Like a lot of 'country' releases these days, Dustin Lynch's "Current Mood" includes a few songs that - if their quality had been duplicated throughout - would have made for one fine album. The ballad, "Love Me or Leave Me Alone," which also features Karen Fairchild (of Little Big Town), is a powerfully memorable song. It's followed by "Back on It" which, with its love/addiction analogy (although already done many times before) is nevertheless dramatically effective.
Lynch had a big hit with "Seein' Red." But with the track's rifling electric guitar groove and big pop chorus, it has little resemblance to actual country music. Sonically and lyrically, it's just too close to a Taylor Swift song. And she left country music behind long ago. Another single, "Small Town Boy," is only slightly better. Its finger-snap rhythm and mid-tempo beat sound like a hundred other songs on the radio. It is formulaic mainstream country. "I Wish You Were Beer" is yet another pop-y little number. Lynch music oftentimes reminds one of Thomas Rhett's songs. Both are categorized as country, but it sounds as though their hearts are much more in the pop music realm.
Even average songs like "New Girl" come off pretty good, simply because they actually sound a little like country songs. The album closes with "Sun Don't Go Down on That," featuring that wordy, rapid fire manner of spitting out the lyrics, which is so popular in pop music nowadays. These are downtown stylings, not tavern jukebox material.
Steve Earle recently called country music hip-hop for people who are afraid of black people. And it's easy to see his point while listening to Lynch. This is pop music with a Southern vibe, yet nearly completely without pop music's overriding black influence.
The biggest difference between most of Lynch's music and contemporary pop, though, is that much of the Top-40 is at least memorable. Lynch's album is largely forgettable background music.