I admit, I’m always conflicted on Gary Allan’s material. I won’t deny that he has a distinctive, strong voice (especially that falsetto range), and that his songs tend to have exceptional lyrics. On the other hand, so many of his songs are, well, downers. Material like “Get Off on the Pain” or “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” just stands in sharp contrast to the guy who gave us the playful “Nothing On but the Radio” only 8 years ago; although I understand why his style changed so much, I sometimes find it a little difficult to listen to any kind of “sad” song, no matter how well-written and well-sung it is. Furthermore, much of his recent output tends to be burdened by almost ridiculously over-the-top production, occasionally making it hard to realize just how potent the lyrics are.
“Every Storm”‘s production is still “heavy” like so many other Gary Allan songs, but it’s overall a more organic loudness — none of the swelling strings or highly compressed guitar work that I would have expected. In particular, I like the presence of co-writer Hillary Lindsey on backing vocals, adding a pleasant contrast to Allan’s rougher edges. Lyrically, it’s a song about moving on after a heartbreak and promising that things will get better. On paper, the lyrics merely look like snippets of motivational posters, but Allan’s meaty performance makes them far greater than the sum of their parts. Also given that the lyrics are set in second person, there’s (intentionally or not) a bit of room for interpretation: is he singing this to himself, or someone else? Either way, it works.
Unlike some of his past material, “Every Storm” has that glimmer of hope to it that keeps it from being overly “sad” to me. Overall, it fits squarely into Allan’s signature style, and it’s certainly more than enough to convince me that artistically, this is who he is now. I still have no idea how radio will react to this song, given his relative lack of chart success in the past few years. But I’m more convinced than ever that Gary is long overdue for another big hit, and “Every Storm” sounds like one to me.
BUY: Amazon mp3 | iTunes