There’s an obvious difference between an artist pouring out his heart with his songs, and one that sounds like he’s trying with all his might to create hits. Granger Smith’s When the Good Guys Win is an album filled songs that fit squarely into the latter category. All fourteen of these tracks sound readymade to fit on a contemporary radio playlist, yet very few would stand out from the pack.
This is not to say the album’s content is disagreeable. The title cut is all about rejoicing with those that are rejoicing, which should happen whenever the good guys win. “Still Holds Up” celebrates what’s solid and long-lasting. But listening to it, it’s difficult to escape that sneaky feeling Dierks Bentley’s “I Hold On” said much the same thing, only better and more sincerely.
Also, many of the album’s love songs are shallow and forgettable. One called “Stutter” conjures up images of some Southern stud trying to pick up a Spring Break hottie. It should come as no surprise, then, that Tyler Hubbard, one half of Florida Georgia Line, helped write the single “Happens Like That,” as that due comprises the poster children for bro-country.
When the Good Guys Win may land Granger Smith on the radio charts, but it won’t earn the performer any artistic credibility points.