And it’s been nearly ten years since “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” topped the UK charts. We can fairly confidently predict this won’t be repeating that success…
Mark Sinker: A bit drive-by maybe, since this arrives from terrain SO not comfortably familiar to me, but you know this kinda reminds me of? Kanda Bongo Man, that’s who. Not in actual style obviously, but in something — the way there seems to be a whole matrix of guitars dancing about four feet off the ground. KBM: no higher praise. Except his best songs are generally 10 minutes long, and this cuts a bit short and sudden at less than three.
Martin Skidmore: It trips along rapidly, Leann sometimes having to hurry to keep up, but I basically like her strong, rich voice. The song is lively, and the playing is fine apart from the usual rubbish guitar break, but I’m not surprised it hasn’t resurrected her flagging success.
Anthony Easton: It takes a certain amount of balls to record this, considering her recent relationship with Eddie Ciabran, but then Rimes has never had much shame. Better than the John Anderson original, mostly because of that scandal.
Michaelangelo Matos: A jukebox record-holder for good reason, John Anderson’s original actually swung: the tempo wasn’t lazy, but it was loose. This goes so much faster it hurtles, yet there’s something appealing about it, too: not just that an enshrined classic has some juice in it, but that Rimes herself brings a little something to the table vocally. There’s some Reba for sure, but Leann sounds like she’s having a good time. And anyway, better her than Big Bad Voodoo Daddy or something.
Alfred Soto: LeAnn’s got the right attitude but she foregoes the slyness of the John Anderson original; she sings like Robin Williams acts when he wants to be “serious”. Changing the gender didn’t help either.
Chuck Eddy: She swings it a little faster than John Anderson did, and she really belts it out of course, but his hang-dawg drawl gave it way more character. And changing Charlotte to Charlie might make sense in girl-dominant terms (kind of interesting that he’s little), but I once had a dachshund named after John’s Charlotte so the switch sounds unnatural to me. The video takes the “swing” part more literally than the music, which you’d think might be a good thing because who needs another stupid big-band revival to inspire more Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, but on the other hand a little more jazz (as in, Western Swingin’) might’ve spruced up the arrangement. Even better, LeAnn of all people could’ve totally gone disco with this archetypal line-dance number, or played up the subliminal spouse-swapping context; as is, slight speedup or no, it feels like a rehash. A point or two more deducted for what happened at the CMT telecast: I saw Anderson on the screen at least five times throughout the ceremony (including, if I’m not mistaken, playing guitar in the background during LeAnn’s boogie-woogie-bugle-girl schtick), but he was never once named — though I think they even introduced “Swingin'” as an “old country classic” or something like that. That was really fucked up.
Frank Kogan: So, one of the great voices in modern music sings a great song of the ’80s, and the result is meh. Seems as if LeAnn’s trying to create a casual, playful little toss-off; problem is that what makes LeAnn great is passion, not casualness, so here she just sounds inhibited — encased and enclosed in a genre exercise.