Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Dierks Bentley – Black

Dude, it’s your best score in three years, so I don’t know why the long face…


Alfred Soto: This messy-haired cutie’s usually good for a single or two per album, and, boy, does seriousness not suit him. After explaining how life and sex are different for girls, he settles for a mid tempo churn on which the guitar tunings ring suspiciously like late eighties U2. “I just wanna feel your touch,” he rasps, a cornball with messy hair and determinedly average sentiments.

Thomas Inskeep: Bentley is that rare male country singer who seems to do much better with balladry (or at least midtempo songs) than the uptempo party crap he has an annoying fondness for. This is a “sexy” song that’s genuinely sexy — when he sings “like your dress/on the floor/yeah, the one you don’t need anymore,” it’s actually kind of a turn-on. Bentley’s voice isn’t nearly as low as the great Conway Twitty’s, but he’s got a similar growl that peeks its head out in moments like this. And producer Ross Copperman made a wise, unconventional move by pumping up the drums to thunderous levels. “Black” doesn’t sound like anything else on country radio right now, and that’s to its advantage. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: Yeah, that nasal grating on the “Black” of the chorus is more of a oily sort of mauve if anything. On the one hand, the rumbling percussion and sustained notes make it feel more like a rootsy-leaning stadium adult alternative track, like Daughtry in U2 mode or something; so hearing it in the context of a country song is “interesting?” with heavy emphasis on the question mark. All in all, it feels maybe a bit too dull in its dutiful seriousness, but it’s not offensive by any stretch of the imagination.

David Sheffieck: Bentley does his best, but the song never quite takes off — it sorely needs more build, to more of a climax, or at very least a bridge where the solo comes after he sings. Still, it’s workmanlike at worst; coming from him the conflation of sex and death is unexpected and strangely engaging.

Will Adams: The big opening drums and chord pulse had primed this for a Zedd-level drop, which would have helped sell the rhyme dictionary chorus. Instead we get a lumbering tempo and Bentley refusing to deliver the dramatics that were promised.

Katie Gill: A halfway decent song marred by the most basic rhymes in the history of creation. The understated production and your amazing toned down vocals can’t save you entirely, Dierks.

Reader average: [8] (1 vote)

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