Just when you think it can't get any worse…..
(Click on the titles to listen)
Snap Judgments - Promo Only Country Radio February 2011
Brad Paisley - This is Country Music
If this song had come out 10 years ago, I might give it a B+. As it stands, this is more of a restating of current country music's (over)recurring themes, than it is a valiant defense of the genre. Thou doth protest too much.
Steel Magnolia - Last Night Again
This sounds like the sequel to Lady A's "Need You Now." They sound good together and this is kinda, sorta something new thematically… I guess.
Aaron Russell - It Don't Get No Better Than This
Sounds like a 90's C-lister. Does this hook even have any gravity these days? For you born after 1980, the title was the tag line for some beer back in the day. Busch I think. This isn't good. Like Busch.
Guy Penrod - Pray About Everything
I already know what the chorus is going to say before it gets here. I was right. Oh wait, this is a Luke Bryan song too… and he did a much better job with it. This should scrape the top 60 before dropping off the chart. Good message, just a flat performance.
Alabama - Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way
My prejudices were proved wrong here. This is a decent cover of the Waylon classic. A little pointless since it's no kind of retooling or different direction, but it's more solid than I expected. Randy sounds a little tired, but other than that, few complaints.
Kid Rock - Born Free
This is no snap judgment since I've heard this song many times already. I thought it was a pretty dull take on Bob Seger at first, but it's grown on me. Kid Rock does okay with this classic rock sound. The line "if you can't see my heart, you must be blind" irks me, despite my comprehension of metaphor. If a metaphor makes you focus on its literal meaning, it's not effective. However, I hate this song way less than I should.
Crossin Dixon - Goodbye to Henry
Another 90's redux song, but this kicks Aaron Russell's ass. These guys play around here all the time, so they can't be very good though. This is the best Montgomery Gentry song in years…but they had no part in it. Not bad, not bad. Most honest angle on the death of a friend to hit country radio (though it probably won't) in a while.
Miranda Lambert - Heart Like Mine
This girl's got balls. A lot of reviews have stated that this was a safe single release. I don't agree. Mentioning how Jesus drank wine is not "safe" in my neck of the woods. That could get you excommunicated from the Baptist church, friends and Larry Lee agrees. I don't just love this song, but it's strong… Miranda should spread the wealth a little. She gets all the "chick songs" with any weight.
Rascal Flatts - I Won't Let Go
Even thought I've already read CM's positive review, I won't let him influence my snark. If I haven't said it before, I don't hate every Rascal Flatts song... really. This one has a nice easy groove… it's way vague though. The melodies are pretty nice and "The Voice" doesn't over-emote here. Still, it's nowhere close to guilty pleasure territory. I might not have a conniption reaching to change the dial when this comes on, but I'll never seek it out.
Ashton Shepherd - Look it Up
As much as I love twang and "real" country, I'm gonna confess that Ashton's drawl may be a little much for even me. Not a bad song, but the repeating of "look it up" bugs the shit out of me in this song. It's like George Strait's "Write This Down." It doesn't really fit in every instance, lyrically… and that's more annoying than clever. I root for this girl out of principle, but I don't like this song.
Steve Holy - Love Don't Run
Holy gets a hit every 3 years, rain or shine. I don't know that this is the one. Maybe it could catch the right ears and ride a wave of approval like Billy Currington's latest has, but Steve doesn't have quite the pipes that Billy does so he needs a more impressive song to pull his gravy train. Kinda boring.
Ricky Skaggs - Someday Soon
Hmm, not sure why this is on here. It's more commercial sounding than anything I've heard from Ricky since the early 90's, but that still doesn't mean anything to radio programmers. I like this, though. It's a galloping mid-tempo anthem that inspires without preaching. If it had a little more spark to it, I could see a more pop leaning artist taking this into the top 10 - Rascal Flatts maybe.
The Band Perry - You Lie
This "band" has proven itself far better than its debut single "Hip to My Heart," with its folksy bent and shining melodies. This song isn't all that… but it's still better than most of what's on the dial. I hope they take more chances next time out (next album, single, whatever). Plenty of promise in their sound though.
Randy Montana - 1,000 Faces
Pop-country-rock. Yawn. 1,000 Faces is another "microcosm of what's wrong with country radio" song. It's vague, hell the hook barely makes sense, but that won't matter… it's sung by a handsome guy with a mainstream voice over a rocking mid-tempo country track. Not even remotely interesting.
Rachel Timberlake - Honky Tonk Queen
American Idol review time - This is a karaoke performance. Nothing about this says "ready for country radio." This is the big leagues… you can't send a .250 batter from single A to play first for the Red Sox. Not good.
Trace Adkins - Brown Chicken Brown Cow
Sucks. This .99 review says it all.
David Ball - Hot Water Pipe
David won't be returning to the upper reaches of Bob Kingsley's countdown with this quaint number. And as much of an apologist as I am for traditional sounding country… I wish the traditional country artists would at least give me some stronger ammo. This isn't exciting in the least. Apparently there's some sexual innuendo here, but it's a stretch. A dull ending to an extremely uninteresting edition of the Promo Only Country series. Let's hope for some better March releases!