Between tour dates, a Christmas album, 'The Voice' and his bad Twitter habit, Blake Shelton found time to record a new single called 'Sure Be Cool if You Did' in 2012. He released the song minutes after the new year began, leaving many to wonder when a new album will follow (no plans have been announced). Sonically, his 23rd radio offering is a continuation those from 'Red River Blue' -- it'd fit nicely as the project's fifth single. 

In fact, one can be forgiven for confusing the new song with 'Over' or another of the mainstream ballads he's sprinkled between more flavorful cuts like 'God Gave Me You' and 'Who Are You When I'm Not Looking.' While once known for songs as lyrically cheeky as his tweets, Shelton is becoming a more predictable country crooner.

"I was gonna keep it real like chill like only have a drink or two / But it turned into a party when I started talking to you," he sings to begin the track.

The chorus turns the song away from the story of a one-nighter to one of sparked romance:

"You don't have to throw back your lemonade shooter and lean a little closer / You don't have to keep on smiling that smile that's driving me wild and when the night is almost over / Meet me in the middle of a moonlit Chevy bench seat and do a little bit of country song, hanging on / You don't have to keep me fallin' like this / But it'd sure be cool if you did."

Shelton is truly one of country music's top vocalists, and while he doesn't write much of his own music, he's shown proficiency in picking sharp wordsmiths to do the job for him. Neither talent is on display during 'Sure Be Cool If You Did,' a song that feels comparatively ordinary next to catalog hits like 'She Wouldn't Be Gone' and the infectious 'Honey Bee.' His most memorable songs feel custom-made for his style and personality. There's a sense that a dozen other country males could have turned in an equally inspiring performance on this new song.

"You can't shoot me down cause you already knocked me dead / Got me falling apart with my heart talking out of my head / Let your mind take a little back road / Just as far as you wanna go / Baby I'll do whatever you wanna do," Shelton sings during the second verse.

A run of No. 1 hits (seven) and gold or platinum singles (four) provide a fine counter-argument to this desire for something spicier, and 'Sure Be Cool if You Did' could very well extend both streaks. However, a break in the name of artistry would satisfy fans of his rowdier songs, while giving those who discovered him on TV something more nourishing to listen to.

3 Stars

Listen to Blake Shelton, 'Sure Be Cool If You Did'

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