Mickey Guyton- “Black Like Me”
Review By Citgo Cig
When someone mentions the name Mickey the first thing that comes to mind is an ice cold six pack of pudgy little green beer bottles. Oh wait, that’s Mickey’s. The second thing that comes to mind is the Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke. This column being written from the perspective of a hip hop veteran reviewing country songs, the name Mickey Guyton led me to believe it would be some country guy in a cowboy hat singing of glory days and things that make you want to drink your blues away. The title “Black Like Me” had me think “ok, it’s a black country singer guy.” Being I never heard of the guy, when I googled the name I’m like, “I guess the 63rd Grammy Awards performance of this song would be a great place to start.”
Well damn. Come to find out Mickey Guyton is actually a woman. And for a first impression this is a good one because in addition to rocking a sparkly form fitting dress (with weird shoulder pads though,) and being easy on the eyes, she also has a soothing voice that might be compared to Whitney Houston with a country twist. Assuming the Grammy rendition of this song is a little different than the radio version I head to Micky Guyton’s official You Tube page.
From a video on her home page, I realize this is the woman who sang the national anthem for Super Bowl LVI. Again, with the shoulder pads on the dress which I’m digging even less the second time around. Vocally she can carry a note like nobody’s business, evoking inspiration for the game and showing true star power by delivering a poised performance in an arena of such magnitude. Ok I will now get back to “Black Like Me.”
The lyric video for “Black Like Me” is all I could find. I love lyrics though and this gave me a chance to really focus on the music. The original version is a lot more upbeat than the Grammy performance while still including the piano chords and twangy guitar or whatever that thing is making that twangy noise. Maybe it’s one of those instruments that looks like a little wood board, but you play it flat on your lap. There is also a lot of choir backup vocals that I don’t especially care for when mixed with anything other than gospel. This is definitely not a song I’m going to ride out to on a Friday night.
Mickey starts off singing about being a “little kid in a small town” and getting her “heart broke on the playground” when they said she was different and now that she’s all grown up “it’s still the same and nothing has changed.” Then it pretty much goes straight into the hook and says “if you think we live in the land of the free you should try to be black like me.” Now, here is where my history as a rapper really kicks in. Mickey just sang two measly bars and went straight into a one bar pre chorus followed by two bar chorus. Can you rappers imagine how many songs you would have in your catalog if you followed this formula? That’s a total of five bars. Easy money.
It can be hard to get ahead in a small town. There are less opportunities and it can be very discouraging. Many people work two jobs day and night just to make it. Being told you don’t belong makes it even more of a mental challenge so imagine how hard it would be in the same scenario if you were Black! All in all, I think this is an over produced, lack luster pop country record with mediocre songwriting, but if it can be inspirational to even one person it’s worth its weight in gold.