After only releasing two singles from their last studio album, 10,000 Towns, Eli Young Band has released of Turn It On. The four song EP includes the title track as well as “Plastic,” “Your Place or Mine” and “Drink You Up.”
The title track and “Drink You Up” best capture what the group is trying to do with these releases. Straying from their trademark Eagles, southern and soft rock sound, both of these break new ground with a bro-country feel. They are repetitive, up-tempo, and lack the depth of many of the songs that made them so popular in the past. “Drink You Up’ is especially unique as it utilizes a modern drum beat and cliche lyrics.
“Your Place or Mine” and “Plastic,” are slightly more traditional but still different. “Plastic” could be a Florida Georgia Line cut with its easy-going beat and Joey Moi produced-esque guitar sounds. “Your Place or Mine” is probably the best and most familiar sounding song on the album. In a Rolling Stone interview, lead singer Mike Eli described the track as a prequel to their last no. 1 song, “Drunk Last Night.”
The success of the EP and its singles will determine where the group takes their careers from this point. None of the songs are bad per se, just extremely different and a drastic change from what we’ve heard in the past. If done in gradual steps this transition from 80s rock country to bro-country could have been seamless, but this sudden shift might be too much too fast. Every artist knows that they need to push boundaries and get lucky to hit the peak of stardom and avoid a career plateau, but these new songs are so out-of-character that it comes off as desperate. Although a single or two off of this EP will probably climb inside the top 15, it is hard to see it doing much more. Although different from their old sound, three of the four songs are too generic, in terms of the genre as a whole, to gain any real traction for a group trying to hit the next level of success.