Well halle-freakin'-lujah folks, it looks like my prayers have been answered. I explained why I thought “She Ain't In It” would make for a great single, and it seems like we've finally got what is easily the best song released to radio in a long time.
Now, I'm no purist. Sure, I used to go around hammering folks like Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line for not being “real country”, but truth be told I like Country music of all shapes and sizes. Still, there's just something about hearing some lush steel guitar and fiddle (that sounds like it belongs in a George Strait song) that gets me all excited. The back and forth motion of the steel guitar that creeps up after the hook is a nice touch. Sure, I could go on about how great it sounds, but like other country songs as of late such as “Make A Little” or “When It Rains It Pours”, this feels like someone rode in a time machine back to the 90's and brought it here to 2017. I'd never praise a song strictly for being country, but this just has such a relaxed, melancholy, rich feel to it. .
We'll never hail Jon Pardi for being a great singer (probably ever). However, on this song he honestly feels pretty comfortable in his range. He's not shouting like he has been on his past singles. Instead, he's actually doing an excellent job of playing the heartbroken, sad guy. Sure, the sound is nice, but even in terms of sheer vocals, this is Pardi's best single to date.
Lyrically it explores the ever famous theme in country music of heartbreak, but I think there's a little more to it than that. I mean, the narrator thinks he can finally go out and enjoy life again just as long as he doesn't think of his past lover. However, the fact that he's saying how much he needs to not think about her means he is thinking about her, and it's a nice subtle detail about how much this heartbreak is torturing him.
In short, Jon Pardi really did need to release this single now considering the momentum he has right now. Sure, a fun ditty such as “Cowboy Hat” wouldn't have been egregious by any means, but “She Ain't In It” is the type of song that will do more good than bad for Jon despite its eventual chart peak. Like I said, it's the best thing at radio right now, and it's good to be rooting for this guy again.
Listen: "She Ain't In It"