By Kurt Wolff
Written by Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, the song is the first single from Chesney’s anticipated new album, which is due this fall.
“With two hooks, three rhythm scans and some of the most ingenious wordplay I’ve ever heard,” Chesney said in a press release, “this song’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The second Shane [McAnally] played ‘American Kids’ for me, I knew I was going to cut it. In fact, I kinda wondered why he hadn’t played it for me sooner.”
“American Kids” is an upbeat song that aims to give insight into what drives the spirit and soul of today’s younger generations. In the lyrics, the song references anthems like “Little Pink Houses.,” “Born in the USA” and “The Cover of the Rolling Stone.” The song winds up with the chorus that they’re “a little messed up but we’re all alright.”
“There is so much more to being alive than partying, tailgates and bonfires,” Chesney continued. “It’s every single detail of being young, growing up, remembering when, laughing about how, but especially knowing you can still do all those things! American kids are so much more complicated, more fun, more real – and if there’s anything about this song, beyond the rhythms, the hooks and the playing, that I love, it’s the fact that it captures all the little things that life really is made of.”
The single’s associated artwork, including the video teaser, show’s long-haired 20somethings dancing around and on top of a colorfully painted schoolbus—a scene that seems to directly reference Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, who traveled the country in a bus named Further.
“Just because it makes you smile,” Chesney says, “that doesn’t mean a song can’t say something! To me, it’s the songs that feel so good that really bring home a message. After all this time, I can’t wait to see what everybody thinks…”
“American Kids” is from Chesney’s 16th studio album, which is expected at some point in 2014 (update: album will drop Sept 23). Earlier this spring, Chesney teased fans by tweeting out “9.30.14,” a date many took to indicte the release date for the album. Chesney is producing the as-yet-untitled album with longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon.