God forbid a singer get personal or reveal something about himself in a song, I replied. No, that may tear down the douchebag image Gilbert’s worked so hard maintain.
It might even mean that your fans won’t have as many chances to argue over whether Ford, Chevy, or Dodge is the best.
Included in my reply to this YouTube poster was a suggestion she listen to Jason Isbell’s Southeastern, a record that was, from start to finish, a very personal exploration. It’s a record that he performs live almost every single song, many in the same show.
Blake Shelton, upon releasing his latest single as a teaser to his upcoming album, said of the past year of his life, as connected to his new album that people “may not know what happened to me, but they're gonna know how I felt about it.” Yet, “Came Here to Forget” did nothing of the sort. Nothing defined the song as personal to Shelton or separated it in any way from an array of songs just like it.
Want to hear a personal record about going through a divorce? Listen to Stoney LaRue’s Aviator. Listen to Emerson Hart’s Beauty in Disrepair (not a country record, but still, a deeply personal and unique album).
No one’s saying a party song, or any kind of song about just having a good time, is not fun every now and then. Hell, I love some of them. But when they become all a singer is able to sing about, and when such a singer defends such material as “well, this is how we really live,” it makes the singer into a very one-dimensional archetype.
Who are the best actors and actresses? They’re the ones who are able to play different types of roles, the ones who have versatility, who can make the viewer really believe the character they are playing.
The best singers are the same way: a style that belongs to them but able to show versatility: in content, in tone, in all different areas of musical ability.