Rodney Atkins just shared a video for his brand new single "Caught Up In The Country." Featuring the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the tune is a shoe-stomping (literally) anthem about country living. As in, the actual geographic landscape of being out in the country.
The song is a four-on-the-floor, disco beat bumper. In fact, shy of Atkins' huge drawl, the track feels like a mix between a modern pop DJ track and Top 40 Christian tune. Think Andy Grammer, except approaching 50 years old and with a history of country radio hits.
In other words, fans of Atkins' first four records might be a bit surprised. But that's not to say the track isn't infectious. It's the kind of melody that's easy to find yourself humming on first listen. Even if the words feel relatively inconsequential.
The video, which features footage from the recording session, does a great job catching the energy from the studio.
If YouTube comments are any indication (treacherous waters indeed), fans are largely on board. There are the expected vocal dissenters, who equate it to hip hop (they clearly don't listen to hip hop) and EDM (closer, but still a bit off the mark).
But it's also easy to the song as a shopping spree through the ear candy store. Which sometimes leaves you missing the nutrition of a balanced musical diet. As in, interesting lyrics. One thing listeners may notice immediately: "Caught Up In The Country" is loud. There's very little dynamic contrast. And it sounds like the song might even clip (read: distort) a bit in the biggest parts of the chorus.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers really do add a lot to the song, as well. There's nothing revolutionary about boots and claps, but it's nice to hear them used throughout the song in several different ways with several different rhythms. Using both halftime and double time is a nice touch. Atkins says he teamed up with them for a live performance and felt compelled to bring them in on a studio experience too.
"Caught Up In The Country" is the first single off his upcoming fifth album, the first since 2011's Take A Back Road.