Gary Allan - "Get Off On The Pain"

Gary Allan is one of the rare major label artists who is able to successfully straddle the line between art and commerce with a successful string of hits that always hit home with fans and critics alike.  Is his latest single, the title tune to his current CD, a success?

Gary Allan is a bit of a conundrum, to say the least. After scoring his first Number One in 2003 with "Man to Man," he managed to send two more singles to the top of the charts, but somewhere after "Nothing On but the Radio," all that momentum came to a screeching halt. There isn't even any correlation as to what manages to become a hit and what doesn't — the risky "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" went to #4, while the radio-friendlier "Today" barely made top 20.

So many of his past singles put his rough, unpolished voice at odds with production that was too slick and cautious — again, the swelling strings and power-ballad chorus of "Today" are a prime example. "Get Off on the Pain" stands out by putting the guitars and drums up front, making for a muscular, lean sound that could hardly be a better match for his raw, emotive brand of singing. Of course, both line up nicely with the song's premise: a man who ponders just why he sticks with "women that love to do [him] wrong," why he keeps picking fights, and just why he doesn't get happy until it rains. Indeed, he seems to think that he "get[s] off on the pain," and he knows that he'll never change his ways.

Clearly, there's still a place on country radio for Gary Allan's raw, sometimes morose brand of music. After all, he does manage to get into the Top 20 with remarkable consistency, and the lengthy chart runs are likely indicative of a slow burnout rate. "Get Off on the Pain" may be the song that finally kicks his career into high gear, simply because it doesn't sacrifice one iota of his musical persona for the sake of radio success. In fact, it suits him in a way that very few of his previous singles have ever done.

You can support Gary Allan by purchasing this single at Amazon | iTunes.