Single Review: Brantley Gilbert - You Don't Know Her Like I Do
By: Bobby Peacock
Brantley Gilbert is on a roll. Having gotten his foot in the door with two outside cuts by Jason Aldean (namely "My Kinda Party" and "Dirt Road Anthem"), Brantley built up the momentum to help propel "Country Must Be Country Wide" to #1 in late 2011. While some may criticize those three songs for relying so heavily on the "country boy" imagery, I felt that they used their formulae extremely well, and benefited greatly from fine melodies (particularly "My Kinda Party"). "Country Wide" also gets a plus for the keen observation that the country music fan base is not limited to any particular sociological or geographical boundary.
That said, "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" shows a new side. In "You Don't Know Her Like I Do," the male narrator is getting over a broken heart. It must be a serious one, as he shrugs off a friend's consolation of "she ain't worth it" with the line "You don't know her like I do / You'll never understand / You don't know what we've been through / That girl's my best friend." Brantley's gravelly voice is passionate, vulnerable and maybe just a little angered — particularly on the extended coda of the album version, where the song decreases to a slower, softer sound briefly before returning to full-force.
New acts constantly have to take gambles to stay more than just a flash-in-the-pan; one wrong single choice can kill all the momentum of a big debut single. Brantley shouldn't worry, as "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" is an excellent single choice. So far, his material shows an interesting balance: though his topic choices are exactly what radio wants (party anthems, country pride, and now broken heart), he executes them tightly and tunefully, and he stands out with his gritty voice and hard-rock production. And as someone who likes it loud, I approve.