Single Reviews

Single Review: Jon Pardi, “Head Over Boots”

September 12, 2015 // 7 Comments

Aside from people who don’t mind that country music doesn’t sound like country music anymore, one of the common complaints that we get for our criticism of the current major country music players is that we’re expecting too much and that not every song has to be deep and meaningful.

Single Review: The Band Perry, “Live Forever”

August 27, 2015 // 16 Comments

The review contrasting “Live Forever” with “If I Die Young” writes itself. Vulnerable sincerity versus bombastic arrogance. Mortality versus immortality. Acoustic country versus amped up rock. By every measurable standard, “Live Forever” is the polar opposite of “If I Die Young.”

Single Review: Ashley Monroe, “The Blade”

August 26, 2015 // 19 Comments

“The Blade” sets a new standard for breakup songs.

The title track from Ashley Monroe’s terrific new album is built around a brilliant metaphor.

Singing as the jilted lover, Monroe tells her ex, “You caught it by the handle/ And I caught it by the blade.”

Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”

August 21, 2015 // 24 Comments

“Smoke Break” is a remarkably good attempt at a working class anthem. It’s so stylistically different from the “rah rah, let’s party this weekend” approach that has made drinking synonymous with adolescent behavior in modern country music.

Single Review: Kacey Musgraves, “Dime Store Cowgirl”

August 10, 2015 // 10 Comments

“Dime Store Cowgirl” Kacey Musgraves Written by Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves Despite a slew of industry awards and sales figures that dwarf those of male artists who receive ten times the airplay, Kacey Musgraves has yet to connect with country radio. Plenty of thinkpieces have been logged about #SaladGate, Musgraves’ social mores, and the disconnections between critical favor, sales, and radio’s callout research, but there are increasing murmurs that it is Musgraves’ refusal to play politics with the powers-that-be at radio that has kept all but one of her singles (“Merry Go Round,” her debut single and lone top 10 hit) from missing the top 20. This is hardly a new phenomenon, and it is, unfortunately, indicative of contemporary gender politics both within and beyond country music that Musgraves might be penalized for not behaving in the ways that a woman is expected to behave. That context Read More

Single Review: Luke Bryan, “Strip it Down”

August 8, 2015 // 16 Comments

“Strip it Down” Luke Bryan Written by Luke Bryan, Ross Copperman and Jon Nite How many ways are there to say that a song doesn’t sound remotely country? I wish I knew of a few more, because I’ve been having to make this most common criticism for so long now that I feel like there is no new or creative way to say it anymore.

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