Luke Bryan - Most People Are Good
What's this? Luke Bryan spoken of in a positive manner? Have you finally lost it, Trailer? Nope - a good song's a good song. This tune is simple, quaint even. It has timely and timeless lyrics. Luke does a fine job with it. On top of that, it's a country song. I know he's still got to pump out the mindless bangers to keep the arenas full, but let's at least hope he's beginning a transition to more mature fare like this winner.
Cole Swindell - Break Up in the End
What's this? Cole Swindell spoken of in a positive manner? etc.
This one is actually more of a surprise to me, since (and I'm not blustering here) this is the very first Swindell song I have liked even a little. Cole's still no crooner, but his plain-spoken voice lends this heartbreaker some gravity. Some will read the lyrics and say this is a wimpy song, but ultra vulnerable ballads like this are scattered through the careers of greats like George Strait, Vern Gosdin, and Willie Nelson. Not saying Cole should ever be mentioned in the same breath as those folks, but "Break Up in the End" is a step in the right direction.
Ashley McBryde - A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega
A song like this makes you think there's still a chance to turn country radio around. It takes a look back at the missteps that end up making us stronger. Fresh, hopeful, and upbeat with a hint of sadness. And it's country. Ashley's voice is strong and memorable, and with material like this, I can't wait to hear her upcoming debut album. (Side note: my honeymoon was in Dahlonega - beautiful town and surrounding area.)
Jordan Davis - Singles You Up
More of this trend of melting pot folk/R&B/pop schlock - think Sam Hunt, but not so much talking. Who says "singles you up" anyway? Lame, boring, trend-chasing, and it's a hit, of course. Nice beard, broseph.
David Lee Murphy & Kenny Chesney - Everything's Gonna Be Alright
What a disappointment. David Lee Murphy had a nice, albeit brief, run of good tunes in the 90s and he's a solid songwriter. Kenny, while still Kenny, can surprise you every now and then with a great tune. This one's not. It may as well be sung by Devin Davis Jordan Walker Hunt.
Bebe Rexha ft. Florida-Georgia Line - Meant to Be
Yeah well. What'd you expect? This is shit. Some claim it to be a good pop song, but it's grating as hell to me. And who cares anyway? If I come home to a pig in the back yard with my dogs, I wouldn't think "What an impressive pig - I bet it could win some state fairs." No, I think "Why the hell is there a swine in my yard?" It doesn't belong.