Jason Aldean is the latest mainstream country music bro to make it hard to be a mainstream country hater with his latest single, “You Make It Easy.” It’s certainly not anywhere close to an exceptional effort, and we’d be fools to believe that the puffy purveyor of such filthy tire fires as “Dirt Road Anthem” and “1994” has turned a page. But just like Luke Bryan’s “Most People Are Good,” and the latest singles from Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, and others, for whatever reason, the recent efforts from some of “country” music’s worst offenders have been some of their best efforts in years, and you can now add Aldean to that list.
If you look at the run down of Jason Aldean’s previous lead singles from new albums—songs like “Burnin’ It Down,” “Take a Little Ride,” “Lights Come On,” etc.—it’s easy to see they are some of the worst offenses of his often offensive career, just like the list of lead singles from most any mainstream country artist. The lead single is often the moment to sell out the hardest to create maximum buzz for your upcoming album release. But like others, Jason Aldean surprises us here.
The lyrics are where Aldean’s “You Make It Easy” fail to impress. It’s not that they’re bad or abusive to the ear. In fact comparing them to the word sets of your garden variety radio song these days, perhaps they’re even slightly above average simply from avoiding the common pratfalls. It’s just a sex-infused love song, pretty generic, but nothing to get too steamed over.
But musically, “You Make It Easy” scores solid marks across the board. There’s no drum machine, no synthesizer. There’s no rapping, or glaring hip-hop annunciations. It’s a waltz beat for crying out loud, which is pretty unheard of on today’s country radio. This is a bar room dance song. They even find time for a guitar solo, which is pretty subpar, and like so many mainstream solos these days is done with a slide. Overall, there’s not much twang here to be able to call it a true country song. But dammit, given the principals involved here their due, which includes Florida Georgia Line in the writing credits. Yes, even with that little factoid and a full gulp of Haterade to start your day, Jason Aldean’s “You Make It Easy” is still hard to get worked up over.
It’s unclear what’s causing this recent trend of historically bad artists releasing career-level quality songs. Perhaps it’s because slightly older artists like Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean know they’re reaching the tail end of their commercial relevancy, and by making a flight to quality, perhaps they’ll extend their shelf life like they’ve seen happen with Tim McGraw. Maybe they see Chris Stapleton winning all the awards, and are taking a cue from him by releasing better songs. Maybe since the new streaming paradigm seems to be uninterested in incorporating legacy acts, they’re focusing more on an older, more traditional mainstream radio crowd as a power base.
If “You May It Easy” is chasing any trends, it’s the east Nashville R&B Muscle Shoals Dave Cobb sound that everyone else seems obsessed over these days, and has rendered an otherwise stimulating influence somewhat nauseating from its ever-presence. Don’t mistake tepid praise for “You Make It Easy” as an oversight of just how non-country it is, or that there’s any thoughts that it’s actually good. But it’s certainly a lot more rootsy than anything we were expecting a Jason Aldean lead single to be.
Sorry to once again to let down the red meat crowd hoping for another juicy rant here making fun of the size of Jason Aldean’s privates and dogpiling this song with pointed observations, but I’ve got no bile bubbling, and no anger to expend towards this. I can’t say I’ll ever seek out another listen to it once this review is wrapped, but I won’t judge anyone for not changing the station when “You Make It Easy” comes on.