Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #64: "You and Tequila" -- Kenny Chesney feat. Grace Potter

I've made it no secret that modern country tends to trouble me more than excite me. Whether it's laughably bad wordplay, an amazing reliance on cliches, overused storylines or the hundredth song about going down to Mexico to forget one's problems, rarely does country music churn out a star or even a mere song that seems worthwhile to the general populace. The Zac Brown Band is an exception. I would argue for a few others as well, particularly male-female fusions such as Lady Antebellum and Sugarland.

Normally, I wouldn't even dream of adding Kenny Chesney to that list, and as a whole concerning his career, I'm not prepared to do that anytime soon. Even in more recent years, Chesney hasn't changed much (I still don't know how to deal with "The Boys of Fall" without needing a large instrument with which to bludgeon something). But hey, every dog has his day, right? It seems like every mainstream country singer has at least one moment of clarity, during which the music community as a whole is like, "Okay, props to you, this is alright." Note: I don't mean to sound like I'm hating on the country genre, because there's plenty I still like from it. But if your name isn't Zac Brown, Jamey Johnson or Hayes Carll, I tend to approach your music with the utmost of caution.

Anyway, I'm arguing that Chesney finally did something worthwhile after years of mindless drivel. It's not his best effort, but it's good enough for me. It even involves tequila and Grace Potter, which sounds like my idea of a good evening. (Except not really, because FUCK tequila.)

"You and Tequila" is a duet between Chesney and Potter... sort of. Potter's vocal is featured, sure, but in an incredibly limited role. We find her smokey croon on the first rendition of the song's chorus and in a few verses, but merely as a harmony to Chesney's main vocal. So, yes, Grace Potter is here, but she doesn't really get to stretch her wings and go, so to speak. No verse to herself or anything, just harmonizing.

But that doesn't kill the song. The simple fact that Potter makes an appearance here is a joyous occasion enough. The Vermont native has been a rising force in the music industry with her band The Nocturnals for years, and this is undoubtedly the biggest exposure she's received yet. In her day job, she fronts a rock band, oftentimes with a sultry hum that garners her comparisons to female rockers of the '60s and '70s. Here, she's toned down a bit -- partially because she's the featured performer, and partially because this is a different genre altogether.

And you have to give the songwriters credit here -- they came up with some memorable lines, especially on the chorus. "You and tequila make me crazy / Run like poison in my blood," sing the duo. "One more night could kill me, baby / One is one too many / One more is never enough." Never has being compared in likeness to alcohol been so flattering!

Chesney's 'gosh-durn' voice is at its best here, as it often is on some of his slower fare. The song is particularly interesting with its backing instrument choice as well -- check out the accordion!

Especially as he's getting on in age, Chesney may never top this again. Meanwhile, Potter's still young and just beginning on her path to stardom -- seriously, watch out for her next record, whenever it comes. Regardless, their meeting is altogether inspired and very much welcomed. Both were perfect for the part.

No comments:


Blog Archive