Friday, March 29th, 2019

Dustin Lynch – Ridin’ Roads

Do you think Dustin Lynch wears a hat during sexy time? Asking for a friend.


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[4.25]

Alfred Soto: The drums sound good, and Dustin Lynch isn’t as sodden as his fellow bros, but it’s not enough to elevate “Ridin’ Roads” to much beyond the agreeable. 
[6]

Iris Xie: It’s corporate country like this that I think makes people hate country, or think they hate country. The only thing this song makes me think is that I need to go learn my history of country music and find out what the good stuff is, because this really doesn’t feel like it’s anything except three-day old water.
[2]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The drums sound too dry at times but it doesn’t matter much when everything’s so exquisitely mixed. Even better, “Ridin’ Roads” understands how to utilize its careful mixing in conjunction with heavy reverb to create a wall of sound that’s both dense and diaphanous. The misty female vocal harmonies and periodic space synth accents round out the song in surprising ways, contributing greatly to its ability to soundtrack car rides down country roads. “All I want is your kiss” sings Lynch, but this song’s romance is of a larger scope: the precious leisure of driving with a lover, the evening nothing but uninterrupted bliss.
[6]

Alex Clifton: About as flat and aimless as a wide-open road somewhere in Nebraska. Road songs should make you feel excited about traveling, and this is the equivalent of staring out the window on a six-hour drive, wondering when it will end.
[2]

Katherine St Asaph: Howdy! It’s me, the sheriff of unpopular opinions and ruining fun, here to puncture this song and the rest like it: riding in cars with boys sucks. There is only one thing that can go right, which happens infrequently, and many things that can go wrong. If you’re at all prone to overthinking then every silence will be excruciating. One of you might learn about the other’s road rage. One of you might talk about their accumulated life regrets, and your passenger’s stuck in the ensuing Sartrean feelingsdrive for however long you’re on the road. One of you might be a dick and hit the curb on purpose “just to see you slide,” or talk about physical affection in creepy terms like “trying to cross the line,” or let slip a neg like “I’m lovin’ nothin’ to do with you, baby” — all of which you have to endure, because you’re in a car out in the middle of nowhere. Or are you? The lyric’s full of country-sounding signifiers that, when examined, are off. What deserted, untrod road has defined curbs and frequent places to turn right? Who steals enough street signs to disorient someone, instead of just the one that says Mile 69 or whatever? (Do neither of you have Google Maps, or if there’s no reception on this very well-maintained back road, Miranda Lambert’s precious Rand McNally?) These, and every other detail on the modern country-song rubric, are done dutifully: the suspended, heavily processed vocals after the chorus (“Downtown’s Dead” is the first other one I thought of); the one novel sound allowed per country song (here, something like a dentist’s vacuum sucking up water); the failing to credit the woman singing — here, Sarah Buxton — and mixing her vocals so quiet it’s like the engineer thought he was playing Operation, and if the waveform got above “properly audible” Cavity Sam would wake up and trash the studio.
[4]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: At this point, remarking on the irony of country-pop simultaneously singing about eschewing nightclubs and “neon lights” and incorporating more and more hip-hop production tricks (there’s a very brief 808 break here, if I hear it correctly) is no longer novel. But despite its dissonant feel, “Ridin’ Roads” is so smooth and blank that I can’t dislike it too much. It’s nothing at all, but a pleasant enough version of it.
[4]

Edward Okulicz: My ears pricked up with that opening line: “This town ain’t got no nightclub/We don’t need the neon lights.” But no, it’s just my imagination willing it to be shade at Blake Shelton. I mean, this meticulously produced song is shinier than a new truck! It’s also a fairly uninspired grab-bag of back-road car sexy time cliches, but I am warmed slightly by Lynch’s surprisingly tender delivery, dipped in a touch of surprised disbelief. I believe the computer that made the sounds on this record could probably have also made Lynch sound like a creeper too, so well done to whoever programmedduced this. I mean, I wouldn’t chuck my underwear at the stage, but I’d raise a lighter. Or at least I would if I smoked.
[6]

Ashley John: “Ridin’ Roads” is as transient as the memory it is describing. Lynch’s slow guitars and drawling voice are spacy and broad but untethered to anything with real weight. 
[4]

Reader average: [1.5] (2 votes)

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