After the comparatively euphoric “Let it Go,” George Strait’s new single captures the same “take it as it comes” attitude toward life, but this time with somber resignation as the dominant feeling.
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.
New Zealand’s Tami Neilson made some inroads with US country audiences with 2014’s extraordinary Dynamite!, and “Lonely,” the first single from her upcoming follow-up, Don’t Be Afraid, is an exquisite throwback of a record that mines a real sense of heartbreak from its subtlety and restraint.
It’s rare that something comes along that manages to be both so inept in its execution and so appalling in its context and implications that it’s hard to know where even to begin to dissect its failings.
Its title is lifted from a bumper sticker, and the song itself offers just as much depth.
While it can be tempting to give a free pass to an artist who sounds identifiably country, the fact is a good country song does not live on steel guitar alone.
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.”
“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.”
“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.