Music Review #5 — Didn’t Go Too Far by Conner Smith
When I was checking out the new releases this week, I saw Conner Smith and didn’t really pay him any mind. It wasn’t until I saw Country Central on Instagram give a raving review of a song called “I Hate Alabama,” that I began to give him a second look.
I thought I recognized that line, but didn’t know where from. I saw that it was on an EP, so I figured I’d give it a review; since my past few were single reviews, and there weren’t any prominent albums released on my radar this week.
On first listen I immediately remembered where I had heard “I Hate Alabama.” It was a big song on TikTok during the college football playoffs. Normally I’m extra tough on artists who make their break from TikTok, but this time was a bit different.
I had no idea what to expect from this EP when I went into it.
The overall feel of this EP is well mixed. You’ve got two love songs, two heartbreak songs, and two random, kind of fun songs. The production is also fairly consistent, sounding like an early 2010s country EP, most of the way through.
One glaring resemblance I see from Conner; is how much his sound reminds me of Dierks Bentley. Bentley ruled the charts in the late 2000s/early 2010s, and so I think the comparison is a compliment to Smith’s style.
The two love songs; “Take It Slow” and “Somewhere In A Small Town” are very similar to me. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.
“Take It Slow” is a very interesting piece, about taking it slow on a night with your gal. It features a very cool, atypical pace and melody. There’s a really awesome banjo riff playing in the background during the chorus that I can’t get enough of. The lyrics are a bit ordinary, but the uniqueness of everything else really makes up for that.
“Somewhere In A Small Town” takes a pretty saturated concept and gives it a fresh perspective. It’s well written and kind of makes you think about what’s going on “somewhere in a small town.” The instrumental on the verses is a perfect example of that late 2000s sound I was mentioning earlier, however; the chorus is almost pop-punk sounding and I love it. This song also features another sweet banjo riff in the background, like “Take It Slow” did.
The two “fun” songs, are track one and two on the record.
“College Town” is the first of the two, and details Smith’s journey through the industry thus far, and talks about how great college towns are for parties. The subjects themselves are a bit unrelated, but he does a decent job at tying everything together. The song has a super fun vibe, and I can easily see it being blasted while some frat dudes play beer pong.
“Learn From It” was the second song, and my least favorite on the album. This is really the most cookie-cutter song on the EP. It prominently features a clap track, and lyrics that are just listing southern stereotypes. It’s not totally terrible though, there is a nice banjo on here as well, which redeems it to some degree. Frankly, it just wasn't that interesting.
The heartbreak songs are some of the best on the EP.
The title track, “Didn’t Go Too Far,” started off slow, and I really didn't think I’d like it; but as soon as that chorus hit, I was in. It’s not the most original concept ever, but that hook is just so damn good, and used so creatively.
“The one that got away, didn't go too far”
The production isn’t really anything special, but the lyricism and delivery from Conner is stellar.
“I Hate Alabama” is the star of this EP. There is a good reason this song went viral. Sure, everyone who doesn’t like the Alabama football team, hates them, so the song is relatable, but that’s not what makes this song good. The wordplay and writing on this song is unreal. The lyrics on some of the other songs are good, but this one just blows it all out of the water. The song talks about how much he hates Alabama, but it’s just because he lost his girl there. The production on this song is the best on the EP as well, and is reminiscent of Luke Combs’ signature rock inspired, country sound.
Overall the project certainly has it’s ups and downs. There is one song I don’t like at all, one song I absolutely love, and the rest are solid, but nothing special. I enjoyed the listen, as it’s a fairly fun EP. I definitely recommend checking it out, but it’s just not something I’ll be coming back to very often.
I give it a 6/10.
I do think Conner Smith is onto something with his sound, and I believe he could easily be a breakout artist in 2022. He’s got the voice, and he’s got the lyricism. He’s also pretty creative which I think is beneficial; even if some of the risks didn't really pay off on this EP.
Thanks for reading! Happy Tuesday and hope to see ya next week!
Here’s a link to last week’s review: