Album Review: Dustin Lynch’s ‘Current Mood’
Dustin Lynch has made a name for himself as an engaging live performer and his third release, Current Mood, ups the ante. The album boasts beat-heavy production bound to keep Lynch’s audience on their feet as the Resistol hat wearing singer kicks off his own headlining tour later this year.
Current Mood had five different producers at the helm including Brent Anderson, Mickey Jack Cones, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell and Will Weatherly. As a result, the album is less cohesive and instead takes on Lynch’s wide range of influences and emotions — something he intended to do.
“There’s a song for every emotion I’m feeling right now,” Lynch explains. “All these songs are a behind-the-curtain-look at my heart and soul, and it’s so diverse because I listen to all kinds of music. Depending on what mood I was in, I would start the session out with ‘Hey, I was listening to Sugar Ray last weekend in San Diego, I want to feel like that today.’ Or ‘I just saw Imagine Dragons, let’s try something like that.’”
Lynch co-wrote seven of the album’s 13 tracks and says his goal for the project was to stretch himself. As a result, the upbeat songs take the forefront throughout the album while the ballads take a backseat, which is unfortunate. On Current Mood the singer, who got his start with the heartfelt debut single “Cowboys and Angels” inspired by his grandparents’ long-lasting relationship, turns to R&B and pop produced tracks that have little depth. Instead of pining for that everlasting love, Lynch sings about partying (“Party Song”), late night romps in the hay (“Why We Call Each Other”) and wishing a girl was beer (“I Wish You Were Beer”).
That’s not to say the album is at a complete loss, though. The seductive and sultry lead single “Seein’ Red” was just an introduction to where Current Mood was headed with its infectious pop-rock sound. Meanwhile, follow-up hit “Small Town Boy” showcases a country storyline with light R&B production appeal.
The R&B flavor continues throughout Current Mood and is best demonstrated on the late night hookup song, “Why We Call Each Other.” On the track, Lynch sings of being a secret lover: “no strings ’cause it isn’t real . . . it’s just the right shade of wrong . . . you’ll be gone by sunrise like it never happened.” Later, on “Back On It,” Lynch amps up the sex appeal with his sultry slowed singing style as he compares a woman’s love to a drug. “Baby I ain’t ever done cocaine / I swear there’s something running through my veins,” he croons.
The album’s standout moment is on a stripped down ballad called “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone.” The striking song has Lynch lamenting about not knowing where he and a woman stand in their relationship. Added harmonies from Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild make the already powerful ballad even more striking. “Love me or leave me alone / Hold me or just let me go / ‘Cause I’ve felt this fire for so long / So baby love me, love me / Love me or leave me alone,” Lynch sings on the chorus.
Another highlight includes nostalgic album closer “Sun Don’t Go Down On That” where Lynch reminisces of a past summer love alongside slick production. “You’ll never forget the way that it is when you know it’s love,” he sings softly.
Lynch’s goal for Current Mood was to continue to stretch himself as an artist. While he accomplishes exactly this on the record, he may have stretched himself too thin. The overproduction on some tracks proves distracting and, as a result, loses the storyline and the listener on the song. In a genre with a foundation for storytelling this is unfortunate. More heartfelt ballads like “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone” could have solved this problem and given what’s an already compelling album more depth.