John Rich - The Good Lord and The Man

John Rich transitioned into a successful solo career at radio with "Shuttin' Detroit Down." While that topical song hit too close to home to score a deserved Top 10 slot at radio, will this single follow it to the top of the charts or will it ultimately be passed over by radio and fans?

John Rich seems to be in the mood for polarizing political songs lately, if "Shuttin' Detroit Down" and his current single, "The Good Lord and the Man" (listen here), are any indication. While "Detroit" was ultra-timely with its focus on the automotive bailouts, "Good Lord" seems almost jarringly out of step with the times, and in one spot, just plain jarring.

Not that the song as a whole is bad. It starts out with a fairly engaging lyric describing his grandfather's work in World War II (even if "sucker punched" is a bit of a strong choice to describe Pearl Harbor). The song rolls along nicely until the chorus, which contains the line "We'd all be speaking German, living under the flag of Japan / If it wasn't for the good Lord and the man." This is an almost insultingly bad line: It's borderline racist, and it makes no sense at all. Why would Japanese want us speaking German? This line nearly derails the song not only by its sheer pandering and lack of logic, but also by the way that it utterly throws off the meter.

It's actually a shame that he had to squeeze that line in somehow, because otherwise, the rest of the song is a pleasant listen. Rich sounds both relaxed and passionate; he really sounds like he fully believes in his country, and is truly proud of those that fought for it. Just like his last single, it has an easy-going, stripped-down production and melody that recall the neotraditionalist movements of the late 1980s-early 1990s.

Besides the German/Japan line, this song's major fault is its timing. Had he released it shortly after the beginning of the Iraq war, it would have been a good fit among all the other war-themed songs which were topping the charts. But even though the war isn't over, soldier songs are past their prime, leaving "Good Lord" as little more than a song with a good sentiment, one awful line among several decent ones, and not much relevance.

You can support John Rich by purchasing this song at iTunes icon| Amazon.