I make no claim to prescience, but I knew I’d glimpsed something magnetic in Brett Eldredge when I saw his first music video, “Raymond.”
That was nearly nine years ago, and this is what I said back then in my CMT.com chart column about the video’s underlying song:
“The sentimentalists among us have been keeping our eyes on Brett Eldredge’s “Raymond,” a song that describes the touching relationship between a maintenance worker at a nursing home and an Alzheimer-afflicted patient there. This week it moves from No. 40 to No. 37.”
Alas, the single peaked at No. 23. But its video version established Eldredge — who turns 33 today — as one of country music’s most visually engaging performers. With his tall, rangy physique and eyes brimming with a mixture of curiosity and mischief, he completely inhabits the roles the songs/scripts assign him.
Here are five of Eldredge’s most memorable video ventures:
“Raymond” (2010, directed by Sean Silva)
If you can watch this one without shedding a tear, you’re a candidate for emotional rehab. It shows Eldredge in his drab work clothes polishing the floor and singing to the nursing home residents. But between chores, he’s bringing coffee, playing cards and listening to stories by a special old lady, who, thinking him her dead son, calls him “Raymond.” Scenes of the two interacting look as authentic as a documentary.
“Mean to Me” (2013, Shane Drake)
From emerging from a shower to alighting from a limousine, the focus here is on Eldredge’s face (and briefly on his torso) as he muses about his beloved’s many charms. Close-ups tell the story, which is conveyed in black and white with night-time Chicago as a background. It looks like the cool, sophisticated intro to an old Hollywood classic.
“Lose My Mind” (2014, Joel Robertson)
By now, some of you are saying, “Sure Brett Eldredge is solid in straight dramatic roles, but can he play a crazed sex addict?” Why, yes he can. Neither feminists nor mental health advocates will find much to applaud in this one. But for those of us who like a good 1960’s style romp that’s completely devoid of political correctness, “Lose My Mind” nicely fills the bill. In the crucial scenes, a wild-eyed Eldredge, clad in a straitjacket, leers at a “nurse” who really knows how to walk away from the camera. Need I say more?
“Somethin’ I’m Good At” (2017, Ethan Lader)
What we have here is not exactly cerebral comedy, but it’s an evolutionary notch above Eldredge’s character in “Lose My Mind.” Now a sharp-dressed man, Eldredge plays a guy who’s so oblivious to his surroundings that he leaves carnage in his wake as he strides down the street swinging his brief case like a wrecking ball. With his malleable face and dancer’s grace, he is dumb joy personified—and he will, as the song promises, make you smile.
“Love Someone” (2018, Michael Monaco)
There are two video incarnations of this song, one called the “Edgar cut,” which features Eldridge’s dog as his love interest, and the other “official version” in which he prances the stage like an evangelist of Eros, preaching the gospel of love. It’s the Edgar take that unleashes Eldredge’s goofy sense of humor as the two pals share a candlelit dinner, go motorcycle riding and jointly howl at the moon. As of this writing, the Edgar cut has netted over 6 million YouTube views, while the official edition has pulled in just under 2 million. This tells us something about where Eldredge’s greatest appeal lies. Or maybe it’s the dog.