Should Craig Campbell’s new single “See You Try” reach the top of the charts, he already has an elaborate plan in place for how he’ll celebrate the occasion. Though he’s keeping those special details under wraps, it was clear to Campbell even on the first listen that the song has the potential to clinch the No. 1 spot.
“Everything about it just screamed ‘hit’ to me,” Campbell tells Sounds Like Nashville about why he was drawn to “See You Try.” “Even though me and my wife have been married almost 13 years, I still enjoy her trying to seduce me in certain situations. It was a very relatable song.”
The seductive track with an infectious hook marks a step in a new direction in regards to Campbell’s sound. Though he doesn’t shy away from sultry topics (see the tongue-in-cheek “Fish”), Campbell has mainly established himself as a traditional country enthusiast, as evidence by the humbling “Family Man” and the nostalgic “Outskirts of Heaven.” Though “See You Try” harbors a comfortable element for Campbell, it still has a way of challenging him. “There’s a few things in this song that I’ve never done before live as far as the way it feels and the production of it all and the message,” he explains. “’I like to see you try’ in most ways is a negative, so I love the way they spun the hook.”
The last time we heard from Campbell was in 2016 when he graced country radio with “Outskirts of Heaven,” a deeply personal song that reflects the singer’s faith base. Despite the fact that he initially had no intention of sending it to radio, it managed to crack the Top 30 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and has since become one of his career-defining singles. “See You Try” is on the opposite end of the lyrical spectrum, as Campbell finds his self-control being tested by his leading lady, who makes every attempt to get him off the dance floor and back home. While the songs are polar opposites, they both reflect real aspects of Campbell.
“’See You Try’ is a sexy love song between me and my wife and I’m not scared to sing about that. It’s two totally different songs, but they’re both 100 percent Craig and that’s all I’m listening for,” he says comparing “See You Try” and “Outskirts of Heaven.” “That’s what I want people to take away from when they hear my music is there’s a piece of me in all of my songs. They get to know me a little more every song I put out.”
Campbell says fans can expect this type of diversity on his upcoming album, one that will embody “familiar sounds” while moving into new territory as demonstrated on “See You Try,” which he cites as his favorite cut on the album. “It’s me, but it’s just got a little bit of edge to it,” he says of the project, noting other titles including “Kids in the South” and “Upstairs,” in addition to a standout track in the form of the power ballad “It’s About Time.” “It’s a guy asking his girl has she done these things and he’s like ‘if you haven’t, it’s about time,’” he describes. “It’s pretty much a stud.”
When looking at his career as a whole, Campbell views “See You Try” more as a stepping stone along the path he’s already created for himself, as opposed to trying to rebrand himself as an artist. “I think it’s a continuation,” he says of the place “See You Try” has in his song catalogue. “I’ve never looked at myself as an artist that has been down for the count. My career has been a slow trajectory from day one. I haven’t skyrocketed to super stardom, but I’m on an uphill ascend, it’s gradual. I feel like that’s a good thing.”
“See You Try” is available now.