Monday, May 14th, 2018

Chris Lane ft. Tori Kelly – Take Back Home Girl

Tag yourself; we’re Tori…


[Video]
[3.86]

Alfred Soto: You know, Chris, even Sam Hunt thinks he doesn’t need Mom’s approval before bringing home “your” girl. The preacher said so too.
[2]

Thomas Inskeep: This is so Sam Hunt in everything from its rhythms (those tricky little triplets) to its lyrics to its delivery — really, the only thing making it stand out is Tori Kelly’s vocals — that it’s practically plagiarism. She sounds like a natural here, much more relaxed and likeable than on her own mediocre pop records: career swerve coming? But it’s missing the sense of personality that occasionally makes Hunt’s hits stand out. My [5] is probably generous.
[5]

Jonathan Bogart: Verse cadences borrowed from R. Kelly can’t cover up the fact that this is straight-up Nashville cornpone, as the dirt-dumb chorus acknowledges. The homegirl pun is twenty years too late and (since the song can’t imagine friendship between the sexes, only lust or marriage) unexamined. I don’t believe I know Tori Kelly’s work beyond this, but I do know that she deserves better.
[4]

Jonathan Bradley: Wait, is she a homegirl because Chris Lane’s country is inflected with the kind of R&B phrasings that suggested he listened to Montevallo for the first time a week ago and was like “I didn’t know you could do that!” (And what would Eric Church say about this homegirl?) Lane is not as expressive a performer as Sam Hunt, who uses his heterodoxy to expand his emotional range; Hunt understands that R&B is about dramatizing at large scale the full range of romantic and sexual feeling encompassed in a relationship. By contrast, Lane only sings smooth and looks pretty, which turns out to his benefit: “Take Back Home Girl” recalls an early ’00s radio jam in its easy flirtiness and undemanding melody. Chris-and-Tori might hope to be a hick Ja-and-Ashanti, but that would require a smarter male lead; one less disposed to ruining a hook with oily insistence and honking repetition.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: The imagery is trite, the implied Madonna-whore stuff is annoying, “my little crowd-pleaser” is gross, but I’ve got another peeve. There’s an affectation in country songwriting where writers snowclone the hell out of phrases with ever-ungainlier lines in hopes of sounding jaunty — it’s better shown than explained, so think Walker Hayes’s “get my forget-you on” — that’s on full hacky display here. If I had to sing “you got that down-home, homegrown, found on good ground soul” I’d mumble too. Shame; this was managing an OK sleepy groove before that ruined it, then the obligatory Southern rock chorus (I don’t know how many times I’ve typed those words; not as often as they’ve used them) ruined it further. Tori Kelly has charm that’s misplaced.
[3]

Stephen Eisermann: Male country stars’ obsession with releasing mid-tempos about girls who are natural and presentable enough to take home to their parents while simultaneously releasing up-tempos about girls with booty shorts and cowboy boots is as jarring as it is hypocritical. It’s unfortunate, as this song, with its R&B influences, is a more interesting take on mid-tempo, and Tori Kelly harmonizes beautifully. I really wonder how much she was paid, because I’m not sure it’s worth it for her to ply second fiddle to a less talented singer on a slightly above average song. This all feels beneath her.
[4]

Will Adams: The formula remains the same: safe country dude paired with safe bubbling under pop lady, all for a song that’s not worth writing home to your mother about.
[4]

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