Lyrics Uncovered: Sam Hunt, ‘House Party’
Sam Hunt's "House Party" lyrics are bringing a fun, feel-good vibe to country radio, but according to one of the songwriters, writing the song was serious work.
"The first day we kinda fooled around with it, we had a little bit of a different groove," Jerry Flowers tells Taste of Country. "I had a different guitar riff, a little bit more uptempo kinda straight-ahead kinda riff, and what we do, me and his producer, Zach [Crowell], we'll start building a groove and building a track, and then he'll just start feeling ideas."
From there, the "House Party" lyrics started taking on a life of their own as Hunt helped shape those musical ideas into his own vision.
"He's amazing. He's one of the best songwriters I've ever worked with," Flowers states unequivocally. "He'll just walk into the vocal booth and start spitting out ideas quickly, and then we start weeding through them. I think that was the first day, he hit upon that 'House Party' idea, and then the next time we got together to work on it again, we changed the groove, and I came up with that riff that's Jackson 5-ish, and that's when it just really started coming together."
True to Hunt's reputation as one of the hardest-working songwriters in Nashville, the "House Party" lyrics unfolded over several sessions — quite unusual in the Nashville songwriting community, where writers generally crank out one song for each pre-arranged session.
I think that's why his stuff is really connecting to so many people, because he doesn't stop until it's great.
"He really, really examines every single lyric to make sure it's right. So we might write over four to five times on one song," Flowers says. "He's just one of those guys that, he won't stop until it's exactly right. He doesn't settle for anything. I love that. I think that's why his stuff is really connecting to so many people, because he doesn't stop until it's great."
The result is another Sam Hunt song that's vastly different from anything else at country radio, with a perfectly-balanced lyric: "Throw a neon T-shirt over the lamp shade / I'll take the furniture, slide it out of the way / Shaking the floor, rattling the roof / We'll go to town like they're in your living room."
As usual with Sam Hunt, the "House Party" lyrics and progressive musical approach elicit strong criticism from some quarters, especially hardcore traditionalists. Flowers says that doesn't faze him.
"It's funny, because music is constantly evolving, so whatever someone calls country now, that wasn't what country was even 20 or 30 years ago," he points out. "For example, we look to George Strait as pretty traditional country, but I guarantee you that if Hank Williams had heard George Strait, he wouldn't have thought it was straight-up country. Clearly it evolves and changes. I just think right now, more than any other time, I'm seeing it with the younger generation of artists — they're pretty much, most of them all grew up listening to so many different kinds of music, and hip-hop music was such an influence on them, and that's why it's become such a thing now where there's no definite line between the genres anymore. I think you're gonna see that happen even more."
The "House Party" lyrics have helped the song become a hit for all involved, and Flowers is hopeful that he'll get a shot at further collaborations down the line. "It's fun, and hopefully I'll get to write more for his second record," he says.
"We've got some grooves lined up for him, and whenever he's home for more than two hours, we can start writing again," the songwriter adds of Hunt, laughing. "But he's a busy man right now."
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