Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Sam Hunt – Leave the Night On

Or… TURN OFF THE DARK! *Spidey jazz fingers*…

Dan MacRae: Was there an official announcement in the paper when country acquired soft rock in a gentle takeover bid or was that something where you needed to be a shareholder to learn the news?

Anthony Easton: Sam Hunt is better than this. It sounds like something Luke Bryan would have left on the studio floor, and even his voice sounds a bit like he’s doing the contractually obligated Bryan-style singalong.  But caught between the rest of Between the Pines (the mixtape this comes with), with its stoned-out storytelling, hip hop production and sun-drunk lightness, gorgeously unmoored and sexy in the best ways — it has potential. The rest of the songs have a rueful irony and allow for the possibility of failure, the lacunae of loss or the presence of a kind of weird detail (see his version of “Cop Car,” which Keith Urban made a genuine hit). Think about this in context, and the world gets a bit more interesting. These points are for that context — acknowledging this is an intro to larger markets, and also a little bit of a sorbet in an underrated banquet.

Leela Grace: Call him the upstart prince of sunbelt pop. The title phrase is meaningless, but then, what isn’t?

Crystal Leww: I wish that I could say that Sam Hunt reminds me of the first boy that I fell in love with. He certainly reminds me of a lot of boys that I went to high school with: boys in white tees and Levis who make corny references to old Train songs and have corny pick-up lines and yet, they are not corny; they just want you to have a good time. They play on the high school football team, but they’re secretly a little **~~sensitive~~**, playing country music on their guitars on the weekend. They are sweet; they are so endearingly sweet. They know how to make a private moment feel like a party.

Alfred Soto: Four listens later and I can’t hear a single unexpected sung note, chord change, or lyric (“buzzing like a streetlight,” almost). While the banjo sits like parsley on a Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast plate, Hunt sounds like he’s checking in on his own track. He doesn’t even come off as an asshole — he’s a nice dude who likes girls in cute jeans so long as she doesn’t make the first move.

Brad Shoup: There’s a squinched-eyes feel Sam gives that’s reminiscent of the most formidable teenpop, or maybe Edwin McCain. It’s not just another R&B-flavored country tune. It’s X2C, you see, and he’s running down his lines like it’s a discovery. Chatty bros dot the margins, just as slippery, an effect that’s kinda mysterious, kinda annoying. I think the big drums are the hint that he’s got some more pop moves.

David Sheffieck: Back in 2012, Taylor Swift released a superfluous “country mix” for “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” a song clearly destined for the pop charts. “Leave the Night On” sounds like its own country mix, neutered by production that undermines Hunt’s hooks and emphasizes his anonymous voice when it deserves much more.

Thomas Inskeep: I like this song in exactly the same ways I like Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” plus a few more. It’s a bit more uptempo and contains a bit more oomph, along with a few more clever turns of phrase, right down to its title. Comes in, does its job, sung nimbly, gone in just over three minutes: yep.

Will Adams: I seriously think the producer forgot to add a kick drum.

Micha Cavaseno: Soon, it will be five decades since Scott Walker wrote one of his earliest songs, “Turn Out The Moon”. It’s a typical Walker Brothers concoction, all wall of sound, melancholy, moaning. The works. But the guy understood the drama of the light-dark contrasts that make the evening sky such a territory for romance, and tried his best to communicate a need to recover from failure. Sam Hunt doesn’t get a lot of things. For him evening is escapism, earnest plunges, and a refusal to get tethered to reality, and he doesn’t want his studio bro-down halted not one moment. He’s in his zone, man, and life trying to halt that is just unacceptable. So here’s the point of the contrast: aside from both of these songs having purely shit arrangements, and talking about the night, Sam and Scott both want to control the world for purely selfish reasons. There’s no romanticism here, it’s just a cheesy grin and earnest mugging. Perhaps no different than Walker’s sort of hammy performance in obnoxiousness, but what miles of difference make when you just want to keep making sure things go your way.

Katherine St Asaph: Patter and blather to disguise a lack of vocal skill, or a chorus, or lyrics that make sense.

Patrick St. Michel: “The sky is dropping Jupiter around us like some old Train,” a line so bad it made me hit the brakes on this otherwise alright song instantly.

Reader average: [6.5] (4 votes)

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One Response to “Sam Hunt – Leave the Night On”

  1. in an odd coincidence i noticed this wasn’t the only country song released in june(-ish) to reference ‘drops of jupiter’ — terri clark’s ‘some songs’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUtmHIVnR1I) is pretty similar too, both in lyrics and general vibe.

    they are both amazing