State I’m In
Radio-Friendly Country-Pop with Some Big Ole Choruses.
Tyler Filmore’s press release states that he “blends Country Music sensibilities with pop and electronic elements”.
Listening to the album I probably wouldn’t put those influences in that order – in fact I’d have them totally the other way round.
This is a pop album that utilises various country tropes, without ever really being “Country” as we know it – that’s not a criticism – I just think it does his music a disservice to label it thus.
If your expectation of “Country Music” is shaped by US (and to a certain extent) UK mainstream Country Music radio and you’re a fan of the kind of mass-appeal headliners at C2C , then this album fits right in.
If you’re a traditionalist, like most of us at RMHQ then maybe not so much. Opener “New to This” is pure modern pop with vocoded vocals and brickwall-limited instrumentation, that does the loud-soft trick to stress the singalong and rapping elements.
Streaming success “Slower” has a banjo on it, but it’s not Country – more singalong ‘take your brain out’ hedonistic pop drinking music.
“Country Song” actually isn’t a Country song, but expresses a love of a somewhat stereotyped poppy version of the medium.
“W.I.L.D” which precedes the title track also has a banjo – or maybe banjitar – but it’s modern pop AOR with an Aerosmith style guitar solo.
Title track “State I’m In” is glossy uptempo location naming pop whereas “Heart’s Having a Hard Time” is a glossy, trembly voice ballad; as is the subsequent slightly more rap-influenced “Blue Skies.”
With 18 tracks in total, Filmore takes the attitude that ‘if you don’t like this song; then there’s another one along in two to three minutes.’
Of the remainder, “Other Girl” is a classic doting love-song pop song and “Me Lately” has definite last dance potential.
“London” which had a video shot in the capital, in anticipation of a C2C appearance name-checks a bunch of British cliches that might go down OK as a beery Festival singalong, but sounds rather cheesy to a discerning UK audience when laid bare in the recorded form.
All in all, there’s plenty of value here for fans of ‘modern pop’ with infinite choruses, chants and even …….. rapping, a loud modern production made for streaming and lots of relatable relationship subject matter.
Released September 25th 2020
Courtesy Nick Barber.