Lee Brice - 'I Don't Dance'

September 9th saw the release of American country artist Lee Brice's third studio album, I Don't Dance. The album debuted at number one on both the Billboard Top County Albums chart and the US Country Airplay chart and includes thirteen tracks, with ten of the tracks co-written by Lee - there are a further three tracks in the album's deluxe edition.
The album's title track was also released as the lead single. Written for his wife (then fiancée) the track starts with a somewhat strange 'musicbox' melody however the following piano and acoustic guitar section sets the track up really nicely and leaves the focus on Lee's vocals and the heartfelt lyrics. Lines such as "you took these two left feet and waltzed away with my heart" and "I don't dance but here I am, spinning you round and round in circles" are full of emotion and thankfully the production doesn't overpower the sentiment behind the lyrics.
The rest of the album is a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. Good Man for instance is not at all helped by the rapping within the verses. The song's character unfortunately comes across as arrogant through lyrics such as "so you're looking for a good man, well you're looking at a good man now ain't ya girl" and the overall drum heavy production.

No Better Than This feels a little strained, particularly apparent through Lee's vocal in the chorus. The track is strongly rock orientated and would probably work well in large arenas however feels a little out of place on the album, particularly after I Don't Dance.

I will be truthful in saying Girls In Bikinis just annoyed me. The lyrics are shockingly bad - take "watching girls in bikinis is like watching a Slinky walking down the stairs, can't help but stare" and "high five to the guy who thought about cutting that thing in two". It seems such a shame that songwriters would think to write (and release) this, certainly one of the most derogatory songs I've heard in a while. 

The two best tracks on the album appear towards the end, Hard To Figure Out (The Airport Song) and Panama City. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the title of Hard To Figure Out (The Airport Song) however the emotional lyrics and strong yet subtle instrumentalisation combines to create a really strong song. "She said just thank God, for everything you've got" is certainly a poignant lyric and the song builds upon that as it progresses with the character feeling "so stupid being mad, after seeing her so sad". 

Album closer Panama City features female backing vocals from Maggie Rose (as well as male backing vocals from Perry Coleman - he appears on many other tracks) The production is primarily led by a piano however other instruments fade in and out where appropriate. Maggie's vocals add another dynamic to the track as one of only two tracks featuring female backing vocals. I would have liked to have heard the hand claps continued at various points throughout the song, it gives the track a slight gospel feel that works really well.

Track listing....
1) I Don't Dance - Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, Dallas Davidson
2) No Better Than This - Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, Vicky McGehee
3) Show You Off Tonight - Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, Vicky McGehee, Ben Glover
4) Always The Only One - Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, Joe Don Rooney
5) Good Man - Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, Vicky McGehee, Billy Montana
6) Drinking Class - Josh Kear, David Frasier, Ed Hill
7) That Don't Sound Like You - Lee Brice, Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley
8) Girls In Bikinis - Lee Brice, Rodney Clawson, Thomas Rhett, Chris Tompkins
9) Sirens - Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, Jon Stone, Lance Miller
10) Somebody's Been Drinking - Ashley Gorley, Hillary Lindsey, Shane McAnally
11) Hard To Figure Out (The Airport Song) - Lee Brice, Joe Leathers, Nicole Witt
12) My Carolina - Lee Brice, Phillip Lammonds
13) Panama City - Mark Irwin, Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear

Deluxe edition....
14) More My Style - Lee Brice, Vicky McGehee, Billy Montana, Brian Davis
15) Closer - Lee Brice, Jon Stone, Jerrod Niemann
16) Whiskey Used To Burn - Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, Lance Miller

Not an amazing album in my opinion however there are tracks on there to keep listeners interested - most likely fans of rockier country will be drawn to this. To me, Lee Brice is strongest on the slower tracks (take I Drive Your Truck from his last album) and whilst it is nice to see a few on here, I would like to hear more. It seems that Lee is set to release a gospel album next, I'd definitely be interested to hear that!