Let’s Sing Country is the latest release in the Let’s Sing franchise, and the first one to exclusively focus on a single genre. Available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4, we sang along with the Playstation version.
The Let’s Sing franchise has had strong annual releases for a few years now, overtaking Singstar when it comes to picking up a new batch of songs to play in a convenient manner rather than buying individual ones. It’s always been a nice mix of genres and decades, with an emphasis on current stuff but the ability to add songs through DLC packs – focus on, for example, the 80s or 90s.
This year’s release of Let’s Sing focuses on country music exclusively, which made us curious to see how they’d handle the tracklist. After all, there’s plenty of country music out there, and I could see even those tempted to say “country’s not for me” right away liking a few classic songs by Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire or Willie Nelson.
Unfortunately, Let’s Sing Country isn’t exactly a “greatest hits” kind of approach to country music, with the vast majority of the 30 song playlist coming from the past 15 years or so – and most are on the recent end of that spectrum. If you were listening to Garth Brooks in the 90s or Eddie Rabbitt in the 80s, you won’t find them there. If you want to go back in time a little bit then you only really have three songs to choose from, which feels like a shame.
Not staying up to date on what’s new in country music, these older songs quickly became favorites with the group we were playing with, as we alternated between Dwight Yoakam’s “Streets of Bakersfield”, Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell, probably our favorite of the whole tracklist.
The selection of more recent songs definitely isn’t bad, but a lot of the tracks veer more towards the pop music end of the spectrum than they do towards traditional country music. I suppose this ages me (and others) a bit in terms of perhaps not being the target audience, but not being able to get classic tracks through DLC doesn’t help either. Luckily the track list, though mostly modern, features plenty of diversity in terms of tempo and style.
On the other hand, if you’re not familiar with the likes of Cody Johnson, Bebe Rexha, Jake Owen and Cole Swindell, then you’ll find most of the songs are catchy enough and fun to listen to, as well as easy to learn. This makes Let’s Sing Country fun in the short run, but I wonder how many of these songs will fade into obscurity over time – from that perspective, and with so many classic songs out there, this release is a bit of a missed opportunity.
Luckily, Let’s Sing County benefits from the strong framework of the main series, supporting a host of controllers including the ability to use your smartphone as a mic through a dedicated app. There is also support for Singstar mics built in, and a range of gameplay modes has been included to allow for different styles of play depending on how many people you have playing and what you’re up for. This could be a duet with one of the singers, but that too would have been a lot more fun with some of the all-time greats.
For karaoke parties with a diverse group, I would recommend sticking with the core releases of the Let’s Sing franchise. If you’re with a group of big country music fans that follow the country charts, then this is probably a brilliant release. That’s a very, very specific group though, and the target audience (even within country) could have been a lot bigger.