iCF Single Reviews #2 (Week of June 22, 2008)

Looking at my blog, I decided that what I really need to do if I want to ensure its survival and interest, I need to post a lot more (obviously lol), and I think it is necessary to expand into other things/ideas because just doing recommendations is not enough (even though it is this blog’s specialty, I am quite aware that my monthly blog posts isn’t adequate enough to keep my readers staying around, because as a fellow blog reader, I am the same way – I need constant and consistent postings!).  So, I’m going to try to do other things on this site, but the recommendations will still, be first and foremost, the most important feature of the site and I’ll try to do them more frequently!

One feature I started some months ago was reviewing current “country” radio singles.  I noticed that I usually only review songs I like or artists I like and don’t really review ones I don’t.  I’m all for optimism but reality is, they are a lot of songs that are pure crap and need to be justifiably criticized for it lol (Rascal Flatts come to mind?).  Anyway, I’m going to review the Top 17 songs of the week based on the Radio & Records‘ website chart.  My opinions will vary and I will definitely be as honest as possible.  I will not post links to the review singles because chances are you most likely have already heard the songs and plus, I’m lazy to look them all up lol.  FYI: you should know I don’t listen to mainstream country radio a lot (well, now I am a lil bit more because I have my stereo in my room and didn’t have an iPod for a while. Otherwise, I listen to XM Radio in the car or iTunes when I’m at school), so I may not be as sick of these overplayed songs as you are, so we shall see. Here we go… (this will be a longggg post!)

01.  “Better As a Memory” – Kenny Chesney

– Surprise, surprise.  Look who’s #1 again.  The song is OK, but not worthy of #1,  The lyrics are mediocre and the vocals just the same.  I admit it’s nice that it’s not overproduced, but all in all, I don’t see what people see in him these days.  2 out of 5 stars.

02.  “Last Name” – Carrie Underwood

– Usually I don’t care for Miss Underwood’s singles because radio KILLS them with overplay (even though they’re good, country or not), but with this song, I just can’t get enough of it.  It’s catchy and fun to sing along with (I sing “I don’t know even know her last name” instead lol but it doesn’t quite make as much sense but whatever).  Musically, it reminds me of Shania’s “Honey I’m Home” with the rocking guitar, drums, and the fiddle.  This was a great choice for a summer song.  I think she is really talented and I’m liking her more, though I still think she is way overplayed.  5 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

03.  “Home” – Blake Shelton

– Blake has lately been hit-and-miss with me over the last few years.  I’m just not into him as much.  I really don’t like this song even though his vocals are nice.  Sometimes doing remakes/covers is annoying because you keep comparing it with the original or another version.  I just don’t like it.  1 out of 5 stars.

04.  “I’m Still a Guy” – Brad Paisley

– Here’s a guy who’s music I must recommend sometime in the future.  I love that he helps make traditional/real country popular with his songs and that he does it while being so cool.  This single, one of his other gimmicky haha songs is really clever, once again displaying his immense talent as a songwriter, and his ode to traditional country.  His novelty songs do get annoying though sometimes.  I should love this song, but I don’t.  I like it but for some reason, the extremely unnecessary, but short, whole baby/cradle-music thing that’s goes on the song is like chalkboard-scratching to my ears.  I think it kinda messes up the song to be honest lol (just like when children sing in songs, for example: like in  “Ain’t Nothin’ Like” on his Mud on the Tires album.  Good song until the kids get involved).  I just don’t like that.  4 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

05.  “Every Day” – Rascal Flatts

– Crap.  Annoying crap like always.  Seriously, though.  The music, though it isn’t country at all, is not too bad and the vocals are OK (but get pretty whiny several times, as expected from Gary LeVox).  This boy band continues their Murder Row Massacre once again with this song, so of course, radio can’t get enough of it.  One somewhat positive thing about it: MUCH better than their next single, “Bob That Head” (yes, I said bob that head… a title which makes you think, and considering the double entendre and who’s singing it to you, makes you just want to barf).  1.5 out of 5 stars.

06.  “Back When I Knew It All” – Montgomery Gentry

– Give me Brooks & Dunn any day over these two.  The song is alright and if I remember it correctly, Eddie and Troy both sing in it equally, which I gotta give them credit for, because B&D don’t do that on their radio singles).  3 out of 5 stars.

07.  “Good Time” – Alan Jackson

– “G with an O, O with a D, T with an I, an M with an E.  That spells good time. (Good time.)”.  Haha, I am lovin’ this song!  At first, I just thought it was just album filler that lasted too long and sounded too much like other songs, but I’ve really grown to like it a lot since then.   I much prefer this over “Small Town Southern Man” (that one was good but said the title too much – which “Good Time” does too, but it’s needed more emphasis lol).  The fiddle and harmonica makes this line-dancing uptempo fun tune one to turn up and sing along to when you’re driving in that summer heat… makes you just wanna relax and wait for Friday night.  Excellent video too.  AJ is the man.  5 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

08.  “Trying to Stop Your Leaving” – Dierks Bentley

– I just did a recommendation on one of Dierks’s songs last week (#23).  That’s about as nice as I get with him to be honest.  This song is alright but just seems too clichéd and just annoying.  I don’t feel the emotion in this song.  I like the steel guitar though.  1.5 out of 5 stars.

09.  “Love Don’t Live Here” – Lady Antebellum

– I really don’t like their name lol, but from what I’ve heard of their debut single, they are good.  I like this song a lot and am glad to have gotten this track as a iTunes Free Single of the Week.  This song sounds unique and the lead male vocal’s voice is different as well, making a quite catchy tune.  4 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

10.  “Put a Girl In It” – Brooks & Dunn

– This has been one of my favorite songs from their current album, Cowboy Town, ever since I first heard it.  This was my choice for their next single so I’m glad they went with it because it’s so damn good and Ronnie Dunn’s vocals are good as ever.  This one sounds more like a rock song but with Dunn’s twang, and the cleverness of the lyrics, it’s one of their best singles IMO in a while.  I think the title is correct: if you want to live a good life, put a girl in it (though girls do have the tendency to bring lots of drama with them lol.)  It was funny when Reba performed this tune with B&D at the ACM’s.  5 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

11.  “I Saw God Today” – George Strait

– Strait’s the man and the King of Country Music for me.  He can really do no wrong.  While this song, production wise, lyric wise, and vocal-wise sounds like something Chesney might sing, George pulls it off with ease and make it likable.  Sometimes, unfortunately, I forget about the great stuff that God does for me, and it’s songs like this, that remind you of how His beauty can be seen anywhere and everywhere you look.  George doesn’t sing too many religious-themed songs, and this one is just amazing.  I do prefer “You’ll Be There” and “I Found Jesus On the Jailhouse Floor” slightly over this one but I’m glad George went with this as his debut single for Troubadour.  Check out my Strait recommendation from March.   4.5 stars out of 5. Buy here!

12.  “Gunpowder & Lead” – Miranda Lambert

– I admit, I didn’t know this song was about domestic abuse until I read Kevin’s discussion of the song on Country Universe on one of his posts concerning the topic.  I am not really a Miranda fan.  I’m not really crazy over the tough girl image she’s had since “Kerosene” (good song though) and I just assumed it was another one of those “he cheated on me so let’s get him, girls!” kinda-songs like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.  After reading Kevin’s assessment of the song (as I do have extreme respect and admiration for his opinions and music tastes), I began to like it.  Kudos for her “Album of the Year” award at the ACM’s.  Good lyrics and good vocals.  That jerk in the story deserves what’s coming to him, just like Earl did when he beat Wanda all those times (reference to Dixie Chicks’s “Goodbye Earl” ;-) ).  3.5 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

13.  “All I Want to Do” – Sugarland

– Seriously, I cannot listen to this song fully, nor do I ever plan to.  Fortunately for me, I have succeeded in that.  This song has got to be one of the most annoying tunes I’ve ever heard and to make matters worse, is not country-sounding and is one of the examples of wtf’s wrong with country radio these days (all those freaking ” do ooh ooh ooh ooh”s was enough for me the first time).  Also, I am not a fan of Jennifer Nettle’s voice.  I just can’t take to it…just seems like super exaggerated twang to me, even if it’s not.  That’s about all I’ll say about this tune. (Can’t believe the video and song are #1 on iTunes. Nettles does look nice in the video though I’ll admit lol).  0.5 out of 5 stars.

14.  “I Still Miss You” – Keith Anderson

– Not a bad song.  Ha!  It just came on right now.  Hmm… only thing that bothers me is the “driving while drinking” line but that won’t affect my grading.  It is pretty overproduced with lotsa drums and guitars but sometimes overproduced isn’t bad.  I kinda like Keith some so more power to him (I still can’t stand “Pickin’ Wildflowers” though).  3 out of 5 stars.

15.  “We Weren’t Crazy” – Josh Gracin

– Josh’s voice is really good and reminds me somewhat of Mark Wills’s voice.  This song is just OK though.  Some nice parts in it but a bit too pop sounding.  I prefer more “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” type- songs (yeah that was pop-country but there is good pop-country and bad pop-country, and that was the way good kind).  3 out of 5 stars.

16.  “Another Try” – Josh Turner (w/ Trisha Yearwood)

– Man, one of my favorite songs this year.  I love how Josh’s and Trisha’s voice go so well together and make this slow contemporary country song so…beautiful (I usually don’t really use that word too often but it really is).  It’s one of my 36 Top Played Songs on my iTunes so you know it’s good!  5 out of 5 stars. Buy here!

17.  “Should’ve Said No” – Taylor Swift

– I really don’t know how this girl made it big.  Her songwriting is alright.  Her voice: BAD.  Just another country pop-star wannabe as far as I’m concerned.  I saw her performance on the ACM’s and it was horrible vocal-wise and even performance-wise just tried too hard.  This is actually her best single to date, IMHO, and I do like parts of the song like the beginning with the fiddle and some sections are catchy… I wish someone else sang it so I could like it lol.  I say she should go back to school so radio can be a little more tolerable to listen to (I even got to change the station on the non-country stations to avoid the super-pop remix of “Teardrops On My Guitar”… :-| )  2 out of 5 stars.

So there you have it.  The cold hard truth told by me and how I see things.  Hopefully you agree and disagree with something I said but I welcome to hear whatever you have to say about it.  Comment on.

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with you on some and disagree with you on others. reading these reviews reveals that you aren’t a big fan of pop sounding country, sometimes. The only one I don’t completly understand is dierks bentley’s “Trying TO Stop Your Leaving”. I know you already stated that you aren’t much of a fan of him in you last recomendation, but IMO this is his best single to date. But I guess there’s the beauty of music, some people like things I don’t, and I’m just glad that you aren’t one of those people who call down the fans of other artists just because you don’t like the artist.

    P.S. Why did you stop at 17? Why not 20? Just Curious.

  2. I lean more towards traditional country stuff but I do enjoy pop-country stuff as well (believe it or not, I am a Shania fan, and that’s about as pop as country gets lol). I just think today’s mainstream country radio is full of too much of the pop/rock and is lacking the twang and classic sounds that I love.

    I dunno…”TTSYL”. Just not a fan of it. I don’t think it’s a “bad” song. It’s better than other songs I’ve heard but I just don’t feel like it portrays the emotion of the song’s lyrics too well. It’s hard to explain lol.

    Yeah, exactly. Thank you. Sometime it does frustrate me with some fans but as long as they’re respectful and don’t insult me or the artist in a way they don’t deserve than I’m good. I’m a Shania fan so I understand how it can be when people criticize her music lol.

    Ha… uhh, just got lazy. I was originally gonna do Top 15 but wanted to stop at Taylor’s so I added two more to get 17 :) .

  3. Ah I see it just seemed weird to stop at 17, I thought maybe that number meant something to you or something.


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