Zach Bryan - Something in the Orange
I don’t have much to say about this one honestly. It’s a really good song, and it’s awesome to see this actually getting mainstream airplay. It doesn’t fit, and feels like it could be the beginning of a change… or at least the continuation of the “mildly improving country radio” trend.
Bailey Zimmerman - Rock and a Hard Place
I don’t have much to say about this one either. It’s pretty good. I just think people would be surprised I like it, so I put it here.
Carley Pearce - What He Didn’t Do
Carly continues her winning streak with this (rightly) vindictive lament of a broken relationship. It’s a country song for adults and old souls, with real emotion, well-crafted lines, an exceptional delivery, and freakin’ dobro and resonator. Damn, that’s nice. I’m a big fan.
Tyler Hubbard - Dancin’ in the Country
Insipid, for one word. Bro lite, for two. This f***ing sucks, for three. Basically, take a Florida-Georgia Line party in a pasture song, add an atmosphere of romance, and dial back the guitars and you have “Dancin’ In the Country.” You already know the storyline from 10000 songs before this, but guy and girl start out in club, guy and girl drive to the country and do cliches. There are Silverado and Luccese name drops, there’s watermelon as an adjective, there’s red dirt. And he even has the temerity to mention Alabama and Alan Jackson. Please stop, I’m tired.
Parmalee - Girl in Mine
One second in and I’m sighing and mad. Straight garbage. These dudes are like if Dan + Shay were on their first cycle of testosterone therapy. Just wimpy ass pop rock not even bothering with any ties to any particular era of actual country music. Recycled melodies, listless vocals, pointless vibe; this song has it all! If you don’t know what people mean when they say “boyfriend country,” this is what they mean. Soft, inoffensive, unmemorable, non-threatening (not that a country song should necessarily threaten you unless Chris Knight is singing it). The lyrics take this one over the top to being possibly the sappiest shit you’ve ever heard. This is the peak (or nadir) of boyfriend country, I hope.
Kane & Katelyn Brown - Thank God
Look, this ain’t a bad song. It’s a perfectly serviceable pop love song. I have the radio on the pop station when I take my daughter to school in the mornings, and if this came on there, I wouldn’t change the station. Nothing groundbreaking or memorable exactly, but this is a decent tune. Here comes the ‘but’ and if you’ve been around here for a while, I bet you know what it is. (In an extremely cringe boomer voice) “It ain’t country.” We can argue the parameters of that genre forever and nobody would change their mind, so I’m just gonna state my facts. There is no story. There is no country drawl. There is no fiddle. There is no steel guitar. I still think you can have a “country song” without those 4 things, but you also have to pass the sniff test. “Thank God” does not. There is not the tiniest thread in this song tying it to any definition or intuitive knowledge of COUNTRY MUSIC. Is it closer than some mainstream 'country' songs? Sure, it’s mostly acoustic. That’s about it. Ed Sheehan is mostly acoustic and he’s not “up next on MISS 103 where we play only the greatest country.”
C+ for song F for genre placement