Monument Records / Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: July 15th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Y’all Life
Walker Hayes is one of the most polarising artists in country music. I reviewed his new album Country Stuff The Album right here; and I essentially outlined that Walker Hayes’ latest album Country Stuff The Album, with an on-the-surface similar vibe and atmosphere to Life Rolls On, was an album that I didn’t have high hopes for. I was intrigued- simply because the genre was country, and generally I’ve never been steered that wrong by the genre before; however, I was still apprehensive. Sadly though, on the whole, after a few listens to this poppy and honest album over the past few weeks or so; I can conclude that we are presented with an album that I pretty much expected. A ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ mash up of country and pop, that country purists would immediately balk at; Country Stuff The Album tires to be modern and includes a number of guest vocals. Yet Walker’s new album doesn’t reinvent the wheel of country music. Yet it’s not that much better than anything from Florida Georgia Line. And that’s definitely not a good thing. You can read more about the review if you want to… but I didn’t paint a pretty picture of the album. Save for a few tracks, Country Stuff The Album was musically and lyrically all over the place. The title track was actually the high point of the album… and that’s saying something.
Over the past few years, I’ve become a country music fan. I didn’t think it would happen, but artists like Maddie & Tae, Carrie Underwood, Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Maren Morris, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, Mickey Guyton, Tenille Townes, Tenille Arts, Ingrid Andress, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Lindsey Ell, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Hunter Hayes, and Cassadee Pope (and Taylor Swift of course!) have all impacted greatly upon myself; as each of these artists and more have created moments of poignancy, epic awesomeness and magic. There’s something special about a country artist; and despite my not-so-enjoyable experience with Walker Hayes’ album; country reviewer Grady Smith reminded me in his deep analysis on Walker in a 20-minute video, that he is trying and he is vulnerable and authentic in some of his other songs pre-Country Stuff. And so, I decided to try again and give Walker another chance. “Y’all Life” is a pop/country track that Walker unveiled a couple of weeks ago, that I listened to the other day. Sad to say… this makes Country Stuff and all of the tracks on it seem like the ‘best tracks ever’, and that’s not a good thing.
Walker’s heart may be in the right place. In fact, I’m sure it is. In the music video for “Y’all Life”, Walker is dancing and doing these jazzy and poppy Tik Tok moves that garnered him fame from the Fancy Like music video and the Tik Tok viral dance video as well. But this isn’t a country song at all (it’s a pop song!), and lyrically, the song is a bit of a mish mash. Grady says it well in his latest video review of “Y’all Life” (at the 16 minute 17 second mark), and I tend to agree with him here. And it is that Walker seemed to throw a bunch of rhyming lyrics together that have nothing to do with each other. Don’t get me wrong. “Y’all Life” is extremely catchy and when I’m not listening to the lyrics, I’m dancing and tapping my toes. But the lyrics don’t make sense, and Walker is generically speaking about country life in a small town. If all I’m doing is listening to and jamming out to the music… is this song even worth a spin?
I mentioned earlier in my review of Country Stuff, that by spreading himself too thin and not making this album focused enough musically and lyrically; that Walker has delivered a project that is simply a catastrophe and overall forgettable. I also reiterated that if any of you were wanting a country album with substance, then I would say check out Tenille Arts’ Girl To Girl or Lady A’s What A Song Can Do. That being said though, if you really love Walker Hayes and everything that he does… then perhaps this album is for you. I will definitely not begrudge you at all. After all, you may be really into the TikTok thing and the cringey dance moves. Regardless, Walker is an interesting case, because his next album could be brilliant- he certainly has the song-writing ability to create a great album. So… will it be the next album that brings him to that whole other level of greatness? I certainly hope so. Judging from this first single “Y’all Life” though… well, please steer clear from this mess of a track. I implore you. Hopefully this melody will be the lowest point of the next album because this song as a whole is unbearably bad! And so… shall we keep our fingers crossed now and hope that country albums from Mitchell Tenpenny, Breland, Kane Brown, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini, and Ingrid Andress are all winners and near-flawless projects?
RIYL: Kane Brown, Hunter Hayes, Thomas Rhett, Mickey Guyton, Gabby Barrett, Kelsea Ballerini