I was less than generous to this group’s Bon Jovi-lite (and that’s some serious lite) debut, “Runaway,” but damn if its infectious melody didn’t weasel into my brain anyway. Not unlike Lady Antebellum and Gloriana, Love and Theft show a real aptitude for sugary AC-pop melodies wrapped up in slick harmonies, with their only major recorded weakness being their bland, somewhat vacuous lyrics.
Can’t say that I’m loving country music in its 2009 version, though my steadfast allegiance to the genre runs deep, so I hold out hope as a new decade is about to begin. Tonight, I’m recommending ten tracks from albums that were released this year. I’ve avoided singles so there’s some sense of discovery. I look forward to discovering music that I missed through the comments!
Recommend Ten Tracks: 2009 Edition
Lorrie Morgan, “I’m Always On a Mountain When I Fall” from A Moment in Time
I love the effect that was created by having this album recorded live in the studio. It’s like hearing her in a smoky nightclub. This is by far my favorite track on the album, a loser’s lament that was quite worthy of revival.
Aaron Tippin, “Prisoner of the Highway” from In Overdrive
Lyric Street really seems to lead the pack in terms of “country” acts who don’t sound particularly “country”, huh?
Their new rising act on imprint Carolwood is another three-piece boy band who sound like they paid a lot of attention to 80’s pop-rock and care deeply about the inner yearnings of suburban girls between the ages of 11 and 17. If you’re like me, you’ll play the first two seconds of this and marvel that it’s climbing the same charts that once featured the late Vern Gosdin.
But alright, I’ll admit it’s a catchy little thing. I don’t know that music gets a whole lot blander than this – even in fantasizing about ditching town and a paying job, they still sound as safe and neutered as can be – but it’s competent, pleasant pop-rock whose only real artistic fault is just that it’s not nearly as edgy or exciting as it would clearly like to be.