Blake Shelton has taken the plunge to become the first country artist to annotate his own lyrics on Genius. The droll Okie shared his thoughts on the tracks from his recently released hits compilation Reloaded: 20 Number 1 Hits, which stretches back to the start of his career nearly 15 years ago with “Austin.”
Naturally, Shelton’s off-kilter sense of humor is on full display and he cracks wise on everything from Brad Paisley’s guitar noodling to the scent of watermelon candles. But he’s also downright sincere when it comes to talking about his friend Gwen Sebastian and the powerful story from his early hit “The Baby.” Here are 10 of his best remarks from his Genius annotations.
1. “My Eyes” “My Eyes” was pitched to me by Scott Hendricks. The song has like a “row row row your boat” feel — the way the lyrics fall within the track. I thought it would be a great idea to have Gwen Sebastian come in and sing on the track with me, help me out. So I called her and said, “I got a song I think we should do together. It may just be on the album, I don’t know what’s going to happen with it.” It went on to be a Number One song for me. It was Gwen’s very first Number One song. Pretty special, I think, for both of us to share that together.
2. “Gonna” Lyric: “Love you every night and Daytona” I love a fun song — they don’t have to be brain surgery. I still don’t even know for sure what this line means. But it’s just fun. It’s fun to perform. It’s fun to see people singing along out in the audience. And I do love Daytona! I’m a huge Daytona 500 fan. I’m a Firecracker 400 fan. I’m a race fan in general. My driver is Clint Bowyer. He’s my favorite NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. I like Elliott Sadler in the Xfinity Series. And I like me in the Truck Series — I’m pretty good.
3. “Mine Would Be You” That was my tenth Number One hit in a row. Wow. And it tied Brad Paisley. I’ve never talked to Brad about that for two reasons. He’s probably a little bit bitter about that, and secondly he’s probably giving a guitar clinic somewhere right now. Playing guitars as loud as he can over everybody else that’s trying to talk. Maybe that’s why we didn’t talk about it because he was practicing guitar licks really, really loud. Like really loud solos and really obnoxiously loud jazz guitar licks and maybe that’s why we never had that conversation because he plays his guitar so loud. All the time.
4. “All About Tonight” Lyric: “I’m going to do my best to dance with every girl in this bar” My dance career has been controversial at times. I get pressure from the label. They really want me to concentrate on the music side of what I do. But I’m a dancer at heart — they used to call me “Break It Down Blake.” And “Shufflin’ Shelton” was another one that I used to hear. It’s hard for me to hold that back sometimes — to just stand up there like George Strait in front of a microphone, strumming a guitar — when inside of me, I want to move.
5. “Neon Light” My favorite bar ever isn’t even open anymore. It used to be the Ken Lance Sports Arena in Ada, Oklahoma. Then it closed. It was like a giant honky-tonk dance, in this huge metal building with a giant dance floor. Could probably hold 2,000 or 3,000 people. It was big. After that closed, my second favorite bar became a place called the Village Inn, also in Ada. It’s this little hotel with a bar and a jukebox and sometimes karaoke. It’s just a cool place to hang out. It was one of my first bar experiences, and is still one of my favorites.
Both of the bars I mentioned above have lots of neon lights. When I was younger, you couldn’t just get online and buy neon lights, you had to know like a beer distributor. I’ll never forget that neon George Strait Bud Light sign, it had like his cowboy hat in neon and it had Bud Light written across it. Both of those bars had that. I wanted one so bad.
6. Over Lyric: “Tell me what I’ve got to do to win you over” This is a guy who’s crazy about this girl and he will stop short at nothing to get this girl to fall for him. He will do anything. He will set the world on fire. He will poison himself. He will do these extreme things because he’s that into this girl. That’s a pretty powerful lyric. It’s not going to happen but he’s saying he’ll do all these things nonetheless.
7. “The Baby” Harley Allen and Michael White wrote this song, and, my gosh, I don’t know that I’ve ever listened to or even sang a song that was more painful to get through than “The Baby.” It’s so freaking honest — it’s unbelievable. It’s like a sore spot. This guy took his mother for granted. Maybe we’re all a little bit guilty of that. I was the baby of my family. And the only thing about this song I can’t relate to is that my mother is still alive, thank god.
I actually stopped performing it at my concerts because I’d get the crowd going and it’d be a party and then I’d sing this one and you’d see people bawling out in the audience. Somebody like walking away with their mom crying. It’s like, “Man, I got to stop doing this in concert these days because it kills the mood.”
8. “Sure Be Cool If You Did” Lyric: “Meet me in the middle of a moonlit Chevy bench seat.” My very first pickup I ever had was a GMC. It did have a bench seat and I remember my high school girlfriend would sit right next to me everywhere we went. I love that truck because of that. That’s always my favorite thing about the bench seat — when your girl slides over and sits next to you. Thank God I have a dog these days that comes over and sits next to me.
9. “Sangria” I think maybe the first sangria that I ever had in my entire life was the actual sangria that I was drinking on the set of the “Sangria” video, which the director, Trey [Fanjoy] had made for me — because she knew that I was probably going to have a drink at some point either way. So she had them make some actual genuine sangria, with the fruit in it and everything. It was pretty good.
10. “Doin’ What She Likes” Lyric: “lightin’ watermelon candles upstairs” I don’t really have a lot of thought about actual watermelon candles. But if they smell anything like watermelon gum, I’m a fan. I like the smell of watermelon gum. It’s like grape gum — it doesn’t taste like grape but it tastes like what we know as grape gum. That’s how watermelon gum is and that’s how I imagine watermelon candles to smell like.