Single Review: Sunny Sweeney, “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving”

This is going to be an unfair criticism, but here it goes.

“Staying’s Worse Than Leaving” is an awesome song.  As good as anything I’ve heard lately in terms of lyrics.  Mature, realistic, insightful. It’s good stuff.

The production is effective in that “stay out of the way of the song” kind of way, as it is on so many great country records.

It’s so good that it’s something I could imagine a nineties woman singing…which makes Sunny Sweeney’s delivery sound disappointing in comparison.

It’s not that she doesn’t sing it competently.  But given that this sounds like something that Patty Loveless, or Pam Tillis, or Trisha Yearwood, or even Sara Evans could’ve knocked out of the park, I can’t help but be just a little disappointed.

So, one of the best songs of the year, without a doubt.  But still a little disappointing, for reasons beyond the control of anyone involved.

Written by Jay Clementi, Radney Foster and Sunny Sweeney

Grade: B+

Listen: Staying’s Worse Than Leaving


  1. I like the song and bought it on i-Tunes a few days ago. But I absolutely agree with your point. She’s no Trisha, Patty or Pam (or for me, Suzy). She gets points from reviewers for being country as does Miranda, another female vocalist who can’t compare to the ’90’s ladies you mentioned.

  2. Can’t say I disagree with the basic point. (Where I differ: good song, not quite “awesome” for me, and I could hear Pam or Sara on it but not really Trisha or Patty.) Sunny clearly has talent as a songwriter and modern-country stylist; hopefully she’ll keep developing a distinct “vocal identity,” too. Right now it’s kind of like hearing a declawed Natalie Maines – not bad, but a little demo-ish.

  3. I think Sara or Patty could definitely do the best with this song. With the mention of Natalie Maines, I have a feeling this would’ve fit within the Chicks’ catalog.

  4. Good song; here’s hoping she gets some good airplay with it, maybe we can push out some of the more questionable “country” music on the radio.

    Interesting points you make though….I could see this easily as a Sara Evans song.

  5. I love this one not as much as “From A Table Away” mind you, but this is one of my favorite singles in a long time. I don’t have a problem with the way she sings it either, though give it to Pam and I could see her really knocking it out of the park.

  6. …it’s such a good song that i can understand the thought of what some of the great female vocalists could have done with it.

    nevertheless, i really enjoy sunny sweeny’s sort of “casual approach” to the material she tackles – the woman surely is no drama queen and that’s good news in my book.

  7. I think Sunny does a fine job on this record, so I disagree. I mean, it’s her song, so I don’t think that anyone else could do it better. I think this is probably THE best song of the year, and I hope that it does very well on radio.

  8. Sunny does an amazing job with this song. She’s quickly becoming my favorite vocalist. Maybe it’s because she sounds so much like Natalie Maines.

    I still think “From A Table Away” is a better song, though. This one doesn’t grab me as much although it is fantastic.

  9. So Natalie Maines. haha. Okay, that’s not a bad thing because the song really rocks. While Miranda is yet to release a single which is too safe for radio, I’m gonna listen to this one.

  10. @ Leeann, I didn’t notice how much this sounds like Radney until you said it, nice call. Seeing as he co-wrote it though it shouldn’t be all that surprising, but still I didn’t realize even the production sounds like his stuff.

  11. This song is so great. It’s even better than “From A Table Away.”

    I think that she sounds a lot like Natalie Maines, a definite compliment.

  12. I think Sunny sounds a lot more like Miranda Lambert than Natalie Maines. And I think, “From a Table Away” is much better than this song, but jmho.

  13. I will say that I love the curl in her voice when she sings “Ahh know” (in the last line of the chorus – “Ahh know stayin’s worse than leavin'”). You can really hear a determination in those two words – it’s kinda sexy.

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