Any external discussion surrounding this song's claim to fame will be dealt with in due time, because for as many articles that I see written regarding this tune and the artists involved, I've rarely seen an actual discussion on the song itself.
Yes, it's by a Pop artist, but as far as this particular song being the furthest thing from Country music's roots is concerned, all I can say is, Walker Hayes says "hell no" to that. In fact, at worst, "Meant To Be" is simply boring. After a handful of listens, my only assessment is that at worst and best, this is just a half-baked version of Florida Georgia Line's "H.O.L.Y" with chintzier production.
In fact, sonically I have a hard time distinguishing the two. The drum machine and fake snap percussion adds a layer of grayness rather than color. There's some weird sounding steel meets electric sounding instrument during the verses, but you can just basically chalk that up to the producers wanting to add a "Country" element to this. Admittedly the piano carrying the melody does add flavor, and it's nice to see that instrument appearing in more mainstream country singles (now if only we could get the fiddle back!). However, the entire mix just eventually drowns out the song as it goes on, especially during the unimaginative chorus.
On that note, "unimaginative" is the perfect word for the lyricism on this track. Beyond the repetitive usage of saying "it'll be" a million times, it's just an unusual set up of Hubbard (you didn't expect Brian Kelley to do anything, did you?) essentially saying "hey baby, don't worry about love, we'll work it all out together." Meanwhile, Rexha at least seems serious about finding a solution for love, and while Hubbard may be an alright fit for her, him just telling her that she's in over her head comes off as ... I don't know, more than a tad condescending? By the end it's just a lazy, generic "we're going to make it" song that offers nothing of value really.
The two singers have decent chemistry I suppose, but if this is Rexha's song, why is Hubbard singing more than half of this song? For a song claiming to be purely Pop, it sure seems like they purposely didn't let the female artist get as much attention, a trait which is common in another genre I know and love. I wonder what it is?
But overall, I can't honestly say I feel anything toward this one way or another. It's lazy and boring, but also not nearly the worst thing I've ever heard. "Meh" is really all I needed to say about this.
Listen: "Meant To Be"
Author: Zackary Kephart