And so our top 11 becomes a top 12…
Jonathan Bogart: Oh-oh black betty, bam-a-lam. I appreciate the shitkicking rock & roll, but I can’t say I’m impressed by the sentiment it’s backgrounding. But maybe I’m just another dude scared of commitment and churches.
Chuck Eddy: Holy-roller gospel stomp with blues-rock guitars ensuring power then jolting you awake, minor keys and whispered asides about silver-tongued devils adding drama, words demanding if you like it you better put a ring on it (no huggin’ no kissin’ — well no having his baby, actually, a rather odd threat — ’til she gets a wedding ring). And so far, I’m hearing nothing else nearly as good on their new album. Liked their previous two a lot.
Martin Skidmore: It really is time that country rock guitarists listened to something since the ’70s. This is actually very energetic, and I really like their harmonies, but when the rock elements came to the fore, I cringed. The “you should put a ring on it” message is delivered with plenty of commitment, but I wish the music were less cliched.
Katherine St Asaph: I doubt two of these COUNTRY!SINGLES! are enough to make a trend, but I’ll take them any day over the vaguely rural goop that actually is one. Sure, the whole premise mystifies me; if this guy’s as much of a scrub as he seems, a little white church certainly won’t solve anything, and if he isn’t, why the rush? Besides, viewing marriage as a payment the man must make is why so many couples get divorced. But there are handclaps! And little whispers under the verses, and harmonies everywhere! And when you go down to the church, take me with you!
Michaelangelo Matos: “Ain’t gonna have your baby till you take me down to the little white church”: that’s telling him! But the offhandedness that line and the others are delivered with is very appealing, and so is the tune.
Anthony Easton: If the fucking is so damn good (and judging by her voice, and their guitars, the fucking is excellent), then why ruin it by getting married (though the line “I might be cheap, but I ain’t free” hints at the economic necessity that has become social obligation)? That obvious question asked, another point for hand claps, and another one for the runaway chorus.
Frank Kogan: The only thing striking in the lyrics is that the women twice refer to themselves as gravy, but the harmonies have enough juice to support the comparison, and the track is one big, splashing, glistening stomp.