Nobody else in country music does pain as well as Gary Allan, which he proves once again with his new single, “Mess Me Up.”

The gravel-voiced country singer has long been one of the few legitimate country singers who can deliver painful subject matter in a way that makes you want to experience it right along with him, and he’s both tormented and sexy on “Mess Me Up,” which top Nashville tunesmiths Ashley Gorley, Ross Copperman and Shane McAnally teamed up to co-write.

The tracks opens with a moody soundscape of reverb-drenched guitars over light insistent percussion that builds and builds along with Allan’s anguished vocal performance until it explodes into the chorus over a sea of big guitars.

The lyrics address a lover that the narrator knows is no good for him, but he can’t help but be drawn to: “Mess me up / Make me drink too much wine and get out my guitar around 2 in the morning / Keep me up / All night thinking that every headlight I see might be some car that you’re in / Call my phone and hang up / Leave me here wondering what in the hell you keep doin’ / Yeah, ruin me girl, mess me up,” Allan sings in the tortured chorus.

“Mess Me Up” is a return to form of a sort for Allan, whose last few singles have struggled to gain acceptance at country radio. Armed with enough heartbreak to connect with anyone who’s ever sat by the phone waiting for a call that wasn’t coming, with just enough of a progressive edge to gain traction in today’s climate without alienating Allan’s older fans, “Mess Me Up” could be the singer’s ticket back to the Top 10.

Did You Know? Allan has been playing “Mess Me Up” live for more than a year, and released the song due to fan demand

Read More: Gary Allan, ‘Mess Me Up’ [Listen] |