Earlier this month, Blake Shelton released his brand-new single, “I’ll Name the Dogs,” proving that the Voice judge is digging right back into his country roots.
With the single giving fans a glimpse of new music from Shelton since his 2016 record, If I’m Honest, the straightforward, mid-tempo track is also raising a few eyebrows with its lyrics. Is it about his current love, Gwen Stefani or ex-wife, Miranda Lambert?
Fans were quick to speculate whether the lyrics were intended as a slap to Shelton’s ex Lambert, who is well-known for her love of dogs; or his current girlfriend and No Doubt songstress, Stefani.
Frequent collaborator and songwriter, Ben Hayslip, tells the Taste of Country that the track is a song that puts the country superstar right back into his main wheelhouse, but laughs off the suggestion that it’s about Lambert. Or even Stefani for that matter.
“That was never thought of,” Hayslip said. “[Co-writers, Josh Thompson and Matt Dragstrem] didn’t go that deep into it. We just had an idea that we loved, and tried to surround that idea with great images. The main thing with an idea like that is … you’re writing the song with a smile. You know that. We didn’t really think about the dog thing. I don’t think that crossed anyone’s mind. I know it didn’t mine.”
The song, which was pitched to Shelton by the writers to his longtime producer, Scott Hendricks, is about taking the next step in a relationship and sounds a lot like he has marriage on the mind. Shelton is going strong with Stefani and even featured two of her children in the music video for his single.
Hayslip says prior to recording the track, Shelton voiced no concerns about drawing parallels between his and the No Doubt songstress’ relationship, making fans wonder what the next step is for the two.
“Our job is to not write something he won’t say, or write something totally against the situation he’s in,” Hayslip said. “I don’t know that we talked a lot about trying to make this song about him and his relationship, but we just wanted to make sure that we don’t do anything to turn him away. He’s a TV star; he’s a big, huge name and a big star, and when you get to that point, sometimes there’s things you can’t say and certain things that you don’t want to say.”
“I’ll Name the Dogs” is the lead single from a new album that Shelton has not yet announced.
Photo credit: Twitter / @bucklesandbulls
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