Archives: Dustin Lynch ‘Hell of A Night’ – Single Review
This article was first published on November 14th, 2014 on forthecountryrecord.com.
Dustin Lynch has had a hard time finding his persona as an artist. Is he the sweet romantic, the sexually dominant partier? Does he have ties to bro-country, is he more pop or rock? Perhaps his most recent material is the answer. ‘Where It’s At’ became his first #1 single, so it stands to reason that they would follow that formula for his future releases, although the commercial country pop (with touches of R&B) of that lead single isn’t exactly the same as ‘Hell of A Night’. In fact, this new single leans far more toward the alt. rock side of things and finds him delivering a more polished version of something we might expect from Jason Aldean.
The song begins with a heavy and repetitive guitar that dominates the intro and sets up the driving pace, hard drums joining in and semi-metal guitars rumbling underneath Dustin’s vocals, which for the record sound somewhat auto-tuned. In fact, a lot of the time the song has just as much electronic influence as it does rock, with synths and small vocal edits evident without becoming so overblown that they’re immediately obvious for the casual listener. As for the melody, it’s catchy in a way that is commercial but not as outright poppy as some of its contemporaries, and the chorus at the very least is well-mixed for the sound they were going for, with a hook that’ll likely successfully bring people in. Of course, it’s not so much what people might expect from Dustin, and certainly the prior comparison to Jason Aldean has lasting implications – Dustin holds a similar vocal tone and although it’s clear who is who, there are times the similarity touches a little too close, and Dustin loses his individuality. I have a feeling there’ll be more than a few people making that mistake when hearing it on the radio.
The lyrics are where it falls down. The music is not exactly outstanding and even though there are question marks about his artistic identity it at least shows some variety for Dustin as well as a falling in line with the kind of sound that’s popular right now (although in all honesty, I think this looks backward whereas ‘Where It’s At’ looks forward in terms of country’s sonic progression). The lyrics, however, take the usual bro-country turn and involve driving, sexual attraction, female objectification, a small town setting, drinking and plenty of clichés. Some phrases used include “like a truck”, “foot heavy on the floorboard”, “burning down these back roads”, “when I get you climbing up in the cab of this truck”, “a couple cans all cool”, “July hot Saturday night”, “hot little playlist”, “heating it up behind a high beam”, “so give me that aw yeah”, and of course the title line, “I’m ‘bout to show you one hell of a night”. Need I go on?
Dustin is one of those artists who occasionally comes out with an okay song but then ruins it with a whole host of bad ones. The music to ‘Hell of A Night’ is not particularly country but it’s passable compared to some of its peers, it just completely lets itself down when it comes to the lyrics. Mind you, I still predict top 20 for this.