New Boots: Randy Houser

This is not “how country feels”


Mackenzie Gonzales, Staff Writer

With the era of “Bro-Country,” a subgenre of country music known for songs about women, drinking and trucks, artists such as Randy Houser have been pushed of the radio.

After three long years of no new music, Houser has released his fifth studio album Magnolia on Jan. 11, which features a total of 12 songs.

Upon finding out Houser was releasing new music I realized I hadn’t heard from him in a while; it was total radio silence from him. Remembering how much I loved his third album, How Country Feels, I became eager to hear his new tunes.

The first song featured on the album is called No Stone Unturned, a song about trying to find oneself. Starting off with a steady banjo beat I already felt myself nodding along. Houser sings in a soulful voice, “I can always find one hell of a time/While I’m out here looking for me.” To me this means that Houser is enjoying life to the fullest while on his soul-searching journey. My favorite part of the song is when he reflects on life and softly sings the verse “I’m drawn to the chaos and the wind/Can’t help but take a look now and then/And one day I’ll prob’ly settle down/But there’s still a lotta lost to be found.”

So far so good, or so I thought before my ears were hit with a mediocre love song, Our Hearts. This ballad starts with melodic guitar and Houser’s voice joined by that of Lucie Silvas whom I have never heard of. The song is about that moment when two hearts connect and fall in love. While the song is sweet, nothing about it really sticks out to me and makes me go “wow I must add this to my playlist right away.”

The next song, What Whiskey Does, redeemed the album for a solid three minutes and 46 seconds. I thoroughly enjoyed this breakup song in which Houser plans on drinking away the memory of a lost lover. With lyrics like “Maybe it’ll make me lose my mind/Maybe it’ll help me forget this time” and “Maybe it’ll take me to a better place/And put a smile back on my face/Maybe it’ll make me hate myself/Or fall in love with someone else” you can really feel the raw pain Houser is experiencing. This song landed a well-deserved spot on my playlist.

Unfortunately, the good streak ends there. The next couple songs, Whole Lotta Quit, No Good Place To Cry and Nothin’ On You honestly made my ears bleed. None of these songs struck something inside me. No matter how many times I listened to these songs, I could not find anything to connect to.

Some of the other songs on the album felt like I was listening to the same set of lyrics for the whole duration of the song. One such song was Evangeline. I kept zoning out this whole song and everytime I would tune back in all I heard was “Ride with me down to Louisiana/Roll with me down to New Orleans.”

Thankfully, Houser pulled through in the end with another breakup ballad What Leaving Looks Like. Houser’s love interest has sadly fallen out of love with him and has already found someone new before even leaving him. Not only has she moved on, she’s not even trying to hide it. I could really hear Houser’s heart break

ing as he sang “You’re coming home late again/I won’t ask you where you’ve been cause I know it/If it ain’t the laughing on the phone/It’s the cloud you’re walking on” and “So go on and make it hurt/Do your best to do your worst.”

While there were a few songs I would listen to on repeat, I was thoroughly disappointed in Houser’s Magnolia album. The album to me did not tell a real story, nor did it have a consistent theme. After a three year long wait I was expecting the best, but instead I got an album that felt like there was not time and effort put into it. This was 47 minutes of my life I wasted listening to Magnolia.