You know I was really wanting to like Blake Shelton again. I thought for sure that Shelton’s divorce from fellow country music superstar Miranda Lambert was the kind of life-changing event that would make him pursue more serious music. After all a divorce is quite serious and something that makes you experience a plethora of emotions. Many artists harness these emotions to create beautiful music. But Blake Shelton? It’s pretty much business as usual with him. This comes after I wrote a lengthy piece on why Shelton deserved another chance and how he could easily realize his full potential again. He could still accomplish this on his album set to come out on May 20, titled If I’m Honest. But if the lead single “Came Here To Forget” is an indication of what the album will be like, then it will definitely fall short.
“Came Here To Forget” is your typical pop and R&B influenced “country” song that isn’t really country. You’ll notice the drum machine loops right away and realize this is just a continuation of Shelton’s painfully boring last album Bringing On The Sunshine. There is absolutely zero heart or soul in the music. It’s robotic, formulaic, paint-by-the numbers in the production, lyrics and instrumentation. And keep in mind this is a sad, drinking song when there’s nothing about the song that attempts to be sad except the cliché lyrics. A country music heartbreak song needs to be emotional and pull at a listeners’ heartstrings. It’s something Shelton is capable of doing. But here all he does is put you to sleep. While his vocals sound good, he sounds completely uninterested throughout the song.
But you know what the biggest problem is with this song? It’s what Shelton had to say about it leading up to its release. In several interviews he said the song was personal and said stuff like this in an interview with Country Countdown USA:
I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, and that’s put all I’ve gone through and put it into music, and I never felt more connected to a record before. When people hear this record, they may not know what happened to me, but they’re gonna know how I felt about it. And that’s exciting for me, to just lay it out there for people.
There’s absolutely nothing personal about this single, except maybe the line about “getting even with her.” We all got to see this lat year at the CMA Awards, which completely backfired in Shelton’s face as he looked like a huge jackass for pulling such a stunt at one of country music’s biggest events of the year. But can you really even say this line was personal? It’s arguable because Blake Shelton had nothing to do with writing this song. You see when someone has a personal song I like to think they wrote it. When I think of a personal song I think of Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up,” which he wrote for his wife. I think of Sturgill Simpson’s “Turtles All The Way Down,” where Sturgill writes and sings about his journey of taking drugs and realizing that love is all you really need. These are personal songs. “Came Here To Forget” was written by Craig Wiseman and Deric Ruttan, who were also responsible for writing one of the worst country songs ever, “Boys ‘Round Here.” I think that says all you need to know about these writers and this song.
Blake Shelton’s “Came Here To Forget” is generic garbage that is devoid of emotion and any semblance of a true country heartbreak song. I’m sure this song is guaranteed to be a hit because Blake Shelton fans don’t have standards and will eat up anything he puts out. Secondly, Shelton is one of the select group of artists that is in country radio’s back pocket and that guarantees him a lot of airplay. There’s not much else to say. You’re better off avoiding this song and listening to almost anything else. Sam Hunt songs at least incite rage. “Came Here To Forget” just makes you wish you had that three minutes and 40 seconds of your life back.