2011 Singles: A Wish List

The bulk of our work at Country Universe this month has been catching up on singles currently at radio.  Collectively, they’ve been abysmal, with review grades rarely reaching a B, let alone an A.

How can we turn this around? Here are five songs that I’d love to see sent to radio tomorrow.  Share your own in the comments!

Zac Brown Band, “Let it Go”

A dizzying dose of positivity, with a few great musical twists to boot.  The Serenity Prayer never sounded so good.

Court Yard Hounds, “Ain’t No Son”

The only truly country song on their album. The only truly great song on their album.

Toby Keith, “In a Couple of Days”

It’s easy to take Keith for granted, so consistent are his vocals and song structures.  Usually, its his lyrics that trip him up. It’s his heartbroke ballads, like this gem, that showcase his talent best.

Reba McEntire, “The Day She Got Divorced”

Country singers used to sing about people like this all the time.  Flawed anti-heroines like this don’t come along too often anymore.

Carrie Underwood, “Change”

I suspect those with more refined tastes than mine are clamoring for “Someday When I Stop Loving You”, an admittedly beautiful ballad, but this is the track I’m returning to the most from Play On. I think it captures the nagging cynicism that prevents many of us from fully embracing our inner benevolence.


  1. I like the more upbeat stuff on Reba’s album much better than “The Day She Got Divorced,” so I’d rather see “The Bridge You Burn” or “When Love Gets a Hold of You” get released. As for Carrie, I guess “Change” is okay, but I think the title track from “Play On” is an awesome song and would be a great final single from the album.

  2. Dan I disagree with you on Carrie. I think that its the worst song on the album and is trying to hard to be a Martina song. My personal choices would be either “Someday When I Stop Loving You” or “Songs Like This”. As for other people my only requests are Taylor’s “Sparks Fly” (it’s a guilty pleasure of mine), Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila” (because I love me Matraca Berg, and Deana for that matter) and for a comdeic song Billy Currington’s “Like My Dog”

  3. I’ve kinda gotten over “Someday When I Stop Loving You” anyway, so I’d be content with whatever from that album. I think the fullness of Carrie’s voice matched with the spare production makes the song sound a lot deeper and more interesting than it really is.

    Anyway, love these choices. I’ll throw in Little Big Town’s “Rain on a Tin Roof,” though “Shut Up Train” and “All the Way Down” would make good picks, too. Also agree with “Sparks Fly” for Taylor Swift.

  4. “Ain’t No Son” is great, but I think “It Didn’t Make A sound” is one of my favorites on the album. It’s quirky, catchy and sounds more country than “Ain’t No Son” to me. Then again, I also love “Fear of Wasted Time” and it seems that a lot of people think it’s kind of boring.

    “Notes from the Coroner” would be awesome too.

    I’m going to come back with my wish list.

  5. “Ain’t No Son” and “The Day She Got Divorced” are high on my list.

    I’d love to see Underwood’s “What Can I Say” or “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” I never warmed up to “Change,” I don’t think it was well executed in terms of production.

    For LBT- “Shut Up Train” or “Rain On A Tin Roof.”

    Otherwise, there’s nothing that comes to mind, unfortunately.

  6. Good list, but I’d like to include The Band Perry’s “Postcard from Paris” to the list. It’s my favorite song on the album and would be a great single. It’s probably the best written song on the album too so that’s a plus.

  7. I really wish Brad and Carrie, one or both, would re-record or somehow issue their duet Oh Love as a single. I was really surprised when it never got released on Brad’s album; I think it’s a song that could really carry far on the charts not just because of the name value in the duet but because of the actual song itself.

    As for realistic hopes, I’d like to hear The Band Perry’s All You Life released and if it is too much to ask, Kenny Chesney & George Jones Small Yall. That would probably chart well anyway as it’s a good song with a theme that connects well to its audience.

  8. Best song of last year,would be good if it would be a hit this year:Little big town – shut up train. Amazing.
    Hopefully Faith Hill wil remember she is a singer and finally release a single!

  9. I agree Kevin, “Ain’t No Son” is a great song & the best one on the cd. From everything I’ve read, it sounded like they were holding back some songs they’d written for the Chicks instead. It’s my hope that’s why many of the songs seemed to have some questionable qualities to them. For me, that mostly means poorly written choruses.

    I do like 3 other songs on the album as well,
    1. “Then Again”, lyrically i think it paints the clearest picture on the album
    2. “It Didn’t Make a Sound”, I agree with Leann, this sounds very country to me
    3. “See You in the Spring”, I just think this song’s beautiful, doesn’t say much, but i love it

  10. I was kind of hoping Carrie Underwood (or her label) would release, “Quitter” as the final single from Play On. I liked “Change” but it’s grown thin and I kind of find it annoying. I’m betting they’ll release “Songs Like This” or the duet with Sons of Silvia (“What Can I Say”).

    I also wished, instead of the songs they did release, that MCA would’ve sent “You Got That Something Special” from George Strait’s TWANG album to radio. If any song of his is a sure-fire hit it’s that one. They may still release it, but after four singles, they’ll most likely want to move on to the next album at this point. That was a big missed opportunity.

    I completely agree with “The Day She Got Divorced” – it’s the highlight for me on Reba’s latest album.

    As for Court Yard Hounds, I’m a huge fan of all the songs mentioned. “Ain’t No Son” would make a great single as would “(Delight) Something New Under The Sun” or “It Didn’t Make A Sound” although, if I had to pick, I’d release “Sound.” It’s my favorite from the album and I don’t think radio would go for the lyrical content of “Son.” Plus, “Sound” has been #1 on my Itunes top 25 most played since the album came out last May.

    Also, Leeann, I’m with you on “Fear of Wasted Time.” I love that song! Didn’t Emily write it about her children? It’s very beautiful. (“Time” is number two on my Itunes).

    I’ve heard people say the whole album was boring in comparison to the four major label releases by Dixie Chicks, but I don’t see it. It’s a totally different animal than anything they released with Natalie Maines. It’s mellower for sure, but it’s full of great songs. I do wish they’d record more upbeat songs on the next album, though. Another in the vein of “Son” (musically) wouldn’t have hurt.

  11. Honestly, I love the Courtyard Hounds album. It’s not really country, but I love it for what it is. Emily is not Natalie, but she holds her own as a vocalist, and even more importantly for me, a songwriter. I’m sad that The Chicks haven’t had a new album yet, but there’s a part of me that has been pleased that Emily and Marty were freed up to do this album. I don’t want it to be a recurrent thing, unless it’s along with more Chicks albums, but I’m glad to have their music.

  12. Aint No Son is my on wish list to, I would love to see a video for it. Then Again, musically & lyrically is a gem on the record to.

  13. I gotta tell you that radio singles are pretty thin right now. I am patiently waiting for the new Carrie single (although when there isn’t a current single you get radio playing all her hits a little more which is also great!) My personal favorites left on Play On are Look At Me, Someday When I Stop Loving You and What Can I Say. If they go more up tempo then I think they should go with Quitter (it is so different from anything she has done before) or This Time. I love Change – it is my 12 yr old daughters favorite right now but is it radio friendly? (I thought I Know You Won’t and You Won’t Find Thus were 2 of the best from Carnival Ride but they were never released so I guess I don’t really know what works for radio).

    I have to be honest – I have only bought Darius’s new cd in the past year. I love almost anything he sings. I love Brad, Keith, Toby and Kenny but lately haven’t been inspired enough to spend my $$ on their cds.

  14. BTW, If “The Day She Got Divorced” got released in the 90’s (when Reba was making those epic videos), the video treatment would’ve be really cool… I still think with the right treatment, the video could turn out awesome. It’s the type of song that BEGS for a video to go along with it.

  15. I like “Change,” but I would rather it remain an album track. She needs to release something lyrically strong that can increase her profile. “What Can I Say” or “Someday When I Stop Loving You” would be my picks.

    Singles I’d love to see:

    “Easy”- Rascal Flatts
    “Church Pew and a Barstool”- Jason Aldean
    “You’re Gonna Fly”- Keith Urban

  16. Carrie confirmed that “Someday” won’t be released as a single. At any rate, I’ve lost interest in the Play On era line-up. I’m currently addicted to “Oklahoma Wind”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78ULkuJDAGI

    If Lady Antebellum goes five singles deep on Need You Now, I’d love for “Perfect Day” to be released. I’m also digging Keith Urban’s “You Gonna Fly” at the moment.

  17. Tara,

    Where did you hear Carrie confirm SWISLY won’t be a single?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if “Look At Me” was a single, as the label seems to use her love for country legends as a selling point for radio (see ITYS).

    That said, Artista has released all Carrie’s co-writes thus far this era, so my gut leans towards WCIS. At this point, I’m satisfied if Artista releases anything but “Quitter.”

  18. In a radio interview a few months ago, she said that her favorite tracks on her albums never see the light of day (referring to “Someday” as her favorite).

    She also sort of confirmed that “Look At Me” would not be released as a single. If I’m not mistaken, she’s only sung it once live (at her fan club party) and said afterwards that she would probably never sing it live again as it’s too “mushy”…

  19. I also LOVE Look At Me but had heard that she thought it was too mushy. I guess it depends on the label because there are several possibles left on Play On. Hopefully we will know soon.

  20. “Dear John” by Taylor Swift is as biting of a song as she’s ever written, and her voice sounds robust and full. I hope the songs that Carrie wrote with Ne-Yo come out at some point. Those are probably really good. Miranda Lambert should release “Virginia Bluebell”

  21. While I agree that “Ain’t No Son” is a great single, I don’t think it is the only song on the Court Yard Hounds’ album that is any good, or even “country.” On the other hand, its lyrics do cut right to the bone in smacking down redneck attitudes towards anyone who is gay, lesbian, and homosexual, which probably makes it a no-no for ultra-conservative country radio.

  22. @K – I agree with you about Quitter. I know it’s catchy and bouncy and all, but the lyrics are not that well-written. In my opinion there are better songs left on Play On than this song. It’s kinda polarizing, lol. I really wish they’d release Someday. If not, then What Can I Say would be a good choice also.

    @Kevin & Dan – I was wondering if you’ve already listened to Oklahoma Wind – the Carrie demo not the male singer demo? Initial reaction? Thanks!

  23. I love Carrie’s take on “Neon Moon.” When I first heard it on the B+D special it brought a smile to my face. She is my favorite female country singer currently on the charts because when she’s good, she’s one of the best around

  24. Those covers remind me of KJC’s wish that Underwood would release a 2-CD set of covers, 1 of 80’s power-ballads (ie: “I’ll Stand By You,” “Alone”) and country covers……… what a great idea. : )

  25. Well I’ll second any Court Yard Hounds song, loved the album, “Notes To The Coroner” and “That Train” from Chely Wright. Crystal Bowersox’s “Farmer’s Daughter” needs to be sent to country radio. Elizabeth Cook’s “El Camino” is amazing but doubt it’ll get released. Gary Allan’s “We Fly By Night”. Jamey Johnsons “Even The Skies Are Blue”. Joey+Rory’s “All You Need Is Me”. Little Big Town’s “Shut Up Train”. Marty Stuart’s “Hangman” or “I Run To You” or anything from Ghost Train really. Mary Chapin Carpenter “Holding Up The Sky”. Randy Houser “Lowdown And Lonesome”.

  26. I agree with three of the five, Reba, Toby, and ZBB.

    For Carrie ” Someday When I Stop Loving You” and as for the Court Yard Hounds I really like ” I Miss You”.

    Another one i would like to see is Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila”.

  27. For Jonathan who mentioned “Quitter,” From what I know of the album’s next single, it will be that one.

    As for Reba’s album I like “When You Have A Child” and would think radio might actually play it.

    I think “Until You” should and will be a single from Billy Currington sometime this year.

    “Eggs Over Easy” from Steel Magnolia is strong and “Glass” from Thompson Square’s upcoming album strikes me as well.

    Aldean’s “Fly Over States” should be a single this year too.

  28. Matt B., just curious what exactly you have heard about “Quitter” being the next single? I have also heard that, but at the same time, Wikipedia has “What Can I Say” listed as the next one, not Quitter. So, I don’t think anything is a for sure thing yet..

  29. Agree with Kevin that “Change” would be great, but I kind of doubt it will happen. I was not enthusiastic about “Mama’s Song,” and the lightweight, totally pop “Quitter” will not excite me at all. Carrie says she has indeed said more than once they never release her favorites from her albums, so I am guessing whatever it is, it won’t be “Someday When I Stop Loving You.” I think releasing “What Can I Say?” during the tour with Sons of Sylvia would have made a lot more sense than releasing it now. She had a great 2010. I hope they are wise about the way they start 2011 for Carrie. And I think she is probably at the point where she can (and should) influence the releases more than say two or three years ago.

  30. JoJo, that’s what I saw and heard but I guess nothing definitive has been released yet. I bet Carrie’s pushing for “What I Cannot Say” instead of “Quitter,” which the label may want. What I Cannot Say” features Sons of Sylvia and I know she really wants to help them gain more exposure. The funny thing is despite the more sunny, uptempo vibe of “Quitter,” “What I Cannot Say” might have a better shot at crossover success.

  31. Matt B, I agree that I think What Can I Say would probably have a better shot at crossover success and I do hope this is the next single. Carrie also co-wrote this song and I think it is just a much better song that Quitter. I really hope her label is strongly considering releasing What Can I Say. To me this is a one of the best songs on the Play On album.

  32. Matt,

    Can I ask how you heard “Quitter” will probably be the next single?

    I really hope WCIS is picked though. It could have a greater chance because Artista loves to release Carrie’s co-writes (and the all the singles so far have been co-penned by her), and also that she seems passionate about giving “Sons Of Silvia a push.

    If “Quitter” is released, Artista would have chosen all of the weak singles on the album, and that could be a huge mistake in the long run.

    I know she’s Carrie Underwood, so she could get anything to the top of the charts. But I think she’s in a place where she can afford to release stronger songs without complaint or backlash from radio. Honestly, she’s a decent writer at best, so I really hope she has more control over single releases, and chosing better material now that she is established.

  33. I know that not too long ago, Pandora had Quitter listed as a radio single on Carrie’s page, so that is where the rumor started I think.

  34. I have to add my obligatory plug for Trace Adkins “Between the Rainbows and the Rain” from the deluxe version of his CD. One of my favorite tracks in recent years.

  35. There’s now a circulating rumor Artista is done with the “Play On” era. A few Carrie fans questioned DJ’s, and they both said a new single is coming soon.

    Maybe a new song from “Soul Surfer”, or another project she is working on? I would be shocked if she’s working a new album already, and we probably would’ve heard if she started it by now.

  36. I would be shocked if they were done releasing singles from PO. I think the final single will be “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” and it will be released in early February and performed on the ACM Awards.

  37. Confirmed by Tony Thomas via Twitter–

    Carrie will NOT have a 5th single from “Play On”.
    Crap. There goes “What Can I Say”, gettin’ thrown into the trash… That annoys the heck out of me! They really flubbed the single choices/order of the releases for this era…

    Carrie’s next radio appearance will be off of “a different album”, he confirmed in another tweet. That means it’ll either be a duet or her 4th album, and with her 4th album not due to drop until the final quarter of the year, I’m expecting it to be a duet. Whether it’s one of the duets she’s already confirmed she’s done (Randy Travis, Craig Morgan), or if it’s one she’s been keeping under wraps (Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, and Kelly Clarkson are the two being rumored) is up in the air, but the PO era is over.

  38. Oh, and K –

    Carrie revealed to Ryan Seacrest at the Golden Globes red carpet that starting in February, the next album will be under way.

    It’s such a shame. Carrie and PO itself were on such a high lately. It just got the 2x Platinum certification, “Undo It” crossed the million mark this week and will go Platinum soon, “Temporary Home” just had an enormous push from the American Idol hopeful’s spin on the song, the ACM nominations, the Golden Globe talk, the Oscar buzz (which didn’t turn out great, but she still got tons of buzz), Soul Surfer, the upcoming Grammys (still hoping she gets that performance slot), etc. I don’t know what Arista is thinking. Ending an era that had such high potential on a song that was arguably one of the weakest of Carrie’s entire musical catalog seems pretty stupid to me.

  39. Craig,

    I did see Carrie confirm she is starting work on a new album soon.

    I agree with everything you said about the “Play On” era, too. I thought the album as a whole was solid, and show significant growth from Carrie as a songwriter and singer, despite the misteps in single choices.

    I think neglecting WCIS & SWISLY were two of the biggest mistakes the label could’ve made, and it’s a shame. She could’ve had a huge smash off this album.

    That said, I’m still surprised the label is already moving on. If we’re assuming the label is going by her usual release schedule, we wouldn’t get an album of new material untill fall 2011.

    Even with the possiblity with a few duets and the Soul Surfer soundtrack, this doesn’t seem like enough material to fill the void untill her new album is released.

  40. Leeann,

    Craig confirmed in an interview he is indeed doing a duet with Carrie on his new album.


    I don’t think there was ever any chance of SWISLY being released a single. As Tara mentioned, she said her favorite album tracks have never been released as singles.

    It’s a shame, because I think SWISLY is head-and-shoulders above anything else on the album, and possibly the strongest song and most compelling vocal she’s done thus far.

  41. “Please not Craig Morgan!”

    Seriously. I can’t think of another artist who’s undergone such a bad artistic decline recently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.