With the exception of the Eli Young Band’s last couple of years, this band is a great example of Pop Country done right. You see, I don’t have a problem with actual Pop Country which not only resembles country music in some way but, also is substantive and intelligent. The Eli Young Band have actually been around for longer than most people realize. They have been an active band for 17 years now and released their first album which was self titled way back in 2002. The Eli Young Band really didn’t become relevant in the mainstream until 2008 when they released their album Jet Black and Jealous which included the hit song “Always the Love Songs” which peaked at #11 on the charts. They followed that up with what was their most commercially successful album Life at Best which included 2 number 1 hits “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.”
Unfortunately, what we saw from the Eli Young Band is something that we have seen from far too many artists. They had some great success making great music and decided that that wasn’t good enough. Whether it was their decision to go in a more pop direction or their labels decision I haven’t a clue but what we do know is that it was a massive failure that may have ended their radio career. At the very least it has prevented them from releasing an album in 3 years. This whole pop direction was strange from the beginning with the band releasing the Turn it On ep back in 2015. Why on earth is an established band with a good amount of radio success releasing an ep less than a year after releasing a new album? Then they followed that ep up with the cover of Andy Grammar’s hit song “Honey I’m Good” because nothing says country like Andy Grammar.
And if all that wasn’t enough, this summer we got “Saltwater Gospel” that took trend chasing to a whole new level. Perhaps you don’t remember because country changes trends they are chasing every few months but last spring the thing was to release religious songs. Country radio had “Holy” from Florida Georgia Line, “My Church” from Maren Morris, “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton had even released a song to Christian radio called “Savior’s Shadow.” It was the cool thing for a few months to release religious inspired songs and the weather was getting warm so someone decided to combine the two and you get the stupid song “Saltwater Gospel.”
So with all that background information let’s get to the new single that hopefully will lead to a new album “Skin and Bones.” This song gets the Eli Young Band back on the right track as it appears that the failed pop venture is over (I hope). The song is about being so in love that the other person is like a physical part of you. The man can’t believe ever losing her and he doesn’t know how he ever got so lucky to find her. It’s a sweet love song that I hope can gain some traction on country radio. If there is one criticism it would be the end of the song when the drug/love metaphor is used but, it’s a brief, one time comparison so I think I can get past it. This is a good song not great but, I really enjoy the Eli Young Band and look forward to a new album.