Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Train, "Hey, Soul Sister"

You're probably wondering "Why in the world is this guy reviewing a Train song on a country music blog site?"  The better question is, "Why is a Train song being shipped to country radio?"

I suppose this is a new trend - remixing pop and rock songs and sending them to country radio.  Hey, it worked for Uncle Kracker!  Since "Hey, Soul Sister" has already become a massive international pop hit, I can see this only as a ploy to make as much money from the song as humanly possible.  Do the guys in Train even like country music?

However, the country mix of "Hey, Soul Sister" does sound significantly better than many of the other pop-rock songs that have crept onto country radio (Such as Uncle Kracker's "Smile" and Kid Rock's "All Summer Long").  BNA Records goes all out in trying to make this a country song.  The label shamelessly adds a banjo line with prominent fiddle and steel riffs on top of the song's signature ukelele.  They don't just add a few barely audible steel guitar fills, as was the case with "Smile."  Furthermore, the song's melody seems to suit country music surprisingly well, which keeps the country mix from having a cheesy and contrived sound.  In a way, it almost sounds natural.  Thus, the country version of "Hey, Soul Sister" is elevated by the fact that is sounds way more country than any of its crossover predecessors.

But all those fiddles and banjos cannot disguise the fact that "Hey, Soul Sister" remains a catchy pop song.  Just look at the lyrics.  From "Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left side brain" to the namecheck of Madonna, many of the lines are downright ridiculous.  Country lyrics need to make more sense that this.  Even if a country song doesn't have a profound message, it at least has to make sense.

"Hey, Soul Sister is not quite worthy of being called a country song.  But, depending on your tastes, this new country mix may be worthy of being called a guilty pleasure.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

To hear this song, click the "Cool New Music" link.

I conducted a poll of my blog readers to find out what the popular opinion was on the country version of "Hey, Soul Sister."  I received 32 votes.

Would you like to hear the country version of "Hey, Soul Sister" played on country radio?

46% - No!  That's not a country song.
37% - Yes!  I love it!
15% - Fine with me.  I don't really care.

It seems the general consensus is that this song is not welcome on country radio.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!