Talking about songs is hard. Believe me, I’ve tried. I find it much easier to talk about albums and always have. Still, songs can’t be ignored. That’s what this feature is for. Every week I’ll try to round up some new songs that have been released throughout the week as well as provide my feedback on them. Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s start.
This week’s roundup includes…
Chris Stapleton – “Broken Halos”
Just released today, this is the first full taste of new music we’ve gotten from Stapleton since his performance of “Second One To Know” at the ACM Awards (and prior to that, we had to go back to 2015). Anyway, this isn’t the lead single (“Either Way” is), but it is the first track listed on the tracklist, so perhaps there’s some significance behind this choice. Anyway, this is a fantastic song. I like that it’s got a little (again, little) more tempo than most of the Traveller album, and I also like the acoustic bedrock this song rests upon. The songwriting is also really great as well, using “Broken Halos” to describe the people who walk in and out of our lives, mentioning how they teach us how to advance through life before they “fly away”. We then use that knowledge to pass it down to the next generation before we do the same thing. It packs so much into three minutes and yet it’s very well done. I guess if I were to nitpick with it, I suppose it could use an extra verse to really tie the story together, but again, that’s nitpicking.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS – For a fantastic opener to what looks to be a wonderful start to one of 2017’s (potentially) best albums.
Tyller Gummersall – “I’m Not Dead”
This is definitely for you traditional fans out there. For those who don’t know, Tyller Gummersall hails from Colorado and currently splits his time between Nashville, Texas, and Colorado recording the music he loves. Produced by Lloyd Maines, his new single “I’m Not Dead” is sort of related to Chris’ song up above. It explores the concept of mortality, only this time going the route of being thankful for what we have and being thankful we’re not dead. It’s got a great hook, and honestly, while the theme has been done before it’s just a message we really need these days, and with the jaunty melody and instrumentation supporting it, it’s a winner in my book. It might be a little *too* cheery given its subject matter as well as some of the lines, but it’s a damn fine song.
FOUR STARS – For a song with a message we all need right now.
Kelleigh Bannen – “Church Clothes”
In all honesty I’m not that familiar with Kelleigh’s music, but I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this song, so I figured I’d check it out. I like it. I’m not a fan of the constant pausing between each line in the verses, and it takes a bit long to get to the point, but the song tells a great message of hiding who we are so that the public doesn’t know what’s going on (in this case, the narrator and her lover are covering up their troubled relationship). Moreover, they both know that doing this and hiding what’s going on isn’t right. By the end you can tell that there’s nothing left between these two, and that’s a powerful way to end a well-written song.
THREE AND A HALF STARS – For a song that brings a valuable point and wraps it around some great writing.
Cannan Smith – “Like You That Way”
Sigh…does anyone even remember this guy? I don’t say that to be mean but come on, Canaan Smith is the epitome of your average male newcomer in Nashville these days. His debut album was filled with songs that chased the bro-country craze (save for the incredible “Bronco”), and his new single appears to do the same damn thing. The guitars are incredibly watered down and generic sounding, the lyrics are littered with putrid sexual innuendos, and for God’s sake, I swear he raps in one verse, and goes all reggae on the bridge. Like, what? The production is way too overdone, and I don’t think any girl wants to be called “Miranda Lambert” crazy. For starters, yes, she’s had some extreme songs, but still, it’s offensive, and do you really want a woman who will pump your ass full of gunpowder and lead (since that’s what your namedrop implies). Even Miranda moved on from that stuff. But I digress.
ONE AND A HALF STAR – For a song that’s in no way, shape, or form good, but also not as terrible as the worst songs in country music. It’s boring, forgettable, and even bad, but it’s not clearing that low bar, so congratulations Canaan.
I believe that does it for this week, gang! Check back next week for another roundup!