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The only possible explanation for Kyle Park’s new album called The Blue Roof Sessions is that there’s a deep-seeded conspiracy behind it to screw with all of our country music heads. “Bad” doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface of the ridiculous experience listening to this record entails. When I popped this thing on the speakers, I swear to Eric Church’s Country Music Jesus that I was half expecting a camera crew to bust out of the Saving Country Music headquarters’ spare office to capture my reaction that was somewhere between absolutely abhorred and physically incapacitated by an overwhelming amount of incidental comedy.
Imagine Eddie Rabbit being gang raped by four 80’s-era German neo nazi militant vegans with pet monkeys and televisions on their heads dressed in spandex onesies in a European youth hostel while listening to Warrant on handheld boomboxes, resulting in Mr. Rabbit giving birth to an Eddie Money diarrhea baby who immediately begins singing Loverboy on a first-generation consumer-grade Karaoke machine . . . That’s pretty much how I would describe this album. The Blue Roof Sessions is music for Jane Fonda to teach jazzercize to.
Listen to me ladies and gentlemen: on The Blue Roof Sessions, Kyle Park, who is sold to us as one of Texas country’s staunch traditionalists, cover’s Billy Squier’s “Rock Me Tonight.” Let me repeat that: KYLE PARK COVERS BILLY SQUIER’S “ROCK ME TONIGHT!” I guess Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” was on hold by Jerrod Niemann. What in the hell is going on here? Is Kyle Park trying to pull a Sturgill Simpson a la When in Rome’s “The Promise”? Because if he is, Mr. Park just shit the bed. Seriously, somebody should have intervened.
I am absolutely shocked, and this is from someone who had sniffed out Kyle Park as a phony many moons ago. This album doesn’t just make me scared for the future of country music, it makes me just plain scared for the future. I never want to leave my house again.
One of the knocks on Texas country is that many of the artists are just one step behind the awfulness coming off of Music Row and are trying to keep up. In this instance, Kyle Park may be one step ahead. The play here for some sort of recognition from the mainstream for being groundbreaking is so incredibly transparent, it makes me feel flat out embarrassed for Kyle Park.
At least with Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, and Florida Georgia Line, you can listen to the music and understand the rationale of how it will find a wide audience. With The Blue Roof Sessions, it damn well better find a wide audience, because before this record, Kyle Park made his money by fooling folks in Texas into thinking he was a traditional country, just like his regular running buddy Cody Johnson. I can’t tell you how many trolls have showed up to Saving Country Music over the years saying the site is illegitimate for not touting these two guys. I’d love to hear those folks’ explanation for Kyle Park’s “Like The Rain” from this record.
And the sad thing is, if you take a few of the songs away from the album, it’s not terribly bad. It’s never good at any point, and the writing is completely sub par and slapped-together-feeling throughout. It’s almost like it didn’t even matter what these songs were about when they were being cut; the words were just filler for the stylized production envisioned for many of these songs.
But there’s actually quite a bit of steel guitar here, and the majority of the songs are pretty straightforward Kyle Park stuff, aside from the entirety of the vocals throughout the record being run through this extremely corrosive filter of Auto-tune and some annoying ever-present echo effect that is so effusively bad and broad brushed on everything, it ruins otherwise forgivable pop country songs. And don’t get me started with the hyperventilating, extreme, sparks-flying-out-of-the-headstock, take-your-penis-out-on-stage-and-helicopter-it-around stunt guitar histrionics in some of these songs. I mean at times this stuff veers towards Dragonforce.
But hey, the song “I Lose, You Win” isn’t terrible, though the vocals are so aggressively processed, it’s hard to take anything seriously. Same goes for “What Goes Around Comes Around.” These are decent, solid Texas pop country songs that if you put an entire album together of, would be just fine. But Kyle Park swerves so far off the page starting with the very first track “Come On” and its positively stupid chorus, then the embarrassing “Like The Rain” that should have been left on the cutting house floor, some songs on this record are nothing short of unconscionable. If he wanted people’s attention, he definitely got that. You may only set off stink bombs in one room of a house, but if they smell this bad, folks are going to gangway, and not stop to admire how attractive the dining room set is on their way out.
And Kyle Park has got to be the biggest walking billboard in Texas country, including big deals with Bud Light, Tony Lama boots, and Wrangler, making him even more unlikable. He clearly has visions of creating his own lifestyle brand and mega entertainment franchise, so no wonder the quality of the music is a second thought.
Again, despite the harsh take on this album, there is some salvageable stuff on The Blue Roof Sessions, but there’s no forgiving the egregious trespasses it perpetrates in certain tracks.
Now, tell me how his music doesn’t suck because he’s such and awesome guy and gives money to charity.
1 1/2 of 2 Guns Down (3/10)
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