With a fierce gallop of the drums, Chris Douglas welcomes us into his incredible new single “Ain’t Getting Any Younger,” the juggernaut debut release from one of the season’s most discussed young songwriters. Right off the bat, we’re hypnotized by the chic stylization of the percussion, the marvelously melodic crooning of Douglas, and the fiery tonality of the guitars, which have a much sportier, hard rock-inspired depth than what I would have expected to find in a newly-minted Nashville track. We’re carried away by the gargantuan grooves, which don’t waste a stich of sonic space as they plow through the stoic silence from which the song first came stampeding into head-first. There’s nothing in the master mix to come between Douglas and his adoring audience, most of whom will likely agree with me when I say that his brand of country/rock rhythm isn’t just among the hottest vibes of the summer thus far; it’s possibly the most exciting new swing not bearing an alternative labeling to see release all year long.
Nashville has grown indefensibly stagnant due to a lack of youthful external influences, but that isn’t an issue for Mr. Douglas in this track. If anything, he embraces the experimental side of songwriting more than most any of his peers east of the Mississippi have in a great deal of time; there’s no getting around the rock-themed construction of the main hook in this song, nor can we try and describe the guitar as anything other than a powerhouse, arena-style riff distributer. Douglas doesn’t stop at amplified overdrive though; there’s a bit of a conventional pop aesthetic incorporated into the way that he delivers the lead vocal to us, and though it’s hardly a product of the so-called Americana revival movement, there’s also a touch of folkie humbleness to his prose that really makes the lyrics feel all the more relatable and anti-commercial in nature. Even in the few moments where he’s wearing his influences on his sleeve, he’s never recycling anything that we’ve heard in past hits from either side of the dial. Chris Douglas is a true original, and that’s one thing that I think every critic checking out his debut is going to unanimously agree on.
Personally, I’m very excited to hear more music cut from the same cloth that “Ain’t Getting Any Younger” was in Douglas’ 2020 extended play of the same title, and once you give it a spin for yourself, I’ve got a feeling that you’re going to be inclined to feel the same way. His energetic style of attack alone makes this song quite the worthwhile acquisition for diehard country music enthusiasts, and even if the genre isn’t your very favorite, I would still recommend taking a listen just the same. Songwriters with the attitude and charisma that Chris Douglas has come around only every once in a great while, and although there’s a case to be made that he’s got a lot more talent than most of the first-timers that make their way to my desk throughout the whole of the year, his is a sound that is difficult for even the most discriminating of audiophiles to decry as inauthentic.