat and some loud horn sounds are pumped in throughout the song. But don’t worry the token banjo is buried in their too. Paslay also borderline raps in the bridge of this song.

I don’t know what to say, folks. I’m speechless. This is just flat-out embarrassing and quite frankly sad. Paslay is a talented artist and he’s reduced himself to making noise pollution like this. We’ve reached a new low and I just don’t know if I can keep covering these type of songs. It hurts my music loving soul. The name country music has been so tarnished I don’t know if it will ever return to its rightful meaning. How can you come back from so many terrible songs like this and be considered a meaningful genre again? I don’t think you can and it’s why I think so many actual country artists are now identifying themselves as Americana. I’ve seen people say it before and I will say it again: actual country music is now Americana. What I saw at the 2015 Americana Music Awards was amazing and made me feel alive. Country music just depresses me. It’s a lost cause. Pack up your bags and head over to Americana if you want to hear the real stuff. Eric Paslay’s “High Class” is just another example of the shit show country music has become and will continue to be for the forseeable future.

Grade: 0/10

I don’t feel like linking the song. I don’t like to pollute the earth. And go listen to the new album from the Turnpike Troubadours.

28 thoughts on “Review – Eric Paslay’s “High Class” is Low Class Garbage

  1. Raymond September 18, 2015 / 10:43 am

    I’m surprised you mentioned Reba since her album was very solid and I saw Gary Allan in concert and he had some promising new songs.

    Regardless I am disappointed in this. While I am not going to call Eric a sellout I am worried about what else the album will have.

    Safe to say I am sad by this song.

    Like

    • Josh Schott September 18, 2015 / 1:05 pm

      I didn’t mean to call Reba and Gary sellouts, but rather just pointing out how they both released singles that pandered to current trends. “Going Out Like That” and “Hangover Tonight” were blatantly going for radio play. As a result it took forever for Reba to reach the top 30 and then had a very short run in the spot. “Hangover Tonight” was a complete bomb. Notice how Allan has been quite ever since? I’m betting that his album has been getting reworked to either a) pander harder, which would be stupid or b) stick to what he does best and not worry about radio, which I like to think he’s doing. Remember I saw him live too earlier this year and I enjoyed his other new songs.

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      • Raymond September 18, 2015 / 1:36 pm

        Reba’s situation and this is something that has been discussed in Pulse. Recall Reba is a Nash Icon artist. For some reason because of being on I think a Cumulus label and being associated that is what I think caused Going Out Like That to just scrap the Top 30 because a lot of iHeart Radio stations refused to add it until it hit the Top 30 and by then the NASH ICON stations and Cumulus had Going Out Like That at such high rotation they had to cut the airplay as prople who had those situations were sick of it. Ultimately Nash Icon is a double edged swords which is why I expect Reba and Ronnie Dunn’s current songs to scrap the Top 40 and that’s it also expect the same for Martina McBride and any future artists with it (Hopefully Sara Evans since she was recently dropped from RCA)

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      • Lorenzo September 19, 2015 / 1:29 am

        sadly Josh, I don’t think an artist can stop worry about radio that easily. artists like Gary Allan and Josh Turner are in a precarious position where nobody seems interested in what they do, no matter what song they release. their label knows it and they sure won’t be releasing their albums unless the artists don’t get a massive radio hit, which is almost impossible. sadly we live in a world where you have to worry about radio.

        Like

  2. Fat Freddy's Cat September 18, 2015 / 10:44 am

    And what is this crap with all of these knuckleheads wearing baseball caps? Is that how posers pretend to be men nowadays?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Davis September 18, 2015 / 10:48 pm

      But, hey, it’s not flat-brimmed with the sticker still affixed. So that makes them country, right?

      Like

  3. southtexaspistolero September 18, 2015 / 11:13 am

    And go listen to the new album from the Turnpike Troubadours.

    SNORT. Still waiting on my pre-order, dammit…

    Like

    • Josh Schott September 18, 2015 / 1:01 pm

      Once you get it you won’t be able to stop listening to it. It’s well worth the wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 18, 2015 / 11:54 am

    Huge disappointment! For the first six seconds of the song, I was thinking, “Oh, thank God, he didn’t sell out” and then the drum machine and singing started. The lyrics are awful and the horns throughout are just annoying. I can’t believe he went from “She Don’t Love You” to this. Hopefully it’s just an attention gainer for his album, but I doubt it. 😦

    And what’s with this new trend of saying “we” instead of “we’re”? “Let’s party like we on vacation…” “Tonight we high class…” Is it supposed to sound cool or something and appeal to the pop crowd? Because it just sounds ridiculously stupid.

    Go listen to the Turnpike Troubadours’ album? Gladly, I need something to cleanse my ears…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh Schott September 18, 2015 / 1:00 pm

      Blame Thomas Rhett for terrible grammar. I know I am.

      Liked by 2 people

      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 18, 2015 / 1:56 pm

        Not to mention Florida Georgia Line and Chase Rice: between “Where you is?” and “We Goin’ Out”. -__- -__- -__-

        Like

      • southtexaspistolero September 18, 2015 / 2:48 pm

        Well, Rhett does say he was heavily influenced by hip-hop, so…

        Like

    • Fat Freddy's Cat September 18, 2015 / 2:40 pm

      I’m not a professional musician, so I’m puzzled by the phenomenon of major label artists using drum machines. Is there some terrible shortage of drummers? I was under the impression that there are generally more musicians than jobs for musicians, so I’d think getting a live drummer wouldn’t be hard.

      Like

      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 18, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        Well, neither am I…but in my opinion, the artists are just too lazy to get drummers. They want something that’s perfect and plays predictably and exactly like it’s supposed to. As Trigger said in a recent article at SCM, “That’s the beauty of humans playing instruments. It’s different every single time, and is pock marked with the beauty of human imperfection.” But oh no, the so-called mainstream “country” singers refuse to accept that.

        Like

  5. Cobra September 18, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    Give a listen to the new album “Lost Time” by Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin. A truly great blues album and spectacular follow up to their critically acclaimed “Common Ground” album.

    Like

    • Josh Schott September 18, 2015 / 1:00 pm

      I plan on it! They’ve been shooting up the Americana chart and it’s intrigued me to check them out.

      Like

  6. Nadia Lockheart September 18, 2015 / 12:46 pm

    In fairness, I can’t be entirely surprised here. Still disappointed though! =(

    The reason I’m only partially surprised is because Eric Paslay anchored his self-titled era on his two worst songs to date by far: “Friday Night” and “Song About A Girl”. I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the rest of his eponymous debut album was upon its release, and he definitely more than made up for those two duds by releasing “She Don’t Love You” as the album’s third and final single, which is one of the Best Singles of 2014.

    That said, two of three singles from his debut album were weak tracks that kept “Eric Paslay” from being an outstanding debut album as opposed to the damn solid one it is. Thus, he has already proven he is capable of both delivering home runs as well as strike-outs.

    “High Class” happens to be a strike-out.

    *

    One thing I will compliment about “High Class” is its use of eccentric instrumentation.

    No, really, don’t mistake what I’m saying with the production (which I’ll get to). The instrumentation is actually pretty neat here: from the liberal use of slide guitar that drives the melody line, to the rattling of tambourine that accentuates the otherwise stiff percussion, to the trombones that spice up the chorus………………they actually had an idea that exhibited true potential with the instrumental track.

    But that leads us right into the production: which just stifles all these contributions. The percussion is absolutely stiff and distracting, where it tries so desperately to pass off as organic with a hand-clap like cadence but instead sounds jarring in the mix. And as much as the brass ensemble do their level best to liven up the chorus, it nonetheless comes across mostly as another generic wall-of-sound chorus with an uninspired paint-by-numbers style. It’s like the equivalent of renovating a local Church’s or Popeye’s fast-food chicken franchise to where it looks like a gourmet dining experience. It may have stylish packaging, but it’s the same old MSG and other questionable ingredients.

    And that vocal production…………………….oh, it’s painful. “I Can Drink To That All Night” was the first track that popped in my head for comparison. Obviously Paslay’s producers don’t abuse the Auto-Tune quite the same way here, but make no mistake: they still abuse it. Paslay’s vocals sound too tinny throughout the verses, then Paslay strains for unnecessary shouting highs in the chorus: which he just doesn’t do well. But the worst part with regards to Paslay’s vocal performance resides in the bridge: beginning with an embarrassing attempt at aping Justin Timberlake or Nick Jonas in emulating their suave hip-hop informed vocal registers to no avail (the cover photography of “High Class” is obviously desperately trying to Xerox Justin Timberlake’s image), and then following up with the cringe-worthy “Ha ha, ha!” interjection at the 2:29 mark. =X

    *

    Finally……………………………those lyrics.

    Uh no, Paislay! You don’t move like Timberlake! We ain’t gonna cadi-up-any-lac here! And what’s the point of wearing shades all night indoors? (Unless, of course, you’re like Eric Church and have sensitive eyes to light! 😉 )

    This is yet another EDM carpe-diem ditty masquerading onto country radio. But here’s the thing: it not only fails miserably as a country song, but also an EDM song. I love my share of EDM just as I do country, and this also fails as a potent EDM song in that it lacks a propulsive melody as well as a cathartic beat. And it obviously fails as a poor man’s Timberlake song as well because………………let’s face it……………Paislay does not have the stage presence and charisma of Timberlake and never will, and his producer lacks the ear for opulence and spaciousness of Timbaland.

    *

    In the end, this is being spared from the ultra-dubious 0/10 distinction: only because I genuinely think it at least offers some worthwhile ideas with the instrumentation that kind of work.

    But make no mistake: this is NOT good at all, and I can only hope……………….much like “Friday Night” and “Song About A Girl” proved to be the outliers of his debut album………………….that “High Class” will be the outlier of an otherwise compelling sophomore Paslay album.

    I’m thinking a Light To Decent 2 out of 10 here.

    *

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott September 18, 2015 / 12:59 pm

      I agree that the instrumentation had some neat things going on and had potential to be good, but as you point out everything else sort of buries it. And I was going to point that out about his first two singles, but my post started getting lengthy. You’re right though that he got his name out there with two mediocre singles. “Song About A Girl” isn’t a terrible song, it’s just bland. “Friday Night” had already spent a long amount of time at radio when Lady A released it as a single and him releasing it was just over saturation. I will say it does sound more fun live.

      I hope this is an outlier, but I can’t be sure. I could see it being either way. Regardless it’s disappointing to see an artist of this caliber lower themselves like this.

      Like

      • Raymond September 18, 2015 / 1:11 pm

        Lady A never released Friday Night. At least I don’t recall I think the album cycles brought Just A Kiss (bleh) We Owned The Night (awful) Dancing Away With My Heart (mediocre) and I think the last one was Wanted You More (still is overplayed) which that was garbage and arguably Lady As worst song. But i don’t think they released Friday Night. I do think Lady A did it better (still not a good song but it’s ok). Lady A just had the song first and Eric Paslay included it with his own take.

        Like

      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 18, 2015 / 1:42 pm

        “Friday Night” actually remained an album track when Lady Antebellum initially cut it for their “Own The Night” album.

        But I see what you’re saying. Still, both that and “Song About A Girl” were painful listening to. It was more Paslay’s shouting vocals that ruined the former for me, and the unnecessarily loud production (and more shouting vocals too) that marred the latter to my ears, along with a lame and lazy attempt to flip bro-country stereotypes on their head lyrically.

        But, yeah…………….”High Class” edges both those tracks out at his new nadir to date! =/

        *

        I genuinely have no idea how this will perform commercially.

        I already feel the mainstream “country” radio market is oversaturated with metro-bro stylings, and quite a few aren’t selling convincingly. Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt and Brett Eldredge appear to be the major names associated with this trend, while most every other male is struggling for a sizable portion of the pie. The Eli Young Band and Gary Allan have especially failed to trying to co-opt that trend………….and I just don’t think Eric Paslay’s has the stage presence and charisma necessary to pull off this sort of commercial feat.

        I won’t be surprised if this fails to outpeak all three of his eponymous album era singles on the airplay chart. But radio did propel his first two singles to fast starts as well.

        Like

  7. Megan Conley September 18, 2015 / 3:03 pm

    He already made “noise pollution”–or did everyone love “Friday Night?” This is no defense of “High Class,” I’m simply saying we can’t call him a sellout over this; he released “She Don’t Love You” after the intolerable bullshit that was “Friday Night.” Not to mention “Song About a Girl,” which is quite possibly the most unoriginal song I have ever been subjected to, right down to the title.

    Like

    • Megan Conley September 18, 2015 / 3:04 pm

      And yes, go listen to the Turnpike Troubadours!

      Like

    • Nadia Lockheart September 19, 2015 / 3:41 am

      I castigated “Friday Night” and “Song About A Girl”, as you’ll find above! 😉

      That’s why I’m only partially disappointed by this. Paslay may have hit the equivalent of a triple home run with “She Don’t Love You”, but I consider his singles record to be 1-3 since his breakout.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Zack September 18, 2015 / 7:50 pm

    That was 3 minutes of my life I’ll never get back…..back to the Turnpike Troubdours! Hell I’d rather even listen to Alabama’s newest album than this.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Jason September 18, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    Oh yes, high class, said the sellout who wears sunglasses inside, shows up late, and cuts people in lines because of how classy he is.
    I hope this is a case like “Friday Night” where the lead single was by far the worst song on the album.

    Like

  10. DontTreadOnMe78 September 19, 2015 / 8:16 am

    Man…. Ya all heard the Rio Del Rio album?? Not one damn drum loop. Bunch of sell out bastards just destroying the world one hand clap at a time I tell ya. On what day did God create drum machines and couldn’t he have rested on that day to? Shit sandwich really.

    Like

  11. SRM September 19, 2015 / 6:23 pm

    Um…I….kind of dig this.

    I think I shall switch to pop radio before I become part of the problem.

    Like

  12. Karen October 11, 2015 / 10:08 am

    Lyrics correction: “Escalade, these Luccheses…”

    Like

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