Songwriters: Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Lance Miller, Rob Hatch
With the month of April being just around the corner, this year’s crop of flip-flop-friendly summertime tunes is already beginning to roll out. This early entry comes courtesy of rising hitmaker Jerrod Nieman, who previously reached great heights with the excellent ballad “What Do You Want,” and also pulled off a fun singalong ditty with the number one “Lover, Lover.”
In listening to “Shinin’ On Me,” the first single from Niemann’s forthcoming second album, the first word that comes to mind is underwhelming. There are more than a few kinks here. One could call it out for lack of lyrical depth, but that would be like calling out the sun for being hot. Fluff is fluff, and would naturally be evaluated on that level, as there is such a thing as good fluff. But one glaring problem here is that “Shinin’ On Me” sounds more like a cheap third-rate demo recording than a genuine radio smash. The bland, washed-over production and canned horn section make it sound like Niemann is singing over a karaoke track. Similarly, Niemann’s somewhat ho hum vocal delivery sounds uncharacteristically phoned-in, while the song’s title hook of “Today the sun is shinin’ on me” rings hollow and forgettable.
In general, lightweight fare is all fine and good, but it’s got to have something to make it stick – a catchy melody, an easily digestible hook, a few clever turns of phrase, or a finely nuanced vocal performance – anything. “Shinin’ On Me” lacks all such essential ingredients, and mostly ends up sounding very hastily slapped together. It’s not catchy. It’s not fun. It’s not memorable. So what’s the point?
The fact that this song is being used to launch a new project is disconcerting. Please let the rest of the new album be better.