Photo: Jacob Blickenstaff

Hayes Carll – “The Love That We Need” (Singles Going Steady)

Hayes Carll does his imitation of Townes Van Zandt, but Carll misses the desperation that gave Van Zandt’s songs their edge.

Steve Horowitz: Hayes Carll does his imitation of Townes Van Zandt, but Carll misses the desperation that gave Van Zandt’s songs their edge. This track offers melancholy instead of pain under the pretense of deep feeling. Carll complains about not going crazy, but he should go crazy. You can’t light a fire, as the Boss says, without a spark. Otherwise, you are just whining. [6/10]

Stephen Wyatt: Post-hangover ennui encapsulates Hayes Carll’s latest offering, “The Love That We Need”. As Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton continue their crusade to reclaim country music from pop-infected marauders, like the Blake Sheltons and Keith Urbans of the world, Carll toes the line between singer-songwriter and committed revolutionary. The only problem that remains are his lyrical tropes and deeply-wounded delivery. Carll woefully croons, “We never go to bed angry / Because we never fight / We never go crazy/In the middle of the night”, bemoaning the fact that the relationship in question is on life support. Moreover, Carll’s indistinct playing and casually improvised orchestration simply lingers, doing little more than underscoring the boredom projected throughout the song. Raise your glass to broken relationships, if you are awake enough to lift your arm. [5/10]

Ari Rosenschein: “I’m much too young to feel this damn old,” sang Garth Brooks in 1989, inadvertently kickstarting the arena rock-ification of the country music establishment. Twenty-seven years later, Hayes Carll and a cadre of outlaws like Sturgill Simpson and Ryan Bingham are razing the edifice of Music Row, redefining twang. Despite crimes against good taste, Brooks’ words correctly describe Carll’s broken Springsteenian croon on this gorgeous slice of rustic Americana. [8/10]

Dami Solebo: Pleasant song. Very easy to listen and tap your feet to, but somewhat forgettable beyond that. It could have been one of a million other disposable songs. [6/10]

Chad Miller: A sweet guitar and piano assisted ballad with country roots. That is, until it’s not. Out of nowhere Carll goes from never going to sleep angry “Cause we never fight” to needing to end the relationship which had me scratching my head for a second. As the song progresses it becomes clear that the relationship is comfortable yet passionless. Fortunately, Carll is able to avoid sounding like he’s romanticizing messy, dysfunctional relationships. Overall, it’s a decent, heartfelt song with a story to follow. [5/10]

Chris Pittaway: Despite being fairly straightfoward from a country songwriting perspective, IThe Love That We Need” feels achingly personal and completely heartfelt. The low-key instrumentation (is that a bongo?!) serves the track perfectly in its woeful portrayal of miscommunication and falling into destructive patterns. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but nobody asked it to. [7/10]

Paul Duffus: I can imagine this worthy, rootsy, luke warm folk-rock soundtracking the prologue to a Sean Penn movie, some dull guff about a widowed, disillusioned Ohio State Trooper, his ne’er-do-well son, and the hard decisions they have to make in this mean old world. The joyless tone somehow makes you feel like you should say you liked it when you didn’t. [5/10]

SCORE: 6.00