A Country Music Conversation, Day 15: “Love, Me” to “Mean”

A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index

Previous Entry: Day 14: “The Long Goodbye” to “Love Hurts”

Day 15 features tracks from Collin Raye, Miranda Lambert, Bobby Bare, Kip Moore, and Taylor Swift.

“Love, Me”
Collin Raye

Written by Max T. Barnes and Skip Ewing

Collin Raye was one of the nineties’ great balladeers, and while he never quite made it to the A-list, he had a string of memorable hits that had some real substance to them. The first of those hits – the gorgeous “Love, Me” – is still my favorite thing that he’s ever done.

Other Favorites: “Little Rock, “Someone You Used to Know,” “In This Life”

“Mama’s Broken Heart”
Miranda Lambert

Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves

It’s easy to take Miranda Lambert for granted, but her talent truly does go beyond just having a good song sense and the ability to write great music on her own. Check out the original demo of “Mama’s Broken Heart,” performed admirably by co-writer and future star Kacey Musgraves, and then listen again to the Lambert’s hit version. She brought all the underlying psychosis to the surface, dramatically increasing the emotional intensity without compromising the song’s believability.

Other Favorites: “Little Red Wagon,” “Two Rings Shy,” “Vice”

“(Margie’s at) The Lincoln Park Inn”
Bobby Bare

Written by Tom T. Hall

If “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was songwriter Tom T. Hall’s public denunciation of small town hypocrisy, “(Margie’s at) The Lincoln Park Inn” was his peek behind the private walls of a small town home where hypocrisy lived. The internal monologue of a serial cheater, he alternates his thoughts of his mistress waiting for him at a motel with reflections on his work with the Boy Scouts and what he’s going to teach in Sunday School next week.

Other Favorites: “Jason’s Farm,” “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories,” “Macarthur’s Hand”

“Mary Was the Marrying Kind”
Kip Moore

Written by Dan Couch, Kip Moore, and Scott Stepakoff

I love that the digital marketplace brought back the single, and that you don’t have to wait for an album release anymore to own a lead single that you like. But the odd flip side of that now is sometimes the lead singles don’t even end up on the album, much like “Mary Was the Marrying Kind” was left off of Kip Moore’s solid debut album. It would’ve been an even better album if this had been on it. It’s still my favorite song of his.

Other Favorites: “Beer Money,” “Crazy One More Time,” “Up All Night”

“Mean”
Taylor Swift

Written by Taylor Swift

Like I wrote earlier, Taylor Swift’s music is much more enjoyable to me now that I’ve realized that she’s an unreliable narrator. This brilliant song is what prompted that realization. Here, she is claiming to be the victim of bullying, and even brags about how “the cycle ends right now.”  Then she gets to the bridge, and unleashes a vicious onslaught of personal attacks against her alleged bully. She lives up to the title more than her target does.

Other Favorites: “Tim McGraw,” “Blank Space,” “Back to December”

Up Next: Day 16: “Mine All Mine” to “A Night to Remember”

6 Comments

  1. Re. Taylor Swift–I think there are at least two songs of hers that I like: “Back To December” and “Begin Again” (this last one especially). But while I agree that the bashing she’s undergone in her ten years (so far) in the music business is frequently over the top, I also feel her reaction to it in “Mean” isn’t exactly any less so. I’m just still not all that wild about her voice, except for those two songs I mentioned.

  2. Lots of good stuff here. I’m with you on Kip Moore, “Mary…” started him off on a high point he never reached again (though “Faith When I Fall” comes close…)

    When it comes to Taylor Swift, I actually have quite a few favorites. Her best album by a mile is Speak Now, but my top three songs would have to be “Hey Stephen,” “Sparks Fly,” and “Style”

    Not the biggest Miranda fan, but I do like “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Little Red Wagon,” though my favorite song from her is “More Like Her.”

    I’m not nearly familiar enough with Collin Raye to comment on his catalogue, but I will say that “Little Red Rodeo” was one of the first country songs I ever heard and was the song that hooked me into the genre.

  3. Besides “Love Me”, my favorite Collin Raye songs include:
    Someone You Used To Know (Tim Johnson & Rory Lee Feek)
    The Time Machine (Gary Burr) can’t believe this wasn’t a single
    On the Verge (Hugh Prestwood)
    Not That Different (Karen Taylor-Good & Joie Scott)
    A Mother and Father’s Prayer (a duet with Melissa Manchester written by Melissa & Karen Taylor-Good)
    That’s My Story (Lee Roy Parnell & Tony Haselden) about 9 or 10 years ago I bought a “That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ to It” t-shirt in a Cracker Barrel in Cookeville. It still gets a laugh, sometimes from those too young to remember the song.

    I heard Brandy Clark sing Mama’s Broken Heart 3 years ago at the Bluebird Cafe. I’ll take Brandy’s version over Lambert or Musgraves. The only other ML songs I have are Famous in a Small Town, All Kinds of Kinds, and House That Built Me.

  4. Erik, I agree with you regarding Swift’s two best songs, but I feel like you could have tried harder to tie them to Linda Ronstadt somehow. ;-)

    I am not a Collin Raye fan except for “Little Rock”.

    My favorite Lambert song is “All Kinds of Kinds” with “Over You” and “Dead Flowers” also accounting for a significant number of plays in my iTunes library. I know those latter two were generally not very well-received critically though.

  5. Way too many favourites in Miranda’s catalog – and The Weight of These Wings is not helping, with all these new gems! My personal fave is All Kinds of Kinds, and I applaud Ran for making it a single. It didn’t fare well on radio, but it’s got one of those messages that need to be heard.

    As for Taylor, I’m an unabashed fan of her tween-ier songs – Change, and Long Live.

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