Despite my utter dislike of Danny Gokey’s shameless constant mentioning of his late wife in a clear bid for sentimental votes on his American Idol season, I have to admit that it makes sense for him to branch out into country music for his debut. The inspirational music market is glutted and not exactly mainstream, and country music is one genre where he can still sing about Jesus and such. The fact that one of the few genuine success stories of American Idol makes her mark in the genre can only be icing on the cake.
Apart from songs like Like That’s a Bad Thing and If Only, there isn’t much heavy-handed preaching here. In fact, the preaching is somewhat odd. In Like That’s a Bad Thing, Mr Gokey seems to be advocating driving over the speed limit and getting involved in fights just because he believes that Jesus is protecting him. Weird indeed, really. In Life on Ya, he seems to be singing about losing his virginity to some floozy and then boasting about it to his grandmother, who nods approvingly. I know, how bizarre indeed. And for someone who spent half the previous year weeping over his late wife, Mr Gokey has me scratching my head when he now sings on the title track that his best days are ahead of him. A recording contract heals all wounds, I see.
But hey, country music is full of songs with unbelievably hammy lyrics, so maybe it’s not entirely his fault that he is singing songs of dumping behind the corpse of his wife to drive over the speed limit to his grandmother’s house. The songs, by themselves, are actually decent. They are nothing I have never heard before, but what these songs lack in originality, they try to compensate by offering catchy choruses.
Country music fans may balk at the presence of yet another upstart who thinks that the genre is an easy cash cow, but still, I think his raspy voice is actually suited very well to the genre. Mr Gokey may want to seek out better material for his follow-up effort, however, because no matter how pleasant this album can be, it’s still on the forgettable side because the songs are so bland and formulaic. “Pleasant” is fine, but it can only take one so far in a glutted market.