Joel Crouse, ‘Why God Made Love Songs’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]
Joel Crouse proves that his first single wasn’t just beginner's luck with his follow-up, ‘Why God Made Love Songs.’ The debut stalled on the country charts, but left a good impression with country music fans. In this new track, Crouse continues to show a professionalism beyond his 21 years without losing his youthful exuberance.
‘Why God Made Love Songs’ hits that sweet spot between modern and traditional. His love story is familiar, fresh and endearing. Often when an artist tries to please everyone, he turns in a performance blander than dry Cheerios, but Crouse avoids that … again. He leads with the song’s hook before letting the banjo drive his single forward.
“Now ‘ol boy meets girl on a cool summer night when he sees her smile under football lights / He forgets the game, yeah he’s gotta know her name,” Crouse sings, proving he's a storyteller with great potential. “After awkward pauses and nervous talk / Runnin’ out of words in the parking lot / They get it in his truck, and he turns that radio up.”
The chorus is an arresting sonic explosion. His vocals come layered atop his own backing vocals, with a banjo picker turned up just loud enough to complement his performance and lend some traditional pinnings to a singer who could probably come across as boyband-ish if he wasn’t paired with the right producer.
“A song starts playin’ / Hearts start racin’ / No more waitin’ on that first kiss,” he says, leading into his chorus. From there, the song becomes a lifetime love story that includes kids and grandkids.
“Without thinking, they start dancing / And they fall in love again,” the native Massachusettiasn says late in this three-and-a-half minute jam. Crouse could have a very big 2014 if this song can crack a few more playlists than his last. Once it hits a point of critical mass, it could become the type of song one looks forward to seeing performed live at the CMAs in November.
Key Lyrics: “There ain’t nothing that can start a fire / Break down walls, lift you higher / While you sing along / Or when you wanna say it but your words are gone / That’s why God made love songs”
Did You Know?: Crouse grew up in the church. His father is a preacher, and his mother worked for the church. He says these early performances gave him confidence, but when it comes to influences, he lists rockers like Fleetwood Mac and country-rocker Eric Church.
Listen to Joel Crouse, 'Why God Made Love Songs'