Sometimes, just one word is enough to convey a message or intention. When a song has a one-word title, it usually either captures the intent of the song or the most memorable part of the song. What are some of your favorite one-word songs? Here’s my list: Waylon Jennings, “America” Ashley Monroe, “Pony” Brandy Clark, “Hungover” Alan Jackson, “Chattahoochee Johnny Cash, “Hurt”
Because turnabout is always fair play! What is your least favorite song from each of your favorite albums? Here’s my list: Dixie Chicks, “Tortured, Tangled Hearts” (Home) Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Stones in the Road” (Stones in the Road) Trisha Yearwood, “You Don’t Have to Move That Mountain” (Hearts in Armor) Brandy Clark, “Illegitimate Children” (12 Stories) Tim McGraw, “Just Be Your Tear” (Live Like You Were Dying)
“Sugar” Jennifer Nettles Written by Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon, and Jennifer Nettles A remarkable performance elevates an unremarkable song. If “Sugar” given a perfunctory performance by a lesser vocalist, I might not enjoy it at all. It’s a bit fluffy, especially for a Brandy Clark co-write. The chorus is a tad repetitive, and I’m tempted to poke a stick at its use of the “sugar and spice and everything nice” cliché.
Reba McEntire Love Somebody This is the strongest album Reba McEntire has released in more than twenty years. Listening to Love Somebody is hearing a legend of the genre rediscover her own voice. She’s always been an excellent singer, but after making her name as both a heartbreak queen and the common folk’s Everywoman, she had tremendous difficulty navigating the post-Shania Twain landscape of female empowerment anthems.
The fiftieth annual Academy of Country Music Awards air tonight, and Country Universe has you covered! Here’s a rundown of all of the major categories, along with some commentary from our writers about who should win, who will, and what the nominations as a whole say about the current state of country music. Share your thoughts about this year’s show in the comments, and check back for a list of winners when it’s all said and done. Update: Join the CU crew on Twitter (@CountryUniverse) during the show to share your thoughts as things unfold! Entertainer of the Year Should Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks – Jonathan Luke Bryan – Sam Florida-Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Ben, Kevin Will Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Jonathan, Ben, Sam, Kevin BF: I think Lambert is due, but I could get on board with a Read More
“I Cheated on You” Terri Clark Written by Brent Anderson, Brandy Clark, and Forrest Whitehead “I Cheated on You” is likely to be the best country single of 2015 that barely gets heard south of the Canadian border. Terri Clark’s latest single is perfectly structured, has an edge that can come only with maturity, and tells such an obvious country cheating tale that it’s amazing that it’s never been told this way before.
“Biscuits” Kacey Musgraves Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves If you’re already a fan of Kacey Musgraves, you’ve heard most of this before. “Biscuits” combines elements of “Follow Your Arrow” and “The Trailer Song”, advocating being yourself and minding your own business. Even the arrangement is a souped-up take on “Arrow”, with more of a beat and quite a few more instrumental flourishes.
“Little Toy Guns” Carrie Underwood Written by Chris DeStefano, Hillary Lindsey, and Carrie Underwood With her latest single, Carrie Underwood once again reaffirms that she is among the best and most compelling artists of modern country music. A depiction of verbal and emotional abuse on an epic scale, “Little Toy Guns” captures a truth not often talked about: that domestic violence can wound and scar without ever once raising a hand or breaking the skin, and can cause lasting collateral damage beyond even its intended target.
In early February, Zac Brown Band kicked off a brief cycle of Twitter Outrage when they performed a cover of Jason Isbell’s “Dress Blues,” which they are rumored to have cut for their upcoming album, during a high-profile ESPN gig. Some of Isbell’s devoted fans were livid that a mainstream country performer had covered Isbell’s song, insisting that it should be Isbell with the multi-platinum stats and sold-out arena tours. There’s something to that line of thinking, of course: Were commercial music a strict meritocracy, then Isbell would be an international superstar on the strengths of his one-of-a-kind songwriting and intuitive, soulful singing. Isbell, to his credit, responded to the uproar with a level-headed and fundamentally correct statement about how people who clamor for more substance in mainstream country shouldn’t be attacking artists who are interested in cutting songs like “Dress Blues.”