Six Pack: Mindy McCready

Early last week, I saw the traffic for this blog skyrocket. I was puzzled when I saw that this was due to more than 10,000 views in one day of an old Kellie Pickler single review. Bewildered, I dug a little deeper and found that the visitors had come here after searching for Mindy McCready, who I had mentioned as an aside in the review.

Now, I don’t care for gossip and scandal, and I wish all those visitors were coming here because they were interested in Mindy McCready’s music. So I’m using McCready to kick off a new feature: Six Pack. In each Six Pack, six essential singles or tracks will be featured by an artist or on a particular theme.

Mindy McCready made some great music back in her day, and I look forward to hearing more from her. Quite frankly, she deserves to be known by her work, not her personal life. Check out these six solid moments from her career and you’ll see what I mean.

Guys Do it All The Time
from the 1996 album Ten Thousand Angels

McCready’s signature hit found her channeling the girl power spirit of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine”, which had been a #1 single the previous year. She turns the double standard on its head, dismissing her annoyed partner’s anger that she’d been out too late. The cheeky record was praised by no less a great than Reba McEntire, who said that she wished she was the one who could sing that song every night.

Maybe He’ll Notice Her Now
from the 1996 album Ten Thousand Angels

Maybe it was a bad omen for the future that this was the only one of four singles from her debut album to miss the top ten. She plays against the young and perky image she’d already established with her first two singles here. Her sincere vocal makes this ballad shine, as she compares herself to a painting in the hallway that goes by unnoticed by her man, just like she feels she is. Richie McDonald from Lonestar contributes harmony vocals.

The Other Side of This Kiss
from the 1997 album If I Don’t Stay the Night

A perfectly crafted pop-country song. It builds steadily, starting with only a hint of instrumentation, gaining momentum during the bridge and exploding into a candy-sweet chorus. It’s one of her most confident and forceful vocal performances. When country radio didn’t embrace this, they missed out on a gem.

If I Don’t Stay the Night
from the 1997 album If I Don’t Stay the Night

McCready earned a strong following among young girls with her debut album, which was perfectly tailored for a youthful market. When recording her second set, she said she was thinking about her responsibilities to that audience, and she wanted to get a message out to those young girls who were listening. She did so with this track, which finds a young girl being pressured into sex before she’s ready, and wondering “will the rain wash our love away if I don’t stay the night?”

All I Want is Everything
from the 1999 album I’m Not So Tough

It’s hard to go wrong with a Matraca Berg song, especially one drenched with fiddles. A wish list of a self-proclaimed greedy girl, McCready turns in a list of demands both emotional and material. After all, she sings, “I don’t need me a big ol’ diamond, but baby I’ll take it if you insist.”

from the 2002 album Mindy McCready

McCready previewed her only Capitol album with this evocative pop-flavored ballad. She practically whispers the verses, as if singing out of the corner of her mouth, before letting out a wail on the chorus. A hit that should have been but wasn’t. Don’t be surprised if Faith Hill or Sara Evans turn it into a smash sometime in the future.


  1. It is so funny to see this here tonight, my husband brought her up on the drive home tonight. And I said that I would rather she be remembered for the music that she produced than for her drug and alcohol issues, or current statments of having an affair with a baseball player.

    I always liked her voice, and the way that she was able to make me feel the songs that she was singing.

    There are so many artists like her, that deserve to be remembered for the music that they put out, not for other things that they did.

  2. Mindy McCready had a niche in country music when she started. However, like some acts, she had problems hanging onto it, but it wasn’t because of her music. I remember hearing her new music and wondering why people weren’t playing it like they did the music from her debut album. I actually own her debut album and it’s good music. It was the typical late 90s music that even to this day still sounds good. Unfortunately, her personal problems made it hard for her to “stay in the game” the way she had before. Maybe she’ll make the comeback and have well received music on the radio again.

  3. Saw a documentary not that long ago all about Nashville and during the Women in Country segment, Mindy played a huge part. I never really had an opinion on her before but after watching this I have never seen someone so determined to sabotage their own career. Not showing up for events, getting a bad reputation with radio DJ’s and just having an overall attitude that she was to be treated as a bigger star then she really was. Was also interesting to see her follow the advice of then boyfriend Dean Cain instead of the people who actually knew what they were doing. You could tell back then how absolutely frustrated Joe Galante was with her and trying to help but she was too busy running off to Hollywood.

    I think her attitude was behind her lack of sustaining a career long before all the other personal problems.

  4. “All I Want is Everything” is one of the best examples of pop-country done right because it isn’t a complete embarassment to either of those respective genres.

    Berg’s songwriting, as always, shows a keen awareness of genre conventions (the use of relatively plain, straightforward language, in particular, is one of her real strengths as a writer), while McCready’s exaggerated drawl and the choice of those aggressive fiddles as the lead instrument keep the single grounded in country. Compare this to any of Faith Hill’s hits from the same timeframe and there’s no mistaking which one actually resembles country music.

    But the way the piano kicks in in the b-section and then the percussion takes the lead on the hook after the rest of the instruments drop out? Textbook pop production. If not for the cheesy crowd noises (the single’s lone flaw, and a relatively minor one I’m inclined to forgive anyway), I’d say it’s a damn near perfect single. As is, it’s easily one of my favorite mainstream country singles from the last 10 years– which isn’t intended as the faint praise it might sound like.

    Of the other five singles here, only “The Other Side of This Kiss” works in the same inspired, pretty rare kind of way– Keith Urban and Carlene Carter have managed to pull off “pop-country” in a way that I can get behind, but there aren’t a huge number of other acts who’ve consistently shown a demonstration of why some things work as “country” and why some things work as “pop” and how it’s possible to make those things work together.

    I think her best work is the result of top-notch production, but when she was really on, McCready was definitely an underappreciated singles artist– which makes her an ideal choice to kick off this feature.

  5. FWIW, I found my way here, yes, because of her entanglement in the Roger Clemens debacle, but to learn about who Mindy McCready is/was now that she’s been dragged once again into the mess by the FBI.

    So, thank you, for putting together this six-pack. I wasn’t much of a fan with the Nashville machine creations of country music that ran roughshod from the 70s into the 90s, but I am paying a little bit more attention to it now that Nashville seems to be pulling its head out of its ass. And, yes, let’s hope Mindy does something musically and has better luck with men in the future. While I am sure she doesn’t want to be remembered for this legal soap opera, some of us can chose to remember her for her music. I seem to remember a girlfriend loving “The Other Side of This Kiss”, which is where I’m going to start. Thank you.

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