Thompson Square, ‘Just Feels Good’ – Album Review
The best songs on Thompson Square‘s new album ‘Just Feels Good’ sound like a conversation between the two married lovers. Early on, their back-and-forth is light and playful. Later ballads take a more somber tone, but all that find the ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ singers sharing lead are highlights from the duo’s sophomore project.
Keifer and Shawna Thompson helped write six of the album’s 13 tracks, and it’s here they’re most comfortable. The two opening cuts are arguably the best on ‘Just Feels Good,’ and both would make great singles. ‘Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About’ is a G-Rated song about S-E-X. It plays off what we’ve learned about Keifer’s personality through interviews and amusing videos they’ve put together prior to awards shows. The rocker is still light and bouncy, but definitely not verging on a pop sound that would turn them into a shorthanded version of Lady Antebellum.
‘Here We Go Again’ is equally refreshing. Shawna Thompson has never sounded so buoyant and playful as she does on this track, and the story of two longtime lovers behaving like kids is a refreshing antidote to the tired story of quarreling couples that is so prevalent in pop culture. However, the track follows the same production formula as the opener, even using the same guitar tones throughout the song and during the solo.
Overall, ‘Just Feels Good’ would benefit from a wider range of experiences and production approaches. It’s an album jammed full of happy love songs that, even with creative interpretation, begins to lose an edge by cut No. 3 (‘You Don’t Get Lucky’).
‘That’s So Me and You’ is a more creative approach — some will convincingly argue it’s the best on the album — but it would be even better if it wasn’t sandwiched between two other tender moments. After the initial burst of ‘Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,’ the collection begins to fade like an echo.
Redemption is found on the title track. The reggae-influenced, funky country-rocker breaks free from the formula. It’s as much fun as anything the duo have cut, and it provides something to look forward to after track No. 8, ‘If I Didn’t Have You.’
To be fair, there isn’t a bad song on ‘Just Feels Good’ (‘Testing the Water’ is awkward, but they get an ‘A’ for effort). As a collection of songs, however, Thompson Square simply rely too much on one dimension. A single song about death, dogs, tractors … anything, really, would be a great way to break up the sweet monotony.