I think of this song as country in the same way that I think of Phil Vassar as country. Heavy on the piano, not so much on the fiddle and guitar.
I find myself wondering if the video didn’t include a bonfire and whiskey, would it be considered country at all? Unlike a lot of Vassar’s tunes, ‘All-American Boy’ would be harder to two-step to, and the theme of song, unrequited love, is one that isn’t as specific to country music as say the themes of hard work, football games, and family.
I like the song and I like the video, but I don’t like the two of them together. The song on its own seems to be more of a closet crush that is reciprocated between the two boys:
His arms around her/
but his eyes are holding me…
…You tell your girl goodnight/
‘cuz somebody’d like to kiss me
The lyrics seem to indicate that the crush is mutual, if not out in the open. But in the video, Grand is rebuffed when kissing his friend. Why the disparity? Was this Grand’s way of playing it safe as Daniel D’Addario notes in his Salon.com article? Or does Grand’s character only build up in his mind the possibility of romance with his friend; reading into things that aren’t really hints of ‘I like you, too’ at all? If it’s the latter, that doesn’t come across so clearly in the video.
As an independently financed video, it’s beautifully shot and well edited. Grand got his money’s worth for what he spent.
Beefcake abounds where we’d normally find cheesecake. Grand and his buddy frequently appear with open shirts or no shirts. My particular favorite is the shot of Grand at 3:18. It’s nice to see men getting their equal time with this.
Regardless of if you think the song is country or not, you have to admit that it is a great song. Grand has a strong voice, and part of the tunes strength is in its foundation and structure being built mainly around piano. This and the tempo is part of the the appeal. Its a happy, not a sappy, ballad. It brings ya up and makes ya think of your own all-american boys.
And you sure can’t deny the sexy appeal of the lyric “I’m gonna wrestle you outta these clothes”; especially with a guy who looks the way Steve Grand does.
See an interview below with Grand from Good Morning America.