ALL-COUNTRY MONDAY, Y’ALL! And what a place to start…
Martin Skidmore: Imagine an American Idol charity single by some of the male finalists, all somewhere in the soft rock area. The song is basically “why can’t we all be nice to each other?” with a crap metaphor and some Christianity. The harmonies are actually rather nice, but otherwise it’s kind of nauseating.
John Seroff: It’s probably just me, but when I listen to “Dancing in Circles” I hear “NEXT ON THE WB” superimposed every twenty seconds. I suppose that’s not very fair; Gilmore Girls almost certainly deserves better than this.
Alex Ostroff: Love and Theft spend most of the song perplexed by the existence of sin and violence and theft, given that God has ostensibly already told us how to co-exist. Living in perpetual disappointment at humanity’s inability to live up to its ideals strikes me as less uplifting than their arrangement and melody seem to suggest it is. I’d venture that when we know fighting and killing are a feature of human existence, an unwillingness to resign ourselves to our worst instincts is admirably delusional. But lyrical quibbles and muddled theology aside, I’m a sucker for waltz time, harmonies and fiddles. Plus, hating on something this well-meaning feels like kicking a puppy.
Anthony Easton: When you meet yr maker, I hope she punishes you for this nonsensical sophistry. Also, someone should take the piano away.
Alfred Soto: The sentimental morning-after reckoning for the couple from Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” except the guy’s telling the story to his best friend over a few beers and a mandolin. Pretty, in a cornball way.
Chuck Eddy: These boys could turn into Rascal Flatts yet, unless this is their Christian waltz-rock move. Guess there’s a decent swirl to the harmonies, though. But the fake protest lyrics would sound funnier translated into the hair-metal they’re probably too young to remember, even if their great “Runaway” did contain remnants of Bon Jovi.
Edward Okulicz: A not unholy, but in fact overly pious amalgalm of small-c country and small-everything MOR, taking the worst of both worlds. It has a cornball, vacant air but no wit or empathy, and it has tight harmonies but no exhilarating hooks.
Michaelangelo Matos: The vocal harmonies are scrubbed so clean they’re disconcerting, and the song is nothing. The bass swells unexpectedly in a couple of places, though, which prevents it from putting you to sleep. Stick to the faster stuff, please.