“Young & Crazy”
Written by Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley, and Shane McAnally
“Young & Crazy” is like a used car that’s been refurbished by a crack team of mechanics. From a distance, it can look brand new, but get a little closer, and you can see it’s been constructed with spare parts.
“For a Boy”
Written by RaeLynn and Laura Veltz
More childlike than childish, there’s a sweetness to RaeLynn that reminds me of a young Taylor Swift. The talent is there but the life experience is still trailing behind.
“Send It On Down”
Lee Ann Womack
Written by Chris Knight and David Leone
The centerpiece of the excellent The Way I’m Livin’, Lee Ann Womack’s “Send It On Down” is an understated but brilliantly drawn character sketch that is a testament both to Chris Knight’s masterful songwriting and to Womack’s interpretive skill. It’s perhaps the finest single of Womack’s career.
“It Feels Good”
Written by: Derek George, Philip Pence, and Drake White
Its content— what with its talk of layin’ by a riverbank, dippin’ toes in the water, and picking up a carton of smokes— may be all too familiar at this point, but what elevates Drake White’s “It Feels Good” above so many other purely escapist singles it its attention to craft and its casual wit. The lyrical hook is perhaps too simple to stand on its own—and, it’s worth mentioning, resorts to the increasingly common trope of repeating words without adding more meaning— so White and his co-writers make sure that the melody in the chorus is catchy and singalong ready.
Written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, and Jaren Johnston
We’ve reached a point where Billy Currington can release a “Hey girl, let’s get down tonight” anthem and sound like an elder statesman of country music.
“Turn it On”
Eli Young Band
Written by Rodney Clawson, Matt Dragstrem, Mike Eli, and James Young
“Turn it On” is the title track from Eli Young Band’s upcoming EP. It has a lot of energy, if not a particularly good hook.
Maddie & Tae
Written by Taylor Dye, Maddie Marlow and Aaron Scherz
Maddie & Tae made a big, bold, attention grabbing statement with their breakthrough hit “Girl in a Country Song”, which rocked and twanged all the way to number one while laying bare the problems with country music’s treatment of women under the bro-country regime. Wisely, the two women show an entirely different creative side with their second single, showing that they are not one-trick ponies.
“Like a Wrecking Ball”
Written by Casey Beathard and Eric Church
This is a bold single choice. “Like a Wrecking Ball” sounds like nothing on the radio today. Irregular rhythms, a vocal sung out of the corner of his mouth, and a lyric that makes every other love song out there sound like child’s play.
“Raise ‘Em Up”
Keith Urban with Eric Church
Written by Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston and Jeffrey Steele
A collaboration between Keith Urban and Eric Church was bound to have personality and charm, but what the two gentlemen pull off the best is a sense of breezy confidence. None of the bombast that usually occurs when superstars collide is evident here, as it was on “We Were Us.”
Written by Eric Church and Luke Laird
Nostalgia works a lot better when the one indulging in it has put some time and distance between them and the memories.