Texas music critics can be admittedly purist to a fault. It’s healthy to be a little protective of our artists and call them out for straying too far into pop country territory, but frequently crying “sellout” makes us no better than those snobby hipsters. Having said that, I’m not about to defend the latest single from the Josh Abbott Band. Here goes Country on Congress’ inaugural negative review!
Let’s start by acknowledging that “Hangin’ Around” is just one song, and it has legitimately country elements. What makes it disappointing is its stunning simplicity. Is Josh Abbott secretly collaborating with Dallas Davidson? Is this song being pitched to Music Row in Nashville for radio play? Did he learn nothing from his buddy Pat Green?
Not every song has to have heavy subject matter. There’s a time and a place for catchy, lighthearted tunes like “Hangin’ Around,” but they aren’t the reason Abbott has ascended to the top tier of Texas country artists. I honestly feel less intelligent after listening to it a few times on a loop. Check out this bit of the chorus, which is lazily rattled off until the song’s abrupt ending before the 3-minute mark.
I’m hangin’ around if you’re hangin’ around
If you’re stayin’ at home, if you’re paintin’ the town
If you wanna talk, you can give me a call
Or if you really don’t feel like talkin’ at all
If you’re drinkin’ a beer, I’m drinkin’ a beer
Yikes. I didn’t expect to be this worried about what the next album will bring. Is a little substance too much to ask? Here’s hoping they don’t pull an Eli Young Band by trying to outgrow the Red Dirt scene.
Rating: 1.5 / 5
Watch the video below: