Blake Shelton’s “Sure Be Cool If You Did” Shows No Leadership
See, the problem is that Blake Shelton won those awards off of the strength of his franchise built from other avenues unrelated to country music, specifically his judgeship on NBC’s smash reality singing contest The Voice. Like a rising star in NASCAR these days, it’s not only important how well you drive, but if you can remember to hold the label of your energy drink out when being interviewed by the pit road reporter. Without one platinum album under his belt, and without being either a songwriter or musician of any record in his own right (I’ll give you “Over You” despite Miranda Lambert pulling the heavy weight no doubt), the only way Blake Shelton could ever assert any sonic leadership in country music would involve the songs he selects to cut. And in the case of “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” Blake Shelton chooses poorly.
Sure the song will do well commercially, but the opening line “I was gonna keep it real like chill like only have a drink or two” shows that Blake is not ready to lead the country music troops into battle, he’s cowering from the fight by releasing a song that is a cry for relevancy. The chorus of the song rises fairly well, and even has a decently-orchestrated guitar solo in one phrase. But the lyrical hook is flat, and the switching back and forth between an electronic dance club beat and live drums is not a progressive element, it is problematic in how it creates a confusion of mood. Later when Blake sings about a “moonlit Chevy bench seat” and a “little back road” it doesn’t forgive the song’s non-country transgressions, it makes them worse and more obvious, while loading the song down with country checklist baggage as well.
“Sure Be Cool If You Did” wouldn’t be terrible if it just stayed in its element of a slow, dance club song. But just like many current pop country songs, it simply switches urban artifacts for rural ones to qualify it as “country,” creating dissonance between subject and sonic style.
Who is Blake Shelton? What is he? With his first hit “Austin” he would seem to want to be taken as a serious artist. With songs like “Hillbilly Bone” and “Kiss My Country Ass” you would think he’s wanting to be a hard-driving “new Outlaw.” And then with “Sure Be Cool If You Did” he seems to be trying to be a soft-core, pop country sex symbol. That’s the problem with Blake. He’s never led himself in any specific direction or made a stamp through his music in any way. So how do we expect him to accomplish this for the entire genre? He’s an amalgam of milktoast influences steered by executive decisions on how not to diminish the cash value of a celbrity franchise. Even “Sure Be Cool If You Did” feels like Blake’s answer to country rap, without having the man parts to actually cut a country rap song.
Leadership takes boldness, courage, and many times, innovation–things Blake Shelton has never displayed, and is certainly not displaying here. “Sure Be Cool If You Did” is eepish and safe. Instead of leading the charge of country music up the hill against the forces of irrelevancy, Blake’s in the rear with the gear, holding a pristine white flag close to his chest, ready to give it a wave at the first sign that things look grim.
1 3/4 of 2 guns down.
February 4, 2013 @ 10:01 am
His voice sounds like it’s been fiddled with. The song stinks big time
February 4, 2013 @ 10:15 am
I meant to mention this above, but it was getting a little too long. I’m not sure if I hear Auto-tune, but his voice sounds super compressed, so much so you hardly recognize it is Blake. There’s no character to the voice whatsoever. Like the rest of the song, all the edges have been shaved off until you have a soft, safe unremarkableness.
February 4, 2013 @ 10:21 am
I don’t think it is autotune as much as computerized tricks. Your right the sound is to smooth.
February 4, 2013 @ 10:15 am
I started playing the video and immediatley turned it off the moment I started to hear R&B beats on the track. Seriously, people in the country music industry think this is legitimately country? For all those other performers who think otherwise leave Nashville as soon as possible and get your butts to Texas, because that’s where the country is.
February 4, 2013 @ 10:19 am
Holy crap he is auto-tuning!!!!!!!
February 4, 2013 @ 10:45 am
Just look at the company he keeps. That tells you all you need to know.
I find Blake Shelton to be one of most offensive “country” artists out there today. His look, persona, voice, mannerisms, interactions with co-hosts on that awful show, etc. are all scripted and designed for mass appeal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually a cyborg.
February 5, 2013 @ 9:31 am
The way his voice sounds on the song, he just damn well might be.
February 4, 2013 @ 11:12 am
Personally I think Blake and Miranda have let the awards they won (some undeserved) go to their heads and they think they can rule Nashville. Throw in Reba, her husband and others with pull in Nashville—and you get Blake and Miranda winning awards that should have gone to more deserving artists. I can not tolerate both of them talking about drinking and hung over in almost every conversation they have with an interviewer. They are low class, annoying and obnoxious. Blake’s song is a 2 out of 5.
February 4, 2013 @ 11:16 am
Wonder if Blake ever took a long walk off a short pier? Sure would be cool if he did.
TX Music Jim
February 4, 2013 @ 11:27 am
Blake is not going to show leadership. He is, was and ever shall be a pop music artist that plants his feet in what is classified as country music these days. Maybe some day he’ll put ous some better stuff but while his celeberity is at an all time high because of the voice; He will try and play to the widest demographic he can.
February 4, 2013 @ 11:32 am
Hey Triggernan, just wanted to drop a quick note that I really do appreciate reading your articles. I don’t always have a comment, but I find your thoughts insightful and put in a way that I don’t always have the words to say. Thanks for what you do.
So, I’m curious what you think of the new George Strait single ‘Give it all we got tonight’? I, for one, was disappointed.
February 4, 2013 @ 11:37 am
Honestly haven’t heard it yet. I’ll make sure to give it a good listen when I have a moment. Thanks for reading!
February 4, 2013 @ 3:56 pm
The new George Strait song blows big time and I’m a fan. In fact the song seemed so sweet I nearly gagged.
February 6, 2013 @ 9:24 pm
Yeah, that song may be disappointing for George. But it says a lot when that song is still 20 times better then anything on the radio.
February 7, 2013 @ 11:07 am
I find the new George Strait just as boring as what else is on country radio. The song is to generic and sounds like it could have been recorded by just about anyone.
(the newer) Rick
February 4, 2013 @ 11:59 am
Personally, I prefer the chipmunk version:
But then, I’m kind of an Outlaw that way…
February 4, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
Is it possible he didn’t even lay down the vocals? Not knowing all they do these days with technology, but as busy as Blake is, did they just synthetically make up his voice just to get a single out? Could that be what you hear?
Sadly, this sounds like something McGraw would cut these days…which says less than piss for his career.
February 4, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
The song is pretty boring if you ask me.
February 4, 2013 @ 9:38 pm
I certainly thought so. Blake might have been trying for a kind a seductive lover-man R&B; but while I kinda liked the intro, the song overall strikes me as just so much bland pop-country pudding. (It doesn’t help, either, that chorus reminds me a little too much of Florida-Georgia Line’s “Cruise.” Yargh!)
February 4, 2013 @ 2:13 pm
I knew this song was going to suck, but it was actually even worse than I was expecting.
And I agree with the afore mentioned comments about the vocals, they sound weird and artificial and I wouldn’t have even recognized them (though admittedly I haven’t heard that many of his other songs).
February 4, 2013 @ 2:25 pm
I still haven’t listened to the whole song but have heard bits and pieces while scanning through the radio and found it awful; there’s not much substance to this guys music.
I did buy Gary Allan’s new album last week though, been through it two or three times and liked almost all of it. Any chance we’ll get a review of that one?
February 4, 2013 @ 4:25 pm
hes been doing this kind of song for years now…not surprised
February 4, 2013 @ 4:26 pm
at least he mentioned me in the song! Thanks for the shout out blakey! Cross it off your laundry list
February 4, 2013 @ 6:34 pm
I liked Austin and Ol’ Red. Despite it being so contrived and cliche, I even liked Kiss my Country Ass as a guilty pleasure.
I sometimes have been tempted to defend Blake Shelton as someone who really is relatively good as far as Nashville goes, but just says stupid things, but this is indefensibly bad, especially given what he’s been saying.
February 5, 2013 @ 11:41 pm
I liked his songs too but felt so betrayed by his comments. Those songs you mentioned I thought had a true country sound, but adding his comments, the stupid christmas special, and now this god aweful song that sounds like Christina Aguilera cut, is evidence of itself that Blake is full of himself in believing that this that in which he sings is country. I am sorry but I can no longer be friends with him or his past music.
February 4, 2013 @ 6:57 pm
Same shit, different performer.
February 4, 2013 @ 9:00 pm
Wow… thats really lousy music. Can people actually turn that on and think it sounds good? I guess im totally out of touch with whats considered contemporary music but thats not surprising as I’m a jackass on the verge of being an old fart.
February 4, 2013 @ 9:15 pm
Who wrote this POS? Is this another Peach Picker turd?
February 5, 2013 @ 3:50 am
As a musician and songwriter myself I can say that this song is most definitely just auto-tuned Nashville pop garbage. I used to like him when he first came out but I think Miranda and all the conformists have turned him into a softy. This is why I stick to bluegrass and traditional country because it has soul and depth. If country ever makes a come-back, this 27-year-old will be listenin and still flipping through stations but until it does I’ll just stick to the musicians that have real talent. BTW, there’s more to the Nashville music scene than this crap. Check out the station inn on any given night of the week.
February 5, 2013 @ 11:43 pm
Listen to Miss Leslie for real country soul
February 5, 2013 @ 9:12 am
I appreciate all you say here. And the sad thing is, it can be said about a great deal of music going out right now. I feel you could easily attach this review to any number of his singles (and including Tim McGraws) adn the review would read the exact same way.
Thanks for putting a voice to the thoughts so many of us are having at the moment.
February 5, 2013 @ 12:14 pm
I thought it couldn’t get worse than “God Gave Me You,” but I suppose I was wrong. What a joke. Sounds like a shitty, white version of Boyz II Men or something.
February 5, 2013 @ 12:20 pm
I could only stand to listen to 1 minuet of this song.. please forgive me for not giving it a fair chance. I coulnt take it anymore. After about 30 seconds, i started contemplating shooting myself in the toe..
February 5, 2013 @ 5:06 pm
I’d love to know what ol’ AP Carter would make of it. Could have used a little auto-tune and vocal effect himself from time to time. Great word “ebonics”. This sounds like the shit I have to listen to down the gym.
February 5, 2013 @ 5:45 pm
This song doesn’t even compare to Blake’s older, better stuff. It’s almost one of those bombastic slow AC songs like Chuck Wicks turns out. How did it get to be a single? Yet another mediocre song radio is playing to death. Why completely lose all country music (fiddle, steel, banjo, harmonica, piano, mandolin, etc.) for pop beats? No go. It stinks to see some of my favorite artists go so pop and it’d sure be cool if Blake stood up for country music. As country’s leading couple, Blake and Miranda have a duty to proudly uphold country music. Country music prides itself on real Nashville musicians and I’m hearing far too little of these instruments in today’s country
Team country music.
February 5, 2013 @ 8:55 pm
My boss and I heard the first line of the song on the radio today and immediately changed the station. Thought it was McGraw at first. Shoulda known it was Flaky Blake. Pretentious ass.
strait country 81
February 6, 2013 @ 2:04 am
Blake will you fade out of the spotlight? Sure would be cool if you did.
February 6, 2013 @ 5:35 am
I was just thinking. The early Carter family material, Jimmy Rodgers, and latter had great harmonies and you could feel what they were singing. Being visually impaired I have a great appreciation for these things and trying to feel the music. You can’t feel this stuff at all and it makes me very sad. It’s like God himself left the music and it doesn’t matter anymore. When I sing or play something on piano or guitar, I try to give it my all, I’m actually working on a bluegrass project right now and I refuse to use autotune at all. This to me isn’t music at all; it’s a machine. Just throw lyrics together like fast food. We gotta stop this crap folks. At least the subgenres of country show so much more integrity than this garbage. In bluegrass we respect our past and we know where it came from, heck I love doing Bill Monroe, Flatt and Skruggs, and the Stanley GBros music and I’m 27. These “new generation” city boys and girls probably don’t even have a clue who Tex, Hank Snow, Keith Whitley, Steve Wariner, Roy Akuff, or any of the good ones are. Let’s change that y’all.
March 9, 2013 @ 5:32 pm
Like I said in my rant/reply to the article about Blake Shelton calling us all old farts and jackasses, he used to be a pretty damned good country singer.
“Old Red”, “Some Beach”, and a few others were great. “Hillbilly Bone” was silly, but hell, everyone should do one of those once in awhile, they’re fun! (Hank Jr. made a career off a handful of songs just like it in between his more serious work that actually made him great; if you’re wondering if I’ve got an example.)
This song is kind of like Thomas Rhett’s “Beer With Jesus”. Both could have been pretty damned good, but instead they suck because of bad execution of a good idea/theory/concept. I actually like the chorus of this song once it gets past the opening verse. The rest of the verses would be alright if it wasn’t for the auto-tune and the “Boyz-II-Men” like instrumentals with it. (This coming from a Boyz-II-Men fan.)
June 7, 2013 @ 6:09 am
Critics, critics, critics…….just enjoy the artist, who I’m sure you are a fan of, and let him do what he does. I’m a huge country music fan and think it is a great song. Dont be so critical. When you have a career like that in country music you can say somethin’. Anyone can critique ANYTHING. Doesnt take a degree. You guys are foolin yourselves, to be relevant.
February 14, 2015 @ 9:19 am
I cannot explain how much I disagree with you.
July 16, 2013 @ 2:01 pm
Ugh…I had to listen to Willie’s “Me and Paul” to clean the Shelton out of my ears.