Single Review: LeAnn Rimes, “How to Kiss a Boy”

“How to Kiss a Boy”
LeAnn Rimes

Written by Barry Dean and Lori McKenna

This song is absolutely gorgeous, and so is LeAnn Rimes’ tender and vulnerable reading of it.

I’m a broken record on this, but I’ll say it again. The best way to close the quality deficit at country radio is for artists to embrace the best songwriters of today – Lori McKenna, Brandy Clark, Jason Isbell – and mainstream their incredible songs. It’s a formula for success that has always worked, as far back as when Patsy Cline and Faron Young were covering Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings was doing a full LP of Billy Joe Shaver tunes.

Full credit to Rimes for seeking out a flawless McKenna song and pairing her incomparable vocal talent with it. A story of first love gone wrong in three acts, “How to Kiss a Boy” captures the innocence so beautifully that even the listener’s innocence is a little bit shattered when deceit rears its ugly head and the kiss of first love becomes a kiss of desperate, unwarranted forgiveness…and then one of goodbye.

Country music, country radio, country powers that be…please rediscover LeAnn Rimes. She’s not who you remember. She’s a fully developed artist now and her voice would elevate the genre if it could only be heard again.  Start here.

Grade: A


  1. Another great song. The ladies should rule country music. Favorite Rimes song has been “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way” (Tammi Kidd & John Kennedy) but this McKenna-Dean song rivals it.

  2. That radio has shunned Rimes, even as she has been doing career-best work that I’d claim is far better than what the overwhelming majority of her contemporaries are doing, is perhaps the best example of the genre’s inherent sexism.

    Yes, her social media presence can be divisive at times, and, yes, she was involved in a widely publicized bit of marital infidelity. But there are a couple of good ol’ boys who have done exactly the same types of things that Rimes has been vilified for, yet they’ve continued to rack up hit after hit with material that doesn’t come close to the quality of what Rimes has released for going on a decade now.

    This is a terrific single– as was her cover of Brandi Carlile’s “The Story” from earlier this year– from someone whose early work I honestly didn’t care for much at all but who has become one of my favorite artists.

  3. Yes! LeAnn’s voice is at its best. I am crazy about how rich her lower register is. As for country radio, they disappoint me for the most part.

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