Cheating songs, once so commonplace on country radio, are now relegated to near-nostalgia. When Sugarland introduced the airwaves to their award-winning ballad, “Stay,” the industry marveled at the success of a song predicated on such a tawdry topic. On her new single, Jewel neatly hints at the passions related to cheating and all of its immediacy and emotion, but with no moral crimes committed.
The premise is simple: A married couple lights the lover’s flame as they steal away time from life’s endless pressures. She begs him to stir the fires until their tryst leaves them feel like two cheaters lost in temptation. One of the most country-sounding songs on her album Perfectly Clear, it finds Jewel (with a sultry vocal performance) pleading to her man to move quickly and meet the moment of temptation. An ode to an almost-dangerous desire, it’s an oddly sweet sentiment that drives with a clear passion.
Tales of infidelity are few and far between on the commercial scene, but much welcomed. And although it’s not a cheating song, Jewel’s “‘Til It Feels Like Cheating” gives us a taste of the yearning associated with such an act. It’s a passionate performance and song that’s sorely needed in the genre.
Written by Lisa Carver and Liz Rose
Listen: ‘Til It Feels Like Cheating
Buy: ‘Til It Feels Like Cheating
It's hard not to get a little excited over Melissa Lawson's win last night. Granted, Nashville Star hasn't been producing hitmakers by the dozen, but some truly talented artists have gotten their start on the show. Miranda Lambert is the most obvious example, and while Buddy Jewell had a handful of hits, I think the strongest male artist to emerge from the show so far has been Chris Young.
Lawson's getting a lot of press because she doesn't fit the “young and perky” mold that has been so popular with the gatekeepers at radio and the record labels. The deck is always stacked against female artists anyway, and it seems to be harder whe
n you're a little bit older and can't be mistaken for a pinup girl.
Country fans have voted Lawson in, and hopefully she'll be given a fair shot by radio. Country audiences aren't nearly as shallow as the label execs that pander to them, and the loyalty commanded by female artists who put substance over style runs very deep.
Lawson's got an awesome voice, strong stage presence and actually looks like a real person. She reminds me of what Joe Galante said about K.T. Oslin, which was along the lines of: “I don't care what anyone says. I think she's one of the sexiest women I've ever seen.”
Sure, there will be juvenile snickering and cheap shots taken by those who never matured past middle school. But there women and girls who are on the receiving end of similar comments all the time, surrounded by images in the media that reinforce those negative sentiments. The victory of Melissa Lawson last night was a victory for them, too.
It’s interesting that Jewel’s official second country effort, “I Do”, sounds less country than some of her songs on previous albums that were not specifically marketed as country music. While sounds of steel guitar can be detected, its distinct eighties pop flavor is difficult to ignore.
With that said, this song of tentative commitment is redeemed by a catchy melody and Jewel’s usual fine and interesting vocal performance.
Written by Jewel
Listen: I Do
Buy: I Do
Love it. Intelligent, sincere and just plain well-written. I don’t know that Jewel is going to find that country music is any friendlier to smart women than the pop scene that she left behind, but she sounds more comfortable as a singer here than she ever did as a pop artist.
It’s so rare to have a song where the protagonist is actually interesting while still being fully believable. She sounds like an intelligent woman who is trying to figure out why she’s been compromising herself for so long.
Written by Marv Green & Jewel
Listen: Stronger Woman
Buy: Stronger Woman