“35 MPH Town”
Written by Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson
Toby Keith revisits one of his most successful ongoing themes – life in a dying small town.
In this case, he lays the blames the pending death on a lack of religion and strict discipline in the lives of today’s youth.
It’s a different approach for him, as usually he talks about the collapse of economic opportunity leading to the downfall of small town America. That’s lingering under the surface, of course, but not his primary focus here.
Written by Nathan Chapman, Blair Daly, Kiefer Thompson, and Shawna Thompson
Dude really loves his car. Like, the way Sam Winchester loves his car.
“Trans Am” has a lot of energy and it’s a credit to Thompson Square that they don’t get lost in the shuffle of a very busy production.
Today, we kick off a new feature: Daily Top Five. Every day, one of our writers will post their top five picks for a given category, and invite readers to share their own lists in the comments. This idea was
ripped off from inspired by the film Top Five.
Since this is the first entry, today’s topic is First Favorites – your top five songs that got you into country music.
- John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night”
- Reba McEntire, “For My Broken Heart”
- Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”
- Pam Tillis, “Maybe it Was Memphis”
- Dwight Yoakam, “It Only Hurts When I Cry”
What’s your top five?
“Let it Go”
Written by Keith Gattis, Bubba Strait, and George Strait
George Strait is country music’s Frank Sinatra.
What he does looks effortless and spawns countless imitators, but none of them can actually replicate what makes him special.
“Crash and Burn”
Written by Jesse Frasure and Chris Stapleton
Thomas Rhett’s new single has backup vocals blatantly ripped off from the Sam Cooke classic, “Chain Gang.”
I repeat: Thomas Rhett’s new single has backup vocals blatantly ripped off from the Sam Cooke classic, “Chain Gang.”
“Hard to Be Cool”
Written by Rob Hatch and Jason Sellers
I’m always rooting for Joe Nichols. He’s got a smooth twang, two qualities that usually don’t go together. He’s made some solid music over the years, too.
What gets him in trouble is his strange tendency toward songs that walk the line between clever and corny. He seems to be drawn to songs that come up with an interesting concept, but never get around to building a compelling song around it.
“I Cheated on You”
Written by Brent Anderson, Brandy Clark, and Forrest Whitehead
“I Cheated on You” is likely to be the best country single of 2015 that barely gets heard south of the Canadian border.
Terri Clark’s latest single is perfectly structured, has an edge that can come only with maturity, and tells such an obvious country cheating tale that it’s amazing that it’s never been told this way before.
Written by J.T. Harding, Josh Osborne, and Trevor Rosen
This is Shelton’s best single an a good long while.
It’s smooth and seductive, without sounding overly coy or even the least bit tacky. The Sangria angle is used well both literally and figuratively, and the lyrics are creative enough that they don’t run the concept into the ground.
“Tonight Looks Good on You”
Written by Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, and Ashley Gorley
Great artists start trends, and when everybody else is catching up to what they started, they’ve already moved on to something fresh.
Jason Aldean is not a great artist.
“Hell of a Night”
Written by Jaron Boyer, Zach Crowell, and Adam Sanders
I’m starting to believe that the “bro-country” movement doesn’t even exist, and it’s really just an attempt to ascribe meaning to a trend as old as Music City itself: lazy songwriting.