With new duet, is country crooner Shelton going full pop?

country music mural Dothan, AL
Country music mural in Dothan, AL with images of real country music icons; image from George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Mural artist is Wes Hardin.

Blake Shelton is traditionally thought of as a country music star, but with a new duet, it looks like the crooner is going full pop. A new release, “Nobody but You”, a duet with his heart throb Gwen Stefani, got tongues to wagging on social media. Are Stefani and Shelton getting married? Already married? Whatever.

The main question I’d like to ask Shelton, after listening to tepid lyrics and a score that sounds close to a Broadway musical number, is:

Are you going full pop on us? 

The song bears no resemblance to a country tune. I didn’t watch the Grammys—most Americans didn’t watch the Grammys, by the way—so I didn’t see the power couple perform that night.

Shelton joins a number of other performers who climbed their way up country charts and then merrily hopped to pop, probably more for profit than artistic merit.

Maybe they’re trying to come up with a song people will want to use for their own weddings. But you’d think with all the songwriters at their disposal, this couple could come up with something more artistic and inventive than the lyrics in this pop tune.

You can watch  Shelton and Stefani perform in the video posted at Wide Open Country.

If you want a wry chuckle, take a look at the Hollywood Reporter’s defense of the low viewer numbers for the Grammys.

Commercial mass music has become the equivalent of those space-challenged housing developments where all the houses more or less look the same—cookie cutter is the standard these days.

(Kay B. Day/Jan. 28, 2020)

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