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Tim McGraw’s new single, “Truck Yeah,” lost me at the very first line: “Got Lil Wayne poppin on my iPod.” If you’re “Hillbilly proud” or have a “little redneck blood,” as the lyrics spout, shouldn’t you be cranking Hank, Merle, or Waylon?
McGraw’s 20-year career has careened all over the place from the truly horrific early hit, “Indian Outlaw,” to the sassy sexiness of “I Like It, I Love It” and “Real Good Man” to the deeply poignant “Angry All The Time,” “Red Rag Top” or “My Next 30 Years.” This song barely rates above “Indian Outlaw.” And I say this as a big McGraw fan.
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In addition to the juvenile stupidity of the pun in the title, every country cliche is thrown in: mud, football, beer, church, farm, etc. All that's missing is a hay bale.
As bad as the lyrics are, there’s an undeniable catchiness to the melody that recalls everything from Big & Rich’s “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” to Dierks Bentley’s “Sideways.” It’s a perfect summer rave-up...if only we could do something about the words.
McGraw is at an interesting career intersection. He’s off his longtime home, Curb Records and has signed with Big Machine Records, home to Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts. He’s in his 40s and he’s competing with a new crop of bad boys with truck songs of their own like Kip Moore’s “Something ‘Bout A Truck.” In a recent story in USA Today, Big Machine’s label head admitted that one of the reasons the record company pushed it as a single was to remind radio and fans that McGraw was here doing it first before any of these upstarts.
Maybe the ploy will work, but I hope not. McGraw, who’s out on tour with Kenny Chesney on the very successful Brothers of the Sun stadium outing, is certainly allowed his lightweight songs, but “Truck Yeah” feels beneath him at this point in his career.
What do you think? I prefer the far superior, though certainly just as lightweight, "Right Back Atcha Babe," which Curb is working to radio.