“Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem” Billy Currington Written by Elizabeth Elkins, Aaron Henningsen, Brian Henningsen, Clara Henningsen, and Vanessa Olivarez What a disappointing letdown from a totally intriguing title. I was hoping for some incisive social commentary a la Amy Schumer’s “Football Town Nights.”
“Burning House” Cam Written by Jeff Bhasker, Cam, and Tyler Johnson Don’t let the stripped down production fool you. “Burning House” sounds refreshing at first because its not taking its cues from eighties hair metal or nineties light rock. Instead, it goes back to AM rock of the early seventies. The confessional kind that Janis Ian and James Taylor cut their teeth on.
“Save it For a Rainy Day” Kenny Chesney Written by Andrew Dorff, Matt Ramsey, and Brad Tursi Okay, now I’m confused. Are you telling me that sometimes people go out and drink because they want to get away from a bad memory? All these party songs of the last few years have transformed drinking from the means to an end into the means and the end.
“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” Keith Urban Written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne A Keith Urban record has a natural floor. Things can only go south so much. He’s got a great voice, he’s an incredible guitar player, and he’s got enough presence on record that it doesn’t really matter what’s going on around him. He never loses control of the proceedings.
“Real Life” Jake Owen Written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne Everclear is one of the few pop bands that I liked in the late 90s/early 2000s. While a lot of their music sounded similar, their grooves were addictive and their tunes were memorable (“A.M. Radio”, Anyone?). As a result of enjoying Everclear, I’ll admit that I actually guiltily enjoy Jake Owen’s “Real Life.”
“Roots and Wings” Miranda Lambert 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.
“We Went” Randy Houser 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.
“21” Hunter Hayes 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.