Two years ago country music saw the return of one of its most popular sons. After nearly a decade of retirement from recording new music and touring, Garth Brooks made his big return in 2014. And of course it being Garth it was hyped up to be pretty big because Garth always goes big. Many speculated that his return could make a big splash on the mainstream scene and maybe even turn the radio scene around because after all he was the biggest star of the genre in the 90s.
Well he didn’t exactly make the impact many thought he would. While he’s still the same major force on the touring front as he always has been (one of the largest and most passionate fan bases in music), he has yet to make any kind of impact on the genre since his big comeback. Both singles from his decent comeback album Man Against Machine really did little at radio, with “People Loving People” peaking at #19 and “Mom” peaking at #32. This led me to criticize his lack of leadership since his return, as well as his singles choices. So now after these obvious disappointing results and splitting from RCA Nashville to his own independent label Peal Records (Man Against Machine was released both through RCA and Pearl), Garth is back with new music. It’s the lead single from a yet to be named and announced album, titled “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance.”
All you had to do was show me the title and I knew it would be a Garth song because it’s just so him. Right away you get a taste of the eclectic mix of instrumentation Garth uses throughout the song. If you’re a familiar with Garth you know he’s not really straight country and has to mix in other things. The usual pop, upbeat tempo is well present. One surprise though is the prevalence of an organ in the background, which gives the song some much-needed flavor. The drum play is spot-on, although a little over-embellished at times. All in all the instrumentation and production is solid. It’s admittedly catchy.
As for the song itself it’s pretty self-explanatory: it’s a love song about wanting to dance with your woman. Digging a little deeper in the lyrics, the narrator of the song is heart-broken and had previously sworn off love because of it. But now he’s found a new woman and wants romance again. The song isn’t really deep, but it’s not trying to be. It’s your breezy, upbeat love song that Garth created the formula for years ago. It sounds like something we’ve heard from him before, which is both good and bad. His last album was sort of in a weird place sonically and didn’t really seem to fit him well. So it appears he moving back to a comfortable place, but at the same time you wonder if he takes any chances on his upcoming album.
“Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” is by no means a bad song, but you have to wonder how memorable it will ultimately be. Is this something that has a real chance at being a hit? I’m not so sure. It’ll be interesting to see how much staying power this song has and if Garth can return to being a hit maker like he was back in the day. Garth has yet to put his music on iTunes or other popular music services, which could hinder this single. There have been rumors swirling for weeks about him signing a mega deal with Apple Music, but there has yet to be any confirmation. We’ll have to wait and see. As for “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” it’s the type of song I wouldn’t turn off on the radio if I heard it, but I would never go out of my way to listen to it either.
Recommend? – Yes, if you’re a Garth fan I guess. Everyone else: it’s worth one listen.
Written by Garth Brooks, Kent Blazy, Steve Dorff, Victoria Shaw and Kim Williams
You know the deal with Garth and his music. It’s not available on iTunes, YouTube or streaming services. There are two ways you can hear it and fortunately both are free. You can take the obvious route: Garth has signed on a sponsorship deal with Fritos Chips with this song. If you buy a specifically marked Garth bag of Fritos Brand Chips, there will be a code in the bag to get a free download of the song. You go to http://www.freegarthsong.com and enter the code there to get the download. The not so obvious route: sign up for a free account on allaccess.com and you can stream the song on it (but you can’t download it).