Sunday, August 21, 2011

Steel Magnolia, "Bulletproof"

Songwriters: Lori McKenna, Chris Tompkins

The #4-charting 2009 single "Keep On Lovin' You" so far remains the lone Top 20 chart entry for Can You Duet winners Joshua Scott Jones and Meaghan Linsey. What they need now is an aggressive single that will get them firmly entrenched in radio playlists. However, their new single "Bulletproof" doesn't appear to have much potential to be that song.

This is not a cover of the LaRoux pop hit of the same title. Rather, "Bulletproof" is a song about a woman who is totally over her ex-boyfriend, and is now roaming about enjoying her newfound single freedom, not worried about anything because she's... well... "Bulletproof."

While there is some palpable vindictiveness in lines like "This could never shatter me/ Don't smother me with sympathy/ What makes you think I'm not over you?" the problem is that there's a lack of focus among the lyric as a whole, and it hardly scratches below surface level - disappointing, considering the song was written by such talented tunesmiths as Chris Tompkins ("Before He Cheats") and Lori McKenna. The verses read like a play-by-play account of how the narrator spends her time, with little insight into why she acts the way she does, and few hints at what she's really feeling inside. It's hard to appeal to a listener's emotions through such rudimentary lyrics, or to fully engage a listener in such a shallow, underdeveloped story.

With such stale lyrics, the plodding melody and recycled Dann Huff production seem like minor issues in comparison, but such characteristics only further serve to make "Bulletproof" a weak single offering by all accounts. The disappointment is compounded by the fact that Josh and Meaghan have demonstrated that they each possess genuinely strong voices. The issue has often been a need for a strong lyric that's truly worthy of such talent.

If anything, "Bulletproof" is an indication that Steel Magnolia still hasn't found that special song yet.

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