Casey James' third single from his self-titled debut album is a pleasing three minutes and five seconds, but the toe-tapper is easy to forget. 'The Good Life' lacks the emotional hook that the best carefree country expressions posses.

The song is sort of like licking the frosting from a cupcake. Sure it's tasty, but the combination of flavors provided by the sturdy pastry base is what takes the treat to the next level. "Cup of coffee and a clearer head / Jelly over warm cornbread / Feeling ready for whatever the day’s gonna bring," James sings to begin the song. Generic country-rock production supports him from start to finish.

A few other well-known, feel-good touchpoints are mentioned before the song changes direction and turns into a love song during the second verse. It's unexpected, and to some degree, easy to miss. "Painted toes and tangled hair / perfect walk caught my stare / One look I was hooked and I haven’t let go," he sings.

The Texas singer's vocals are strong, but one wonders if he was even making an emotional connection when he cut it. Was there a girl he was thinking of, or a place he was escaping to during the recording? "No doubt I’m right where I belong / No part of this road feels wrong / It looks like the good life’s coming on strong," he adds during a simple chorus.

'The Good Life' has mass appeal, so it should find its way up the radio charts. It works as something of a bridge song to get to James' next album, where one hopes he can truly show his scars and flex his guitar muscle.

2 Stars

Listen to Casey James, 'The Good Life'

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