Having built a career on knowing the moment and trusting his gut, Kenny Chesney derailed a pretty involved single set-up when he suddenly found himself midway through writing a song about the impact of sonic overload on our society. Begun on his way to a marketing meeting to review set up plans for his new music, something about “Noise” struck Chesney as too immediate to wait.
“Sometimes as a writer, you sense the urgency of what you’re saying,” he says. “I knew how many hours of work had gone into setting up the album and the single. I also felt in my gut ‘Noise’ was a song people were hungry to hear someone say.”
Chesney’s lucky his gut didn’t knock him over. Hitting Billboard’s Country Singles Chart at No. 21 bullet and MediaBase’s at No. 28 bullet, “Noise” brought in a whopping 146 adds in its first week; even more than the 111 stations “American Kids” had and the 127 stations Hemingway Whiskey’s “Live A Little” scored.
“I’ve always tried to make music that says something I think the fans want to hear,” Chesney says. “When you have a great song that speaks to the heart of how people are living, you’ve got something. I try to not repeat myself, or what other folks are doing.
“We had a really smart, really interesting single musically and topically,” continues the man The Los Angeles Times proclaimed “The People’s Superstar.” “But when ‘Noise’ rolled out and Shane and I were almost done before we got off the phone, I knew it was special, and real, and everything people are contending with. This response tells me my instinct was right.”
With a rapid rhythm that swells, then almost bursts, “Noise” mirrors the nervous energy created by too many simultaneous stimuli. Opening with “Wrecking balls, downtown construction/ Bottles breaking, juke box buzzing/ Cardboard sign says the Lord is coming/ Tick Tick Tock…” the single catalogues the chaos and auditory shrapnel of daily living as phased guitars and crashing drums topple around him.
The Chesney/McAnally/Ross Copperman/Jon Nite song works a staccato series of notes, a run of images and culminates in the realization “We didn’t turn it on, but can’t turn it off…”
“It comes down, really, to the chorus,” Chesney says, “When it starts, ‘We scream, we shout til we don’t have a voice/ In the streets, in the crowds, it ain’t nothing but noise… drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy/ Just trying to be heard… in all this noise,’ that says it all about the impact of 24-hour news, click bait and being addicted to having to know.”
Fifteen stations are already committed to next week’s add date, and “Noise” is just getting started. With the Spread the Love Tour kicking off April 23 in Auburn and an album due early this summer, the man whose Big Revival spawned four consecutive No. 1s is set to hit a new mark with his music.