Look, there's nobody who wants to be on Jason Aldean's side when it comes to his music more than I do. He used to be a favorite of mine when I was a kid, and considering he was on the receiving end of some asinine criticism last year, I found myself on Jason's side more than I wasn't at that time. I also understand that he's in a special time in his life with the birth of his son, Memphis, so if anything, the music is deservingly taking a backseat, and for God's sake, he does at least seem happier these days.
With that said though, just because one tries to go for something different with their music doesn't always mean it will work. Yes, his new single “You Make It Easy” (off of the new album, Rearview Town) is a nice change of pace from his usual country-rock “in your face” style, but that doesn't mean Jason automatically deserves a ton of praise. Think about it – him doing a cover of “Gucci Gang” would have been different, but it doesn't mean it's good.
Of course, I say all of these to lead up to the fact that “You Make It Easy” is (spoiler!) not good, but truthfully it's more plain and boring rather than anything awful. While Aldean's aforementioned past hits had him ahead of his time, “You Make It Look Easy” looks to pull from the same soulful Country well that Keith Urban pulled from to make “Blue Ain't Your Color”. Chris Stapleton also pulled from it to do his rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey”. In terms of the style, besides the organ and electric guitar, it doesn't offer much more. Yes, it's a refreshing change of pace from his usual guitar driven macho country-rock (which I do like for the most part by the way), but it sounds so dull and lifeless. If you're going to remember this song for anything, it's its other elements.
I don't know why they insisted on having that weird vocal effect to make Aldean sound buried underneath the production, but they should have left it off because it makes the song much worse. Truthfully this is probably the most alive and charismatic performance I've ever from Jason since well...ever (stoicism is his game, but there's nothing wrong with showing a little life now and then). If anything, for once, Jason Aldean is the highlight of the track, mostly because he sounds convincing in his love letter to his wife.
Speaking of, that takes us to the lyrical content, and honestly there's not much to say. You can guess what this is about based on the title, and honestly it doesn't offer anything unique or interesting along the way. You've heard the cliches – she's his sunshine on a dark day, his saving grace, and she makes him a better man. There's even a line about her essentially turning him away from his “bad boy” side (okay, Jason). Again, his delivery does help to add somewhat of a charm to this overall, but there's nothing particular striking about this on paper.
So overall, I do respect Jason's willingness to change his sound in the interest of adding some diversity to his catalog, but the end result is a song that's not all that memorable. It's alright, and that's kind of all there is to say.
Listen: “You Make It Easy”
Author: Zackary Kephart