“Roots and Wings”
Written by Miranda Lambert
That’s right. Miranda’s so much on her game right now that a song written for a truck commercial outclasses most of the competition.
This isn’t entirely unprecedented in country music. Dottie West wrote “Country Sunshine” for Coca-Cola, and even though it became a signature hit for her, she still tweaked the lyrics for maximum product placement.
Written by John King, Matt Rogers, and Justin Wilson
Randy Houser released one of my favorite debut singles back in 2008. I wrote back then that he sounded like a young Ronnie Dunn.
He still sounds like Ronnie Dunn, but now he sounds like him when he was phoning in rave-ups during the latter days of Brooks & Dunn.
Written by Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley, Hunter Hayes, and Kelly Lovelace
Back in the days of cassettes, a faulty player would run the tape through a little too fast. It made the beat quicker and the singer’s voice a bit higher.
“21” sounds like Keith Urban album filler played on one of those faulty cassette players. He’s an Urban LP at 45 speed.
“Kick the Dust Up”
Written by Dallas Davidson, Chris DeStefano, and Ashley Gorley
I actually kinda like Luke Bryan. But I still hated this song before the first twenty seconds were up.
He sounds like he’s deliberately dimming his own talents, trying to get down to the Jason Aldean level when he’s got the chops to strive for Conway Twitty.
“That Don’t Sound Like You”
Written by Rhett Akins, Lee Brice, and Ashley Gorley
I really like Lee Brice. He’s got an interesting voice, and his phrasing is always original. It’s like he sneaks up behind his notes and surprises them.
“That Don’t Sound Like You” succeeds purely on Brice’s merits as a vocal stylist. The song itself is iffy.
“I’m Comin’ Over”
Written by Corey Crowder, Josh Hoge, and Chris Young
He’s still got a great voice, and that’s still giving him the confidence to keep the production flourishes in check.
So “I’m Comin’ Over” is identifiably country and not unpleasant to listen to. That’s already enough to be in the upper tier of country radio singles in 2015.
From reader Kuzco, today’s Top Five is songs that made you cry.
Here are my Top Five Tear Jerkers:
- Lori McKenna, “Still Down Here”
- Alan Jackson, “Blue Ridge Mountain Song”
- Collin Raye, “Love, Me”
- Reba McEntire, “If I Had Only Known”
- Sugarland, “Very Last Country Song”
“Love is Your Name”
Written by Lindsey Lee and Eric Paslay
When word came out that Tyler was releasing a country album, the first thing that came to mind — at least in my mind — was “cash grab.” After all, rock & roll is more endangered than the rhinoceros, and pop has become the playground for young hip-hop and EDM influenced singers. Where else is the 67-year-old frontman of Aerosmith going to get played on the radio?
“Buy Me a Boat”
Written by Chris DuBois and Chris Janson
It’s about time that Eric Church’s sound started showing up on other people’s records.
Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat” is lyrically something you would’ve expected from Alan Jackson back in the day. He’d have done it with a goofy smile. Janson does it with the same amount of twang, but it sounds like he’s grimacing instead of grinning.
Written by Chris Stapleton
With all of the lamenting that many of us do regarding mainstream country music, those of us who are practical are aware of the conflict of knowing that the songs that we would choose to be played on radio must at least maintain a balance of quality songwriting and sounding country while still being accessible to a mainstream audience, which is what much of nineties country music did so well.