Song of the Week - Long As I Never See You Again - Kellie Pickler

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Hey everyone. I’m back with the Song of the Week posts! Hopefully some of you have missed them and will enjoy their return.

Just to clarify—Song of the Week is not intended to highlight any specific Idols in particular, and it certainly isn’t for me to feature a list of my favorite songs. I may love some, yet dislike others. The point is to feature a variety of Idols within a wide range of musical genres. Another reason for doing Song of the Week is to look back at some of the forgotten Idols and reminisce! The only restrictions I have for song selections are singles that have become hits. It doesn’t seem like a song such as Carrie’s “Before He Cheats” needs any more attention than it’s already received…right?

Please sound off in the comments about whatever song is chosen. Maybe you love it so much you’ll run off to iTunes and gift it to your great-aunt Marlene. Maybe you’ll start a petition to ban the song’s existence from the radio airwaves. It’s just an opinion. And when it comes to Idols, we ALL have them!

Song – “Long As I Never See You Again”
Artist – Kellie Pickler
Album – 100 Proof
Season – 5th
Place – 6th

We return to Song of the Week with a tune from season 5 contestant Kellie Pickler. I know, I know…Kellie has been getting a good amount of coverage here lately because of her latest album release. We’ve also received some amazing reviews on her newest work from Windmills.

So…why have I chosen Miss Pickler you ask?

I think this Idol is putting out her best material yet, and it’s KILLING me to see her album tank. We can argue about whether or not that statement is actually true, but what I think we can all agree on is Kellie’s fading fast (right?), and she’s gonna need to pull off something amazing to keep any kind of substantial sales going for her new album, 100 Proof. Please don’t let Kellie fall with past country Idols like Josh Gracin, Bucky Covington, or Danny Gokey. For some reason, I’m fine when a contestant’s career never materializes after Idol. But when they experience a decent amount of success initially, I get invested—even if they weren’t the contestant I was backing that season. Call me a weirdo, but I feel genuinely happy for them, especially when they put out great work like Kellie. So when these artists suddenly lose that support from fans and radio, I get so confused.

For me, 100 Proof was exactly where Kellie should have headed with her career. She needed to prove herself in the country world with a solid album so people would take her seriously. I think she did just that. The problem is, no one is listening! “Tough” wasn’t AMAZING by any means…but I thought it would take off. Now, 2nd single, “100 Proof” is pretty much dead in the water. (right Kristen?)

So where do we go next with our loveable Kellie guys? Pray that “100 Proof” eventually gains radio spins? Petition for her label to give a third single one last shot? And when I say a shot, I mean give the thing some actual promo and stand behind it. (American Idol or ACM performance anyone?) As a simple Song of the Week blog contributor, I guess all I can do is feature a solid track from her album for us to tear apart and dissect.

This finally brings us to “Long As I Never See You Again”—the Song of the Week selection. What do you think of the track guys? It’s funny, because I don’t know if I really like the song, but I still enjoy listening to it. Sorta how I don’t really enjoy the taste of salt & vinegar potato chips, but I’ll still tear through a bag in one sitting if you don’t stop me. This song just has a twangy, bluesy vibe that fits in perfectly with the sound of her album overall. Is it the best choice for that 3rd single? The most radio friendly? Maybe not…but that doesn’t mean it’s an awesome song. You can hear the emotion pouring out of Kellie’s voice as she speaks to a lover who’s she’s recently parted ways with. Every time it cuts to the chorus, I can really hear the longing in her voice, as if she’s truly heartbroken over this breakup.

I don’t know you guys. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe Kellie’s doing just fine. It’s just that I saw this same thing happen with Josh Gracin in the country world. Anyone heard from him much lately? (*cricket noises…) Exactly. A talent and personality like Kellie’s shines way too bright and should receive as much recognition—both critically and commercially—as other leading country divas like Carrie, Taylor, Miranda, etc.

Anyway, thanks for jumping back into Song of the Week, and I hope you enjoy! Please send song suggestions to me through Twitter. My Twitter handle is SlimyMeatballs (don’t judge, you know it’s awesome).

 

 
  • tomr

    Great choice!!!!!!!!  I agree with you about this album.  She took a risk…unfortunately it must be that listeners want the red high healed Kellie.   Too bad.  Love this song.

  • Anonymous

    The whole concept that there are new artists breaking into music scenes almost necessarily means others are going to fade out,  doesn’t it?

    I don’t know how many “seats” there are in each genre.. is there room for 20  artists to release a new country album each year ? 30?  If you got 10 or 15 lasting stars that spand a decade or two,  its hard for others to break in and make more than a couple before making room for the next face.

    I like her personality,  but I’m not really into this soft country thats been around the last 20 years or so, so my opionion wouldn’t matter too much other than saying I don’t think this song is going to be a cross over success. (i like country with either yodels or with a driving almost bluesy guitar ala bonnie rait or george strait)

  • Wex

    She should do a cmt reality show @ married life, get prego & film balancing family w/career comeback & show the process of how songs get written,selected,recorded etc

  • Anonymous

    Having your best album tank is kind of an Idol tradition, isn’t it?

    Sad to say. But still ….

  • Nick Peterson

    “She should do a cmt reality show @ married life, get prego & film
    balancing family w/career comeback & show the process of how songs
    get written,selected,recorded etc”

    Ummm…Never thought of this, but I think it’d be BRILLIANT! Just what she needs! It’d be just like Fantasia, minus the trashy affair. It’d be nice little half-hour doses of fun-filled, crazy Kellie. Throw in her work towards a comeback album with her new songwriting husband, and I think country fans would be really receptive. At least the younger generation of country fans I think…

    Plus, I bet she’d be on Joel McHale’s show, The Soup, every week, and it would be UH-MAZ-ING!

  • Mike M

    Thanks for this feature. Great idea.

    Kellie Pickler is a tricky one. Compared to Idol superstars Carrie and Kelly, she certainly has a more modest career. Yet, I think it has been a lot more successful than most people (including me) have given her credit for. Her first album has sold just under 900,000, the second one is just under the 500,000 gold standard, and 100 Proof is presently right at 50,000 (according to the latest Wikipedia numbers available). She has also had five Top 20 and one Top 10 hit.

    That’s not blowing the roof off the joint, but it’s not too shabby, either. I saw on one of those “what they’re worth” charts a few months ago that Kellie is worth $5 million. That means she has been making about a million dollars a year doing something she loves to do. I think we can all agree that is an overwhelming success story in the real world.

    I do, however, understand that the music business is pretty much “what have you done for me lately,” and so far 100 Proof has not taken off. In my opinion, it is much superior to her first two albums. The first single, “Tough,” made it into the 30s, and (either to their credit or to their detriment) the label took a unique approach with the second single, “100 Proof,” by pushing it to smaller markets in hopes of building momentum that would transfer to the larger market stations. Whether the strategy is working or will work could be up for discussion, but the fact is the song is not getting the kind of attention that would push album sales.

    Kellie is quite popular though she has not reached the stage where she can consistently sell out big venues. I think there are songs on the album that could be more successful than Tough and 100 Proof but, obviously, there is no guarantee. I’m not sure the song played here would do the trick. For some reason it kind of loses me in the chorus where it just starts to sound generic and predictable to me. I think Open Up That Honkey Tonk would have a chance, but I almost never pick the next single on anyone’s album. The acoustic version is one of my favorite things Kellie has done, and the recorded version is pretty good too.

    ETA: About the strategy for 100 Proof, taking the smaller market approach: Again, I don’t know if it will work, but I understand why they tried it. There was a recent article in the Nashville Tennessean during the Country Radio Seminar that the average country station now has 16-18 songs in heavy rotation compared to about 28-30 a decade ago. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for new artists or mid-level stars like Kellie Pickler to get their music played.

  • tomr

    Idol brings back former contestants.  They should bring Kellie back for country week.  That would kick start the sales for what is her best album.  Too bad we can’t start a Facebook petition.

  • Anonymous

    If I loved today’s country, It’d love this song.  Even though I don’t, I still like it.  Thanks for putting this up, Nick.  Looking forward to more of your picks.

  • windmills

    Great post, Nick! I really enjoyed reading your perspective about Kellie, her album, and this song.

    Nick: For me, 100 Proof was exactly where Kellie should have headed with her career. She needed to prove herself in the country world with a solid album so people would take her seriously. I think she did just that. The problem is, no one is listening! “Tough” wasn’t AMAZING by any means…but I thought it would take off. Now, 2nd single, “100 Proof” is pretty much dead in the water. (right Kristen?)

    ITA 100 Proof is exactly where Kellie needs to go with her career. I think the problem is Kellie lost her automatic t20 spot at country radio even before the album came out. It’s so weird because Kellie’s sophomore album is the one that got her her only t10 hit (and a platinum single) but it didn’t establish her at country radio. That 1 t10 hit was treated as another indication of the power of Taylor Swift, probably because the song sounded like Kellie singing a Taylor Swift song. But if you FF a couple singles after Best Days Of Your Life, Making Me Fall In Love Again (the last single off Kellie’s sophomore album) barely made t30 Billboard. 

    Then in the time Kellie was making her 3rd album, you had this new generation of stars break through at country radio and become t20 and even t10 staples: most of them were guys but a couple were groups with a co-lead or lead female voice. Suddenly country radio was a lot more crowded and that made it tougher for Kellie when she came back with Tough.

    Even still, the conditions were right because Carrie’d taken a step back from solo singles in 2011, Miranda had a couple months between singles, and Sara/Reba/Martina were all struggling with their singles when Tough came out. There was room for another female in the t20 so Tough should’ve been able to take. But, instead of figuring there was a female spot to fill, country radio just filled the spot with another male. I don’t think it would’ve mattered if Kellie’s released a poppy single or a totally traditional single. I think country radio had moved on and it was going to take a gargantuan single and gargantuan promotion to make a t20 single happen. BNA bought ads for Kellie in the biweekly Phyllis Stark Radio Info columns, and Kellie did the usual radio promo tour. I don’t think there was a lack of promotion, I think it was a situation where country radio just didn’t care and there wasn’t much more the label could do. 

    As far as 100 Proof the song, I was a little worried when Gary Overton (the head of Sony Nashville) made vague statements about there being eventual plans to promote 100 Proof to the bigger markets. Then when I saw 100 Proof doing well on the Indicator chart which is the small markets chart, I relaxed a little and figured there was a long range radio plan for the song. But, lately 100 Proof has slowed down and actually lost its bullet this week on the Indicator chart. So, I’m a little worried again. 

    Nick: So where do we go next with our loveable Kellie guys? Pray that “100 Proof” eventually gains radio spins? Petition for her label to give a third single one last shot? And when I say a shot, I mean give the thing some actual promo and stand behind it. (American Idol or ACM performance anyone?) As a simple Song of the Week blog contributor, I guess all I can do is feature a solid track from her album for us to tear apart and dissect.

    Kellie’s keeping really high visibility with online performances (she’s done AOL Sessions, Walmart Soundcheck, the Yahoo Ram Country concert series, and they did those acoustic performances they used for promotion the week her album came out) and TV appearances like today’s Today Show too so it’s not like she’s going to be a forgotten person if the radio push does come. It’s just an issue of if and when the push is going to come, and if it’s going to be for 100 Proof or something else. She can go back to  Ellen for a performance too because Ellen loves having her as a guest and they always get blog attention when Kellie’s on that show.

    Too, there’s always stuff Kellie can participate in on CMT and GAC too. I know she’ll be on GAC’s Day Jobs show. She did intensive promo with both channels when her album 1st came out. I think she just has to keep her name out there and do as many internet/TV appearances and performances as she can whether or not radio’s ever going to get on board. No matter her sales, she’s considered a bigger star than some who get more radio play and even sell more albums.

    Gary Overton’s said Kellie’s record deal is safe no matter what happens, as long as he’s head of Sony Nashville. So, I think they may be in a situation of economizing promo, maybe hoping sales get to a certain mark before they do any more of a radio push.

    I’m sure they would’ve loved to have gotten an ACM performance but those usually go only to nominees or the biggest names. I know Sara Evans is going to be performing her new single Anywhere there. That being said, Reba introduced her new single at last year’s ACMs and it bricked at country radio despite promo, barely making t40.

    An AI performance though would’ve been awesome. I was so happy when AI featured 100 Proof during the audition rounds so at least they did that. I’m hoping it still happens. 

    As far as As Long As I Never See You Again, I think it’s a really solid album track. What always gets me about this song is the way Kellie sings “I’ll be alright, long as I never see you again.” She sounds so mature and so sad, way older than her years. There’s a little catch and a little cry in her phrasing and she makes you believe that she’s singing her truth. Her upper register singing’s always been hit or miss for me, but her middle register phrasing sounds so much more adult on this album. It’s like night and day comparing the way Kellie sang on her 1st 2 albums and how she sings on this album. She’s really grown up.

  • happyhexer

    This song is gorgeous.  I’m coming at this from from a weird place, because I tend to like modern country, but I like Kellie’s voice so much better on this album, with its more traditional sound.  Kellie sells this song 100%.  The phrasing is spot-on.  There’s this little catch to her voice and just a tinge of grit (in a good way).  I do like the verses a bit better than the chorus.  I don’t like when Kellie sings high.  (Not a fan fan of “Best Days of Your Life.”)

    I like “Tough” and bought it very soon after I heard it (on one of those music surveys, not on the radio).  :-(  “100 Proof” has been growing on me and I’ve been considering whether to buy it.  And I really like this song.  Maybe I should check out her album?

    This song has a throwback feel, in a good way.  It takes me back to classic country artists and classic country songs.  It’s not overdone.  A really well-balanced song.  And I know the word “authentic” has been done to death, but this song has a very authentic country sound.

    So weird.  When I started listening to country music — thank you, Danny Gokey, for introducing me to the genre! — I couldn’t tolerate the slightest amount of twang.  (Or whatever it is supposed to be called — I readily confess my ignorance.)  But over time, I have come to appreciate the music of artists with a more traditional country sound (by today’s standards, anyway).  If the artist has a good voice and the song is good, it really doesn’t matter.  So now I listen to, appreciate, and buy the music of artists like George Strait, Chris Young, Jamey Johnson, and THIS Ms. Kellie Pickler.  

  • V Jemmy

    This song is pretty awesome.  The instrumental grates on me a little, so I would never be able to listen to it very often, but I’ve been a fan of Kellie since her first audition.

    Glad she’s been able to carve something out for herself.