Something bothered Capitol Records Nashville President Mike Dungan, who slept on it until, finally, he had to speak up.
“He said: ‘I feel like you talked about how you wanted to get back to a lot of fun on your record. I think you’re missing a song or two. That’s all I’m going to say,’” Bentley said.
Bentley, 34, went back to work writing and recording eight more songs, two of which — the rockers “Sideways” and “Here She Comes” — ended up on his album released this month, “Feel That Fire.”
“It definitely tilted the record on the side of having a little more energy and fun than my past records, but it felt right,” Bentley said. “My goal is that on the first listen you come away thinking it’s fun and rowdy, but when you go back for subsequent listens you find” a deeper side.
Quality was never the issue, Dungan said, just balance. But he worried the young singer-songwriter might take his criticism the wrong way.
It’s almost like saying your baby is ugly,” Dungan remarked. “Whenever you’re making a critical comment about someone’s art you don’t want to do it lightly.”
They apparently got it right, though. The album and the title track both hit No. 1 — Bentley’s sixth chart-topping single.
“I respect him for saying something because that’s hard to do,” Bentley said. “I know I can get stuck and not see the forest for the trees.”