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September 6, 2010 / scherstuhl

Strum & Twang: Billy Currington is “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer”

Verdict: Remember when George W. Bush talked about “The poverty of low expectations”?

What galls most about “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer,” Billy Currington’s slow-witted ode to shiftlessness, isn’t that its narrator proudly itemizes job after job that he’s no good at. It’s not that he brags about being ill-equipped to dig a hole, climb a pole, work in a bank, make motors crank, and on and on, right up to the baffling declaration “I’m no good at slapping on things” – an admission that neither rhymes, nor communicates, nor has any business being spoken by someone possessed of operable limbs and spatial awareness.

It’s not even that his only appreciable skill is beer drinking. No, what galls is that even at this this sad-sack can’t be bothered to strive: “I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer,” Currington sings/sighs.

He certainly means this as a joke, but coming from Nashville’s reassurance factory it comes across as license. Being anything more than competent at stuff is for elitists!

The one thing in its favor, I guess, is that this wheezey, one-joke horseshit actually sounds like country music. It’s a barroom plod that tries to lilt, one brightened with uabashed honky-tonk guitar but then dimmed with lyrics so dopey they don’t deserve me digging in for a better word than “dopey.”

Currington’s vocals – so nasaly on “People Are Crazy” — are thin and lacking any crispness. It’s like someone taught lukewarm Miller Lite to song. In fact, this might make acceptable background noise if those words didn’t keep demanding your attention.

Anyway, I endeavored to improve them. Here’s the official Strum & Twang Extra Verses to “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.”

I swallow my tongue when I get a cough

Yelled “Terrorist!” when a guy said “Mazel Tov”

If I put on mittens, can’t get the damned things off

But I’m pretty good at drinkin beer

Hate Old Country Buffet, prefer a deep horse trough

Tried washin’ my face, but all I did was slough

God help me if I ever tried a’ getting you off

But I’m pretty good at drinkin beer

Not good at rememberin’ whether I know you

Can’t resist Redboxin’ Deuce Bigalow 2

Never been a whiz at expelling CO2

But I’m pretty good at drinkin beer

— Alan Scherstuhl

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