Friday, March 27, 2015

Review - "Guess You Had to Be There" - Brian Wilson (featuring Kacey Musgraves)

Now also up for listening online (though not as a purchase) is Brian's collaboration with Kacey Musgraves, "Guess You Had to Be There." 

Continuing the trend of previewing the "guest stars" leading up the album's release, "Guess You Had to Be There" offers an inoffensive four-chord (more or less) slower tempo pop song, with plenty of country arrangement accoutrements to remind us that Musgraves is from the Country section of the record store. (The figurative record store for the most part, since few exist now... that's an opinion piece for another time of course). 

As with most duets of this nature, the two fanbases probably don't know a ton about the other artist. On this track, Musgraves offers a pleasant, straight-forward lead vocal, punctuated with some bits from Brian. The song's simple nature becomes a bit repetitive, although Brian and Kacey have arranged some nice backing vocal arrangements for the track; these are probably the highlight of the song. The song isn't overtly "Country", but rather simply adds a few key Country-ish bits on guitar to land enough in Musgraves' wheelhouse to hopefully please her fans as well. 

I can't offer much else to say about the track. It sparked a huge "autotune" debate on the Smiley Smile board. I honestly don't know if it's on here or not. Musgraves' vocal certainly has a sleek sound to it with a sheen that sounds like it could be either autotune or a good gob of  processing (reverb, double-tracking, the usual). 

I would rate this as inoffensive, middle of the road. A different lead vocalist at least makes things a bit more interesting, and Brian does have a clear knack for arranging female backing vocals; though we don't get to hear that too often.

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