Song Review: "To a T" Is One of the Worst Songs I've Ever Heard
Ryan Hurd is trending on YouTube with an epic in modern country awfulness.
What is my review of Ryan Hurd’s new single "To a T?" It’s the longest two minutes and 58 seconds of my life. This limp, lifeless bit of modern country, or is it Hot AC? Does that radio designation even exist anymore? I digress, this limp, lifeless song is populated by some truly lame romantic platitudes lost in a sea of sad guitar, and deeply uninspired electronica backing tracks. I’ve heard some terrible pop songs in my time, but "To a T" is a classic in hate-listening history.
Ryan Hurd is a well-respected songwriter who wrote number one country music singles for Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, each of whom may have been better suited to give life to "To a T." It’s rather unfair to speculate, but I am guessing both of those stars turned down this misfire of a mid-tempo ballad. Hurd is also known for being married to the infinitely more talented Maren Morris who also sings backup here.
Let’s dig into these incredibly terrible lyrics shall we. The title of "To a T" is a play on a well worn cliched phrase. Ah but the "T" is also a play on words into the descriptive "T-shirt" because the title is a double entendre intended to evoke the sexy notion that the woman Ryan is singing to is only wearing a t-shirt, having been seduced by his lame platitudes and perfectly tousled hair. The lover man of this particular song is a big fan of double entendres and cliches.
Let’s really dig into this opening verse. I was going to go on about how unexceptional these lyrics are, but then I listened to it again, and again, and something weird and creepy emerged…
“Take off your makeup, nobody's aroundIt's you and me, girl, just let your guard downI see right through you, I know what it meansI know I got you, the moment when you close your eye-eye-eyesI know I'm doing something right-ight-ight”
Is he seducing her, or is this the inner monologue of a serial killer after the roofie has kicked in? Roofie is actually a pretty good descriptor for this entire song as the arrangement is so sleepy and listless that you could not be blamed for nodding off. "To a T" is a dull title, and the song lives up to that dullness with the musical equivalent of a sedative.
Returning to my previous serial killer motif, I know that I’m being unfair, but in my own defense, if the lyrics were better would I be able to twist them like this? The rest of the song is no better. Using my creeptastic recontextualizing let’s look at another verse…
“Stay here 'til sunrise, I wanna know youLike it's the last time I'll ever hold youGirl, every detail leave it up to meLay back and let goYou don't even have to say-ay-ay anythingAbout the way-ay-ay”
Again, is this a seduction, or is this the last time he’s ever going to hold her because she’s never going to see another sunrise? I’m just saying. Perhaps I am projecting the serial killer thing because this song makes me dream of death? That may be the issue here.
I found "To a T" when I was looking to see what was trending on YouTube, and THIS was among the top trends in the country. This ludicrously mundane, mid-tempo emptiness is among the top trends in the country on the most popular video streaming format on the planet. I’m coming off as if I am surprised and appalled at the taste of the masses, but I am really not. In fact, this type of empty-headed, middle of the road blandness is exactly the kind of thing calibrated to hit big.
My surprise isn’t that something this awful is popular. Rather, my surprise is that this isn’t the single most popular song on the planet. It’s just the kind of harmless, inoffensive, forgettable bit of musical typicality that belongs somewhere near the top of the charts. "To a T" is perfectly in line with the other prosaic number one hits that Ryan Hurd wrote for Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. Just because those guys are more authentically charismatic than Ryan doesn’t mean that the songs, Shelton’s "Lonely Tonight" and Bryan’s "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" aren’t just as lazy and uninspired.
The true surprise will be if "To a T" doesn’t become the biggest song in the country.
Before we end this review, I collected some of the comments on the music video posted to YouTube and culled them here for your laughing pleasure. As much as I may loathe most YouTube comments sections, these are some choice oddities that you just can't find anywhere other than YouTube...
User: SciFacts Y "Today's fact: A single strand of Spaghetti is called a “Spaghetto.”User: Ra Souldier "I attached all my watches together to make a belt..." User: Slee "Thought I had to read the title as toast without the s" User: Clint Heupel "Oh noodles are nothing without the ragu... Yeah it's in there to cover the noodles" User: J-Rod "Why does my brain make me see Ryan Turd"