Honestly, even if you had given “Rock On” to another vocalist, I’m not quite sure I would have liked it. The hook wasn’t quite as clever as the writers thought it was, and there was a sense of arrogance hidden beneath the narrator’s pain of seeing his former love move on. He wants her to move on, and yet says “rock on like you don’t miss me”, as if he thinks that she can’t be nearly as happy with anyone besides him.
Now with Tucker’s newest single, “Momma and Jesus”, it seems like he’s 0 for 2 for me right now. As mainstream country music shifts back towards steps of neo-traditional country and quality, it’s natural that some are going to peg this as the advent of another “outlaw” era in country music. So naturally we get a song about a narrator who’s got his demons and lives life too fast because of course we do.
It’s not even the overall idea this song carries that makes me not like it. It’s that there’s little to no nuance present at all within the lyrics. The narrator knows that he needs to stop his rowdy ways for his mother and Jesus, and yet he states in the chorus that he needs to have one last hurrah. I’m sorry, but if you’re trying to clean up your life and know that you’re disappointing someone by continuing your “rowdy” ways, shouldn’t you stop there instead of partying one last time? The song tries to paint Tucker as some badass and it comes across quite flat. That’s not even to mention that songs about having inner demons have been done better countless times before.
Elsewhere, the song opens with what sounds like an annoying drum beat or stuttering guitar lick or…..something. I don’t know. All I know is that whatever it is, it sounds awful. And look, while Tucker is a horrible vocalist, I don’t want to hammer on the fact for this review either. Actually, to give Tucker some credit, even though he’s an awful vocalist, you can tell that he’s at least trying to sell his songs with some sincerity and that goes a long way with me (probably the only reason I really “20-10 Tennessee”). He doesn’t really deliver on this song but he’s at least trying to sell some sort of regret in this song. It’s just a shame that the results come out so poor.
Overall, considering that Tucker doesn’t have On The Verge backing him this go-around, I’m not quite sure if he can turn this into a hit. It’s just way too generic to really make one love or hate it. As for my thoughts overall? Eh…..
Listen: "Momma and Jesus"
Author: Zackary Kephart