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Little Big Town, ‘Pontoon’ – Song Review

Pontoon
Capitol Nashville

Any country artist that can invent a sound never before heard on country radio deserves a round of applause. In the age of repetition and imitation, Little Big Town releases ‘Pontoon,’ a song that has no siblings.

This isn’t a bad thing. The quartet’s originality will scare away some, but those who invest time to pull apart the layers of this lazy lake song will be rewarded with a new toy upon each listen. Enjoy the sitar sound this time, the groovy bass next time, and find the organ during your third try. After a dozen listens there is still something hidden in this masterful production that will cause one to go, “Oh wow! I’ve never heard that before.”

Because of this, the lyrics and message of ‘Pontoon’ are somewhat of an afterthought. “Pontoon / Makin’ waves and catchin’ rays up on the roof / Jumping off the back don’t act like you don’t want to / Party in slow motion / Out here in the open hmm, motor-boatin’,” Karen Fairchild sings during the chorus, with her bandmates singing along in perfect harmony.

While the effects on Fairchild’s vocals are unique, it’s not a perfect marriage with the easy-breezy story she’s telling. One has to work too hard to find lines like “Reach your hand down into the cooler / Don’t drink it if the mountains are blue.

To criticize Little Big Town for their originality would be like criticizing comedian Lewis Black for being angry. It’s sort of who they are. That doesn’t mean everyone will like ‘Pontoon,’ but those who do will applaud their creativity, while the rest of the country audience will just move past it. Either way, it will stand out like a birthmark on country radio. It remains to be seen if Cindy Crawford’s or Mikhail Gorbachev’s birthmark is a more apt comparison.

3.5 Stars
Listen to Little Big Town, ‘Pontoon’

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