Jul 13, 2011

Snap Judgments: Promo Only Country Radio July '11

The summer doldrums don't get any help from this heap of mediocrity. It's probably the most lifeless collection I've heard yet, though there is a gem in the slop.

Click titles to listen.

I'm guessing this isn't the actual first song on the promo disc. Mine's just out of order. This is one of those D-list rockabilly-roots things they throw in every now and then... It's kinda catchy, but D-list doesn't just grade the starpower of the artist. You won't hear this on the radio. It's a dance club track.

Hey guys. How's it going? Haven't heard from you in a bit, but you're back... yay(?) Their vocals are a lot smoother than you might expect from looking at their photos. For a band still seeking a break-through single, I'd think something a little harder hitting might be in order. This is okay, but it's just not weighty enough, even for a light-hearted pop-country tune, to grab any significant airplay. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

I love hearing Darius get into a meaty "she done left me" song. Unfortunately, this isn't very meaty. It's not bad but the chorus just doesn't have enough heft to stick with me for long. Songs like this just make me wonder why he couldn't have brought the Blowfish along for the ride. They sound as country as most of what's on the radio now anyway, and they would lend some gravity to the heartbreak of this song. Anyway, this isn't bad, but (insert stock comment here:) a vocalist of Darius' caliber deserves better songs.

That name makes me think of the Evil Dead movies. Sorry. The song... ahhh shit. Eric Church lite. This is one more laundry list of things the singer believes in. Absolutely nothing new here. I got nothin'. Bible, belt, yes sir, yes ma'am, hand shakes, Jesus, soldiers, moms, dads.... you know the routine. I still believe in all that stuff too, but I also believe that this song is unquestionably bad. Almost bad enough to turn me into a liberal just for spite.

Young Hunter apparently looks to Gary "The Voice" Levox as a role model and vocal idol. He sounds just like a younger version of the girthy balladeer. The song also wouldn't sound out of place on a Rascal Flatts album. Not terrible, nowhere near good. Please tell me the next generation of "country" singers won't count Rascal Flatts as an influence. Please tell me that. Please.

Brad Paisley ft. Alabama - Old Alabama
Not sure why this song is on the collection as it has already had its run up the charts and subsequent decline in lieu of the new Carrie duet. Anyway, I like this song better than I should. It's very catchy and more clever than most have given it credit for.

This is the best single Josh has released to country radio to date. That's not saying a lot really. The verses are pretty dull, but the chorus is damn good. Nothing groundbreaking, but I can see myself getting this stuck in my head.

Burns & Poe - Second Chance
How symbolic. This duo is also on their second chance... album-wise. This is probably their 400th single in the last 2 years though. I'm shocked they're still around. Burns sounds like a poor man's Don Henley on this track, but Poe sounds pretty solid. It's an understated song with some nice harmonies. It sounds different than most of what's on the radio, and in a lot of ways that's a good thing.

Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter - You and Tequila
Kenny Chesney's best single in years. It might even be good enough to find its way onto the playlists of country radio-weary music snobs... uh, like myself. Simple and beautiful. Keep doing this, Kenny. It works.

Just like their previous hit "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?," "I Got You" is a sugary confection of a pop-rock-country song with elementary lyrics. I'm not against simplistic lyrics as long as they aren't a stumbling-block to my enjoyment of the song. Unfortunately, they are this time... again.

Hmm. A bizarre, jazzy novelty ode to the titular hair-don't. I just really don't even know what to say about it, honestly. Interesting and odd. Not radio bound.

At least the record company knows how to cherry-pick the best singles off the dreadful Machine album. This is a pop song. A pop anthem even. This wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Celine Dion and Sting populated airwaves of 90's adult-contemporary. Can't say I care much for the song, or Jennifer Nettles' odd vocal affectionations on the song, but it sounds like a hit.

Joe Nichols - Take It Off
I'm hoping this isn't another "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off." Well, so far it's not.. but obviously some clothes are being shed somewhere in this tune. This is a summer anthem... released a little late in the game. Yep, the clothes came off. Predictable, but decent and Joe's voice doesn't hurt the song, as usual.

Another single from the iCarly sidekick. Another Carrie Underwood-lite tune. It's weighty subject matter for someone of her age. She handles it pretty well, but the song just has too many lyrical hiccups (plasama screen?) and too much philosophical jackassery for me to enjoy this. Nah.

Is this the sequel to Luke Bryan's "Do I"? It's a typical "women will dig it" vehicle for a male country singer with a strong voice. It's not particularly memorable, but Wesley does have good pipes. Hopefully his future releases will have a little more individuality to them.

Zac Brown Band ft. Jimmy Buffett
Another tune I like more than I should. Sure, it's just another summer get-away-from-it-all anthem, but it's catchy as all get out (however catchy that is), and some of the lyrical wordplay is more clever than your typical song of this ilk. I dig it.

Another soap opera anthem. They're so good with melodies and harmony that I can't help but like this at least a little. It's epic and arena-ready and nowhere near country... at all: no steel, no fiddle, no twang, but it's still a catchy song. I wish it wasn't on country radio, but Lady A crafts a nice pop tune.

Banjo. Fiddle. This starts with promise. Then comes the mention of cut off jeans and it all goes to hell. Tattoos... he loves it, a SECOND MENTION of cut off jeans. Kill me, again. The title is unmemorable and the song does nothing to help. I don't want to hear this ever again. I'd throw up in my mouth, but that's too cliche.

Not bad. It feels like they didn't "bring it" as much as they should have. The song needs a little more contrast and more vigor, especially in the chorus. It's all a little too meh.

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