BILLY DEAN “Race You To The Bottom” (Curb)
This is an indictment of the “greed is good” mentality that corrupts, from the perspective of one of those that is corrupted. He overdoes it a bit, but the message still resonates. Actually, Rodney Crowell does the same thing much, much better with “The Obscenity Prayer (Give It To Me)” on his new album The Outsider. But if we’re replacing jingoism with social justice in country music, I’m on board.
COWBOY CRUSH “Nobody Died Of A Broken Heart” (Asylum/Curb)
I hear they’re a fantastic live act, but they’ve been recorded terribly. This is too noisy and cluttered.
FAITH HILL “Like We Never Loved At All” (Warner Bros.)
She’s got the #1 single in the country, but why wait when you’ve got so many more great songs to send to radio? A beautifully written, perfectly performed power ballad, with effective intertwined harmony from hubby Tim McGraw.
HOMETOWN NEWS “That’s Country To Me” (Quarterback)
I’m from the city. I can’t relate and you’re not good enough to make me care.
JAMEY JOHNSON “The Dollar” (BNA)
He’s got a great voice. But I didn’t believe one second of this contrived storyline.
JOE NICHOLS “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” (Universal South)
JON RANDALL “I Shouldn’t Do This” (Epic)
It’s an excellent song, with supporting harmony from Patty Loveless. It would be a better record if their roles were reversed.
JOSH TURNER “Your Man” (MCA)
Didn’t Gary Allan do this last year with “Nothin’ On But The Radio”?
LUKE STRICKLAND “American By God’s Amazing Grace” (Pacific/Time)
This veteran of the Iraq War sings about the sewage in the streets of Baghad, guessing what’s going to blow up next and how he thanks God it’s not his son having to live there. I don’t think it was his intent, but he gives a lot of support to the belief that we’ve destroyed the nation we were supposedly liberating. How about we get the heck out before anybody else dies?
MIRANDA LAMBERT “Bring Me Down” (Epic)
You’re already there.
NICKEL CREEK “When In Rome” (Sugar Hill)
Methinks they’re getting a little too artsy for their own good. Just a little.
RASCAL FLATTS “Skin (Sarabeth)” (Lyric Street)
I think I’d like this by somebody else, but the nasal vocal is too much of a turn-off for me.
RAY SCOTT “My Kind Of Music” (Warner Bros.)
I would back off Whitney Houston if I were you, Ray. I’ve seen Being Bobby Brown and she could kick your butt.
SHANIA TWAIN “Shoes” (Mercury)
So. Men are like shoes. Okay. Everybody sing along, it’s already stuck in your head.
STEVE HOLY “It’s My Time (Waste It If I Want To)” (Curb)
I feel like you just wasted mine.
SUSAN HAYNES “Crooked Little Heart” (Epic)
Wow, the nineties women were and still are so much better than this.
THE GREENCARDS “Time” (Dualtone)
THE WARREN BROTHERS “Change” (BNA)
A great working-class country-rock record.
TIM MURPHY “Wild Wild West” (Big 7)
It simply doesn’t work on any level.
TRICK PONY “Ain’t Wasting Good Whiskey On You” (Warner Bros.)
They’re much better than they’re given credit for. They’re this century’s Highway 101, which ain’t a bad thing at all.