Monday, June 20, 2011

Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett, "Knee Deep"

Songwriters:  Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Cory Bowles, Jeffrey Steele

The Zac Brown Band has scored five back-to-back number one hits in the past two years - a streak that would have been seven had it not been interrupted by the #2 peak of "Whatever It Is."  Their current summer tune "Knee Deep," is now a bona fide hit as well, having just cracked the Top 10.  As summer songs go, will this one stick in our memories, or will it be the flavor du jour for this year, only to fade away into obscurity by 2012?

With a sprightly acoustic arrangement, "Knee Deep" almost sounds more like a simple beachside jam session instead of an indoor studio session.  A fast-paced, upbeat melody makes the simple tune sound remarkably infectious.  Jimmy Buffett's contribution doesn't strike one as being particularly essential, but it certainly doesn't throw off the groove either, since he's dealing with his favorite subject matter here. 

Summer tunes don't usually have interesting lyrics, since they tend to care more about catchiness than anything else, but thankfully "Knee Deep" does not lean on the usual lyrical crutches of referencing beer and bikinis.  One definite plus is that it actually offers some insight into why the narrator wishes to seek out a spot on the beach, and describes the laid-back escapism that such a destination would afford.  It doesn't simply hit a few of the usual bases and call it a day, nor does it ask us to accept that fact that the mere mention of a beach is alone the making of a great summer song.

The main triumph here is that "Knee Deep" actually manages to capture the laid-back vibe that is a hallmark of a good country summer song a la "Roll with It" or "Groovy Little Summer Song."  Summer songs often tend to succeed commercially while falling flat artistically, but I would probably have greater tolerance for summer songs in general if they were all as enjoyable as this one.  I could almost see this one sticking with us for a while.

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