Garth Brooks Saves The World in “We Belong To Each Other”

Oh thank God. With the vacuum of leadership and trust the United States is experiencing as we pinball from one crisis to another in the throes of racial injustice and political strife while a pandemic continues to persist, we search our elected officials and popular icons for a voice of unity and purpose, pleading with the heavens, “Who will will rise out of the noise and madness to save and unite us all?” Meanwhile the answer has been right under our noses the whole time. How stupid have we been? Clearly, our savior, the man who can resuscitate the unity and hope in America is none other than a pudgy 58-year-old Garth Brooks.

Look, I’m a Garth Brooks apologist. And make no mistake, that’s an occupation that will keep one quite busy. Go back and listen to those early Garth records and try to claim he’s not good or not country. I dare you. But there’s no real apologizing for this. “We Belong To Each Other” is the slap dashing together of extremely cliche and tokenism frap passed off as verses, while Garth squeezes every fiber of his being into a pandering effort exploitative of the moment like a T-shirt two sizes too small. The only saving grace here is that this song will pass like a fart in the wind, and hopefully, never be spoken of again.

“We Belong To Each Other” is Garth making a pathetic attempt to interpret Doo-Wop for no other apparent reason than it gives him a good excuse to put a chorus of black backup singers behind him in the mix so he can claim claim diversity and inclusion, and then double damns the song by setting it in some weird island time vibe, perfect for sipping a fruity drink out of the husk of a pineapple to, while in the real world buildings burn and protests rage. Way to read the room, Garth. The lyrics are like the scribbles on an inspirational version of a Mad Lib sheet, perfectly passionless and uninspired, and rendered inert aside from the incidental comedy they afford.

Maybe it’s the thought that counts, like that great aunt that still sends you $15 on your birthday. And though with Garth Brooks there’s always a financial equation being crunched somewhere in his mental calculations, he has actually taken the surprising step of releasing “We Belong To Each Other” where most people actually can hear it, unlike the rest of his streaming music that only lives in the Amazon environment.

And if you’ve been following Garth Brooks throughout his career, you know his effort itself here is probably sincere, in his signature dorky white guy sort of Garth way. Despite his life’s purpose to suck up every single discretionary dollar music consumers have with endless box set releases and now charging folks $100 a car to sit out in the heat and watch him perform on a screen at drive-ins (while still not fulfilling the pre-orders for his endlessly-delayed new album Fun) Garth Brooks does see himself as having a responsibility as a superstar.

Remember when Garth came out of retirement in 2014, and was supposed to release the Caitlyn Smith-penned “Tacoma” as his comeback single, but then did a switcheroo at the very last minute with the ultra-sappy “People Loving People” as a response to ISIS setting up a caliphate and beheading people on film? Or the time in 1993 when Garth stopped down the entire Super Bowl and refused to perform the National Anthem until they played a specially-prepared video for his song “We Shall Be Free” in response to the Rodney King race riots? This release of “We Belong To Each Other” is very, very much in the Garth vein of rising to a memorable moment to deliver a song everyone will quickly forget.

If only it was as easy as recording formulaic pablum to fundamentally address the systemic problems we haven’t been able to pacify in generations. But the only thing people will unify behind from “We Belong To Each Other” is how this song is just another bad and forgettable Kumbaya attempt by Mr. G.

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