Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wynonna, "Love It Out Loud"

Songwriters:  Wynonna Judd, Cactus Moser

On hearing a new track from Wynonna, one might wonder if it will be closer to the classic "No One Else On Earth" version of Wynonna, or the underwhelming "I Will Stand By You" version.  As it turns out, her new single is definitely closer to the former.  Much closer.

"Love It Out Loud" was written as a tribute to Wynonna's mother and musical cohort Naomi Judd.  But instead of laying on the sap, "Love It Out Loud" turns out to be a rocking throwback to Wynonna's "No One Else On Earth" glory days.  Fiddles and electric guitars sit side by side in a driving country-rock arrangement, yet Wynonna's Ferrari of a voice continually acts as the main instrument.  Her voice shows some signs of wear, but that does not detract from our listening enjoyment in the least.  She throws herself into the performance head on with all the gritty soulfulness that has characterized her best work.  Her voice rises from a deep growl to an aggressive roar while exuding a punctuated swagger in a consistently engaging performance.

Besides the obvious fact that "Love It Out Loud" is such an unabashedly cool record, it has a heart and a message at the core of all that toe-tapping fun, not to mention a great title hook.  "Love isn't love, really love, until you love it out loud," Wynonna sings with fierce conviction.  Isn't that true?  'Love isn't love until you love it out loud' is great advice that could be applied in just about any relationship scenario, whether it be a parent-child relationship or a romantic relationship.  The chorus is surrounded by a variety of quirky rapid-fire rhymes that don't always have a close tangible connection with the title hook, but that still contribute to the consistently interesting lyrical content.

Had it been released in the mid to late nineties, "Love It Out Loud" would have totally torn up the charts.  Whether it will do so today is less certain.  One thing is for sure:  If country radio programmers ignore it, they will be ignoring what is hands down one of the best country singles of 2011.

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