Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jack Ingram, "Barbie Doll"

You may or may not remember this, but it took a long time for Jack Ingram to become the hitmaking country star that he is today. For years, every single he released fizzled until he finally made it big in 2006 with his first (and, to date, only) number-one hit "Wherever You Are." One of those fizzles was a song called "Barbie Doll," which was released in 2000, and failed to register on the country charts. Now that Jack has become a star, he has released a re-recorded version of "Barbie Doll" to give it a second shot at becoming a hit.

It's hard not to compare "Barbie Doll" to Carrie Underwood's recent smash "Cowboy Casanova," since they are similar in theme, though the genders are reversed. Both songs are about outwardly attractive people who have a reputation for breaking hearts. But there are several areas where Carrie went right, and Jack went wrong. The first is in the vocal performance. Carrie's delivery of "Cowboy Casanova" was full of power, emotion, and fury, but Jack's delivery of "Barbie Doll" lacks these qualities. Carrie sings in way that commands attention, but Jack sings in a way that is easily forgotten. In addition, "Barbie Doll" suffers from cluttered production that does not complement the vocals very well at all.

The next problem area is the lyrics. Carrie gives us clever lines such as "Looks like a cool drink of water/ But he's candy-coated misery/ He's the devil in disguise/ A snake with blue eyes..." and so on. What does Jack give us? She a Bar-bie doll (Bar-bie doll)/ Bar-bie doll (Bar-bie doll)/ Yeah, she's real good lookin', but she ain't got no heart at all." Sorry Jack, but I can't give you very many points for screaming "Bar-bie doll!" repeatedly. Furthermore, the label "Barbie doll" is not quite a fitting label for the kind of woman that Jack is attempting to describe. It only suggests good looks, saying nothing about her heartless personality. It seems that the only reason for using the phrase "Barbie Doll" is that a song with that title might arouse curiosity as to what it's about. But a song does not become a timeless classic if the most interesting thing about it is its title. Lyrical substance is far more important than a clever title.

Writing this review just makes me want to bring up iTunes and listen to "Cowboy Casanova," since it is infinitely superior to "Barbie Doll." I can see a discernible effort on the part of the songwriters to actually write a song, but the end result is just another country-rock throwaway. Hearing "Barbie Doll" raises a pertinent question in my mind: Why was this song even worth recording once, let alone a second time?

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dierks Bentley, "Up On the Ridge"

Dierks Bentley's latest album drops on June 8, and it has been labeled a "bluegrass" album, or at least "bluegrass-influenced." That immediately raises my expectations. Maybe it's because I live in the rolling hills of Kentucky, but I definitely have an appreciation for good bluegrass music. I wondered if this new album would come anywhere close to the artistic excellence of bluegrass-tinged album like the Dixie Chicks' Home, or Patty Loveless's critically-acclaimed Mountain Soul albums. But the album's titled track and lead-off single, "Up On the Ridge," has weaknesses that make it fare badly in comparison to the songs heard on these albums.

The best compliment I can give this song is that it is interesting to hear. The banjo and dobro administer a good dose of twang that has been sorely lacking on country radio. But one of the problems with "Up On the Ridge" is that the over-polished production is too similar to Dierks's previous material, and too similar to many other current country hits. It lacks the quality of being new and different, and it lacks the down-home rootsy charm that characterizes true bluegrass music.
The song's tag line is "That's how we live up on the ridge." Unfortunately, we have heard an endless flood of songs that describe how somebody lives. When I hear yet another song about a backwoods romance, it sounds to me like the song is aimed squarely at country radio. Traditional bluegrass music typically does not do well on country radio. Thus, it would seem that Dierks is trying to "play it safe" by giving country radio listeners a more bluegrassy version of the kind of music that they expect to hear on country radio.

To Dierks's credit, this song still sounds more country than most of the music that is marketed as country. I will say once more that I like hearing those acoustic instruments. Overall, this is a solid effort, but "Up On the Ridge" doesn't quite live up to the hype. Let's hope that the rest of this so-called "bluegrass" album is a little better.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chely Wright, "Broken"

Now that we've heard the new songs from Tammy Cochran and David Ball, let's hear another song from the "Has-Been-Artists-Trying-to-Make-a-Comeback" file. Chely Wright enjoyed a relatively brief hitmaking period around the turn of the millenium, with hits like "Shut Up and Drive" and "It Was." She is best-known for her one-and-only number-one hit from 1999, "Single White Female." She will soon be releasing her first new studio album since 2005. The lead single from her new album is a song called "Broken."

"Broken" is a sad slow-tempo song about a woman who has suffered heartache in the past, and is trying to bring herself to let a new man into her life. Likewise, her love interest is recovering from a heartbreak of his own. The woman begs him to give their relationship everything he has, but senses that he is still 'holding a little back.' In the end, they end up going their seperate ways, because neither one is ready to trust another person again.

Chely's vocal delivery on this track is soft and understated, which is very well-suited to subject matter of the song, yet the emotion in the song still comes through in her voice. The song has a very simple and bare-boned instrumental line-up which incudes a prominently-featured acoustic guitar. The soft and steady drum beat in the background compliments the vocals instead of being a distraction. The song's production does not distinctly stand out as being country (It resembles the sounds of soft-pop acts like Norah Jones), but the acoustic based instrumentation does not clash with the typical sound of country music. Overall, it seems that Chely and her producers have done a fine job in making this song sound just the way it was meant to sound.

Chely may be singing about being "Broken," but as a vocalist, she demonstrates that she is still in fine repair.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Zac Brown Band, "Free"

Before 2008, nobody had heard of the Zac Brown Band. Now, in just two short years, they have quickly become one of country music's biggest attractions. Their new single "Free" comes on the heels of their third number-one hit, "Highway 20 Ride." Most likely, this song will perform well on country radio. But because of the band's great popularity, the fact that this song will likely be a hit doesn't say much about its quality.

"Free" begins with the sound of that soft fiddle that has become the band's trademark. The first half of the slow-tempoed song sounds soft, mellow, and pleasant. But it sounds like drummer Chris Fryar has an espresso near the end of the song, and he starts banging away. The drumming is a little overdone, and it makes the mostly-slow song seem somewhat disjointed as a result.

The song's lyrics are mostly vague and repetitive, describing two lovers driving down to a beach, looking up at the stars, and doing "all the things that lovers do." In the chorus, they are said to be "Just as free/ Free as we'll ever be." The narrator doesn't really describe why he feels so free; he only repeatedly declares that he feels free. The lyrics border on being annoying near the end of the song, when the narrator starts repeating the sentence, "No we don't have a lot of money/ No we don't have a lot of money/ No we don't have a lot of money..." Dude, we get it - You don't have a lot of money. Unfortunately, this song doesn't have much to offer in lyrical profundity.

"Free" might make good background music, or it might be good for listening to in the car. But it doesn't arrest attention the way a good country song should, and there's nothing that will make it stick in your memory after its four minutes are expired. It's like a little piece of ear candy - sweet at first, but not substantial.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Friday, April 23, 2010

David Ball, "Hot Water Pipe"

David who? Yes, this is the same David Ball that produced hit singles such as "Thinkin' Problem" and "Riding with Private Malone." He has returned with his first new album in six years, Sparkle City, accompanied by his backing band, the Pioneer Playboys. When a band has a name that includes the word "Playboys," this is exactly the type of song you expect to hear from them.

David's new song describes a cold winter night. He sings about stacking logs next to the fireplace, and piling blankets on the bed. The weatherman says it's going to be a cold one. Now here comes the song's title hook: "Hope it don't freeze up my hot water pipe." You heard the part about piling blankets on the bed, right? That's right - this song is another sex metaphor set to music. Take your best guess at what the term "Hot Water Pipe" is referring to. Beyond that, the song doesn't have much to say. The chorus largely consists of David repeating the phrase "Hot Water Pipe" over and over again. The entire song is built around a tacky sex joke.

Oh David, why are you trying to rekindle your career with a song like this? Give us anything but this. Give us a clever story-song with a surprise ending. Give us a tear-jerking breakup song. Give us a corny love song, or give us a lousy cover song. But for God's sake, I don't want to hear you sing about your hot water pipe. The only positive thing I can say about the song is that it has pleasantly twangy instrumentation, and a good bouncy beat, giving it a distinctly country sound. But in country music, the lyrics are the most important thing, and these lyrics are horrendous. No amount of twang could possibly be enough to polish this turd. But if it weren't for the good production, the low score that follows would be even lower.

It is understandable that David is trying to gain attention and exposure for his new music. But spitting out trash like this is not the way to resurrect his career. Country radio, please don't touch this one.
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kellie Pickler, "Makin' Me Fall in Love Again"

These days, everybody knows who Kellie Pickler is. She has become a fan favorite in country music, despite the fact that she has mostly received lukewarm support from country radio. She has been able to maintain a consistent presence on the charts, even though all but one of her singles have missed the Top 10. The new single from her self-titled sophomore album is a lighthearted up-tempo tune called "Makin' Me Fall in Love Again." Will this song be the one that finally gives her a firmly-established presence on country airwaves?

The song begins with some guitar picking, and then you hear a drum beat, and then Kellie's sweet Southern drawl comes pouring out. The production is in the style of the slick and polished country-pop that we have come to expect from modern-day Nashville. We hear a familiar message in the lyrics. The narrator describes the blissfully happy relationship she enjoys with her man. Some loves may fade over time, but this guy makes her "fall in love again" just by being himself. I can't say that there is anything particularly moving and special about these lyrics. Still, I can't say that this song is just another piece of fluff either.

One thing that Kellie Pickler has a knack for is choosing songs that are well-suited to her voice. Many of her songs effectively bring out the depth and beauty in her vocals, while still showcasing her charming personality. "Makin' Me Fall in Love Again" possesses these traits in full measure, making it a fine addition to Kellie's growing catalog of hits. Despite the song's shortcomings, the infectious melody and energetic vocal performance should be enough to put a smile on your face when you hear it. You might even find yourself raising the volume and singing along. This song might not be a contemporary neo-classic, but each time I hear it, I like it more and more.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Easton Corbin, "Roll with It"

No, it is not a cover of the Steve Winwood rock classic. It's the brand-new single from one of the fresh new faces on the country music scene. After hearing far too many brainless backwoods barbarian country-rock anthems, his down-home and twangy debut single, "A Little More Country Than That" was a breath of fresh air. Seeing as the song became Easton's first-ever number-one hit, it would seem that many people shared my high opinion of it. I think it says something that Easton has already had the unspeakable honor of being confused with George Strait. Now, Easton follows up his debut smash with his new single, "Roll with It."

"Roll with It" combines two lyrical themes that are popular among country radio listerners. I might describe it as a "Let's hit the road" song and a "Let's hit the beach" song rolled into one. It is similar in theme to hits such as Lonestar's "What About Now" and Jo Dee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California," but it also bears a resemblance to many of Kenny Chesney's beachgoer tunes. Easton sings about wanting to cruise down the interstate with his loved one, and go any place that has a beach. He doesn't care where they end up, or where life takes them, as long as they are together. This is the kind of song we expect to hear as soon as the winter snow melts, and the weather starts warming up.

If Easton is going to release a song like this, he will face a great deal of competition from similarly-themed songs. But thanks to the rich, neotraditionalist-style instrumentation, "Roll with It" is elevated above the rest of the pack. Easton's laid-back vocal delivery also adds to the song's appeal. He even maintains his country-boy image with references to going fishing, and snacking on pig skins. "Roll with It" may not be Easton's strongest song, but I can give it plenty of points for catchiness. It is a simple romantic pleasure that is just plain fun. You will only have to hear it a few times on the radio before you find yourself singing along.

Props to Easton for adding another solid song to his growing catalog of hits. He may be a new artist, but he is definitely not a flash in the pan.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Randy Houser, "I'm All About It"

Okay, I will admit that I am in a bit of a bad mood because our lousy TV antenna isn't picking up the ACM Awards, and I'm missing the show right at this very moment. But I first heard Randy Houser's new song when I was in a pleasant mood, and it sounded just as bad then as it does now.

"I'm All About It" is the second single from Randy's upcoming album They Call Me Cadillac (The first single, "Whistlin' Dixie," missed the Top 20 by a long shot). When I first read the title, I did not have high expectations, since snappy catchphrases usually don't make very good country songs. "I'm All About It" definitely lived down to my expectations. It is the most cringe-worthy mishmash of lyrics I have heard lately. Much of the bland lyrical content sounds like a bunch of random rhymes clumsily thrown together (Thinkin' 'bout you, baby, all the time/ On my brain, honey, I ain't lyin'). Every line of this song either says nothing, or says too much. I really don't need to hear another song that's riddled with tacky sex metaphors - I'm still recovering from the last time I heard Jake Owen's "Eight Second Ride." The fact that the song is so badly over-sung only makes it even more irritating.

The one good thing about this song is the instrumentation. It's not enough to save the song, but it does offer a glimmer of hope. The guitar and fiddle have a Garth Brooks-like sound that we haven't heard much of lately. This is a musical direction that Randy would do well to explore further. But don't get your hopes up - the song still stinks to high heaven.

I might compare "I'm All About It" to a musical version of potluck stew. It sounds like a few songwriters got together, each armed with a lucky pocket rhyming dictionary, and threw together a bunch of rhyming couplets and innuendos just to see what they could come up with. The result? Not very tasty. If this song comes on the radio, I'm all about changing the station.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Court Yard Hounds, "The Coast"

Do these ladies seem familiar? Of course they do. Emily Robison and Martie Maguire originally found fame as members of the country super group known as the Dixie Chicks. The Chicks ruled the roost on the country charts in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But then lead singer Natalie Maines ruffled a few feathers by criticizing then-President Bush, and the Chicks' hit-making streak came to a screeching halt. Now fast forward seven years later to the year 2010. President Bush is out of office, and the Dixie Chicks have been on hiatus for a few years now. Martie and Emily had the itch to make new music again, but Natalie wasn't ready, so the two sisters have formed the duo called the Court Yard Hounds as a side project (though they have stated that the Dixie Chicks have not officially disbanded).

Now that the Hounds have released their debut single, "The Coast," it is inevitable that Martie and Emily's new music will be compared to that of the Dixie Chicks. The song does lack some of the spunk and sass that Natalie brought. On "The Coast," Emily steps into the shoes of the lead vocalist, and she does a fine job of filling the role. Her soft and sweet voice bears a resemblance to that of Sheryl Crow. Decide for yourself whether or not you like Emily's voice better than Natalie's.

As the title implies, this song is about taking a trip to a beach on the coast for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Unlike most summer songs, which are often loud and rowdy, "The Coast" has a slow and steady tempo, and a mellow and pleasant feel to it. The narrator describes her reasons for heading to the coast. When she is there, "nothing seems to matter." She can escape the stress of her everyday life and "feel a whole lot better." The lyrics are rich in imagery, describing "blue skies, green water, white birds in the air" and "the wind blowin' in my hair." The song paints a vivid picture of the tranquil setting, causing listeners to see themselves there. The instrumental line-up includes the prominent fiddles and banjos that created the signature sound of the Dixie Chicks. The lilting melody of the chorus makes it thoroughly enjoyable to hear.

Politics aside, this is some good music here. It retains many of the desirable qualities that the Dixie Chicks' music possessed, but it has a feeling of being new and different at the same time. It reminds us of one reason why the Dixie Chicks were such a successful group - because each member was an incredible talent in her own right. Due to the abundance of Dixie Chick-haters, it is uncertain if this song will receive any support from country radio. But any airplay that it does get is definitely well-deserved.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Blake Shelton, "All About Tonight"

Blake Shelton is riding high right now. He recently enjoyed another number-one hit with "Hillbilly Bone," a duet with Trace Adkins that earned an ACM nomination for Vocal Event of the Year. But now I want to know why he chooses to make a single out of the weakest song we've heard from him in quite some time.

"All About Tonight" sounds like a second-rate Montgomery Gentry song. It's about partying, beer-drinking, and shameless flirting, and it even hints at a one-night stand. Gosh darn what happens tomorrow - it's "All About Tonight." I can think of several reasons why those lyrics are an unfortunate misfire. The obvious first reason is that they are utterly pointless. Granted, not every country song needs to be a heart-wrenching ballad. But if an artist is going to appeal to our party-animal side, he can still do so with lyrics that are worthwhile. For example, Alan Jackson's two-stepping hit "Good Time" proves itself superior by describing why the narrator wants to go out and have some fun - he's been working all week, and he's tired. That makes the song more relatable to listeners. An artist can also enrich the lyrics of a party song through witty humor and wordplay, as evidenced in Shania Twain's 1996 smash "Any Man of Mine" as well as the Brooks and Dunn classic "Boot Scootin' Boogie." The lyrics of "All About Tonight" fail on both accounts, merely describing rowdy and wild behavior. The fact that Blake uses the dreaded A-word certainly doesn't help at all.

If the lyrics fall flat, the intstrumentation may be the last hope of saving a song. But on this tune, the production does nothing to improve it. Consisting primarily of electic guitar and a prominent drum beat, this song's production sounds like generic and unremarkable country-rock that is tailor-made for radio. Even the melody sounds dull and uninspired - not the kind that will make you want to sing along.

Instead of giving us something outstandingly good, it seems that Blake is only trying to capitalize on his recent successes, continue his string of hit singles, and further project his bad boy image. It is not surprising that a singer would focus on such goals, but such are not the makings of a true artist. With memorable hits like "Austin," Blake has demonstrated genuine artistry in the past, but "All About Tonight" greatly falls short of his previous standards. If I throw together a country hoedown anytime soon, this is one song that definitely will not make the party playlist.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chuck Wicks, "Hold That Thought"

When his debut single, "Stealing Cinderella," raced into the Top 5, Chuck Wicks' career started off with a bang. But afterwards, each single he released became less successful than the one before it. "All I Ever Wanted" missed the Top 10, and "Man of the House" barely wiggled its way into the Top 30. His popularity was boosted by a highly-publicized relationship with Julianne Hough, as well as their appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Now he has released the first single from his currently untitled second album, and he really needs to score another significant hit if he wants to avoid being written off as a one-hit wonder.

After giving this song a listen, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the lyrics make him sound a little desperate for attention. The song begins with the narrator telling his other half to picture the two of them lying in bed in the candlelight (Possibly speaking to her on the phone, as the lyrics indicate that they are apart). He tells her to let her mind run wild, and to imagine what the two of them will do together once they are reunited, and then he tells her to "Hold That Thought." It sounds like Chuck is trying to draw attention, and thus garner radio airplay, by getting sultry and sexy. That's not very artistic.

And now, here is the good news. The second-rate lyrics are elevated by the melody, production, and vocals. The song has a beautiful slow waltz tempo. In addition to the steel guitar fills, the song is backed by organ, giving it a unique bluesy vibe. The song is expertly sung - Chuck sounds more soulful than ever before. He and his producers have definitely succeeded in creating a tune that sounds genuinely different from anything else that is currently on the radio. Thus, despite the lyrical shortcomings, "Hold That Thought" is anything but forgettable. I think Chuck Wicks may have another hit on his hands.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Carrie Underwood, "Undo It"

Oh, Carrie, Carrie, Carrie. You won American Idol. You're a member of the Grand Ole Opry. You've won Grammy Awards, CMAs, and ACMs. You have become one of only a few women to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award, forever linking your name with those of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Shania Twain, and the Dixie Chicks. There's no denying the fact that you are a talented young woman with an awesome voice. Why would you waste that voice on a piece of fluff like this?

"Undo It" gets off to a promising start at the beginning, with a fiddle intro and opening verse that actually managed to grab my attention. But then the chorus rolls around, and the song goes down the toilet. Carrie is nearly drowned out by the overblown production. Don't get me started on the lyrics, which are downright ridiculous. "You stole my happy/ You made me cry/ Took the lonely and took me for a ride" - that does not make one bit of sense. Carrie might not be the grammar geek that I am, but any idiot should know the difference between adjectives and nouns. I still can't figure out what "Took the lonely and took me for a ride" is supposed to mean, or how this guy managed to steal her happy and take her lonely. I can't even see why any artist would pick this song out of some songwriter's portfolio, but even more surprising is the fact that Carrie actually wrote these bad lyrics with the help of a team of co-writers that includes Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. It seems her co-writers have not done her any favors.

One good thing about "Undo It" is that Carrie's vocal performance meets her usual standards. She pours a great deal of emotion and fury into this song, even though the song hardly deserves it. But when a song is this stupid and meaningless, there's not much anyone can do to save it. Not even the amazing Carrie Underwood can sell such an absurd set of lyrics. Overall, this is one of the dumbest songs Carrie Underwood has ever released. She needs to "uh...uh-uh-uh...uh-undo it"!

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tammy Cochran, "He Really Thinks He's Got It"

It's been several years since we last heard from Miss Tammy Cochran. She is best known for her 2001 Top 10 hit "Angels In Waiting" - a tribute to her two brothers, who had their young lives tragically snuffed out by cystic fibrosis. Three more Top 40 hits followed, but then she fell out of favor with the bigwigs at country radio. As of today, she has not charted a hit single in eight years.

Tammy's new single, the first from her brand-new album 30 Something and Single is a far cry from being an emotional tearjerker like "Angels In Waiting." Instead of making you cry, this one is more likely to give you a good chuckle. The song is set in a bar. The narrator is sitting at a table enjoying a nice cold Budweiser. All of a sudden, "Mr. 1979" comes walking in. Despite the fact that his youthful days have fled, he clearly considers himself to be one hot dude. With a confident swagger, he strolls over to Tammy's table and spits out an obnoxious pick-up line that makes her want to slap him. Still, she stays cool and acts as polite as you please. I don't want to spoil the song's ending, but when he sits down next to her, and his hand starts wandering around, let's just say that her manners go flying out the window.

"He Really Thinks He's Got It" appeals to a wide audience. No doubt, there are plenty of women out there who have encountered a "Mr. 1979" before, and can relate to the song. Furthermore, I'm sure there are plenty of men who would enjoy seeing a creepy and stuck-up jerk get what he deserves. Just about anyone can appreciate the humor in the lyrics. Despite Tammy's lack of commercial momentum, she does not sound like she is desperately pleading for radio airplay. She's not even aiming for a crossover pop hit; she just sounds like she's being herself. The song's production is simple, but thoroughly enjoyable to hear. Fiddles and steel guitars are prominently featured, which makes it sound just as country as can be. "He Really Thinks He's Got It" is a pure and simple pleasure, standing out in a sea of cookie-cutter country-pop. It is a foregone conclusion that this song will be largely ignored by country radio. But if you do get a chance to hear it, you can consider yourself very lucky.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

Miranda Lambert, "The House That Built Me"

Miranda Lambert has earned a reputation as the bad girl of country music, with aggressive girl-power anthems like "Kerosene" and "Gunpowder and Lead." On Miranda's latest release, she puts down her rifles and cigarettes, showing a more tender side. "The House That Built Me" is about a young woman visiting the house in which she grew up, hoping to reconnect with the lost innocence of her youth.

This is an excellent song that really gives your heartstrings a tug. The songwriters wisely avoided the use of trite expressions, making good use of imagery instead ("I thought if I could touch this place or feel it/ The brokenness inside me might start healing"). Normally, I would fully expect the producers to ruin a great song like this, but producers Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke widely avoid the pitfall of overblown production. The instrumentation is kept simple, consisting mainly of acoustic and steel guitar. The main instrument is Miranda's voice.

The narrator describes several significant features of the house ("These handprints on the front steps are mine") and even describes her father building it. In the bridge near the end of the song, she describes how "I got lost and I forgot who I am."  The song ends on an unresolved note, causing the listener to wonder if this woman accomplished her purpose and found what she was looking for, or if she was looking for something too far gone.

"The House That Built Me" is an artistic masterpiece that contrasts sharply with the slick and polished country-pop that has dominated country airwaves lately. It stands a good chance at winning a CMA Award for Single of the Year or Song of the Year. Whether it tops the charts or not, this is a song that Miranda's fans will always remember.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)