Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Gloriana – (Kissed You) Good Night

There used to be four of them. Guess which one we liked


Anthony Easton: They don’t kiss, and then they do kiss, and it should be this climax of sexual longing (well, kissing rarely is, but it is a country band who loves Jesus, so you take what you can get.) But there is no climax in the song — the chorus spoils the plot, but even without that, there is no rise and fall. The lack of thinking about what kisses mean, or even what kisses might lead to, condemns this as much as the lack of vocal change or give-and-take.

Brad Shoup: The he-said/she-said format of “(Kissed You) Good Night” does a couple things. One, it pushes the final scene into the first chorus. (This is a mistake, one that Taylor Swift will never make.) Two, it cuts the songwriting burden practically in half. It’s a typically stuffed Nashville full-band production; one marvels how they got to each other through the mandolin, pedal, violins, etc. Only for the chorus do they allow themselves the pleasure inherent in the story.

Katherine St Asaph: He’s moping at the sidewalk after not kissing her (or pushing her against the wall, a detail that’s got to be from a more passionate song) and she’s moping at the window, then he runs through the grass to a soundtracked, blissful reunion. OK, whatever, it’s plausible in a romcom. Even then, “kissed you” is sung so flatly for something supposedly joyous.

Edward Okulicz: Calling to mind the still-incredible “Wild at Heart,” I thought, hmm, Gloriana singing a song about kissing, surely that’s gonna be a wild bacchanal of fiddles and twang so intensely pleasurable I’ll get grass stains on my jeans just listening to it. Little did I realise that Cheyenne Kimball had left, seemingly taking with her any sense of abandon, let alone fun. I found it hard to care if anyone kissed anyone else.

Jonathan Bogart: Two parts Lady Antebellum not-really-duetting because just singing the same thing an octave up doesn’t count, one part that thing every rock band does now where you just plug away at one chord like it’ll lead to transcendence, and three parts pretending that words have meaning. Not when they’re this generic they don’t.

Iain Mew: I’m such a sucker for pedal steel but the way that it swoops in to emphasise almost every single line does get a bit wearying. It’s part of a bigger problem – the song feels too tightly fixed in place  ever really take off emotionally. The switch of vocalist feels like the only thing providing any kind of forward motion.

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