By KELSEY GHERING
I stumbled upon Walker Hayes on Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist, a stream of suggested music based on your personal preferences.
I suppose I should preface this review by saying my Spotify music collection includes everything from Johnny Cash to ABBA and an embarrassing amount of pop country — which is where Hayes comes in.
The only way I can think to describe Hayes is something between a coffee house act and an eighth string American Idol contestant who finally got a contract.
After listening to “You Broke up with Me,” something sadistic in me provoked me to download the rest of his album, “8 Tracks Vol. 1: Good S—.” And after listening, it seems Hayes knows how to name an album.
It’s not really good, and it’s not complete cow manure, although with eight tracks, he’s severely limited.
My first impression was Hayes is the “nice guy” who whines about never being able to get a date because girls know the “nice guy” act is entitled misogyny hidden with Axe body spray.
After all, he rounds off “Shades” with obnoxious backup vocals and a poor attempt at beat-boxing, as he claims he’ll shine so bright “even the stars gonna be like – where my shades at?”
Calling it catchy would be a stretch. It sounds like filler written for a Kidz Bop album or like it belongs in a Disney movie.
The song that pulled me into the “nice guy” wormhole, “You Broke up with Me” has a raw sound to it, with underlying conversation in the background.
While the lyrics aren’t as soul-searching as some of the better tracks, he reminds his ex “you made your bed and didn’t want me in it.”
He tells her “don’t be raining on my Mardis Gras parade for a minute,” an image that comes up again in “Dollar Store,” and either hints at Hayes’ roots or his favorite southern get-together.
There’s something about his invitation to the dollar store, where he’ll buy you “whatever you holler for” that is wholesome and strangely inviting in “Dollar Store.”
The title track, “Good S—” reminds us about how happiness is fleeting, describing “going from golden Polariod memories shakin’/to reminiscing listening to your breaking heartbeat.”
“Mind Candy” has a similar feel, with the focus on the end of a high school sweetheart relationship.
“Beer in the Fridge” is the hardest-hitting track of the eight songs. Pretty much a cappella, Hayes’ voice is much more suited to a sad song.
It comes off as a melodramatic ode to his last beer at first, but lyrics like “you’re the reason I quit drinking/the reason I won’t get drunk” and “there’s a lot I can’t remember/there’s a lot I can’t forget” amid images like the “bittersweet” Magnolias on 12th row hit me right in the heart.
The bluntness of it makes you wonder if it’s a breakup song, or a confession from an alcoholic in remission, and the reality makes it beautiful.
I would suggest “Good S—” if you like acoustic artists or “radio” country, because that’s probably where Hayes will end up if he ever hits it big.
If not, he has a song about Lake Erie that might interest you if you enjoy living at the mistake on the lake.
Over all, “Good S—” lives up to its name.
The moral of the story here is to sample the album before adding eight tracks to your Spotify collection, but I suppose that’s why the streaming service offers a delete button.