Cowgirls Don’t Cry – Brooks & Dunn
Maybe the speaker in Toby Keith’s “She Never Cried in Front of Me” wasn’t so obtuse after all. Maybe he was just in a relationship with the main character of this song, a woman raised to hide her emotions at every turn. Even when she realizes that her husband’s carousing is tearing apart their home, she doesn’t bother confronting him about it: She didn’t let him see it break her heart / She didn’t let him see her fall apart. As though being uncommunicative and emotionally cloistered is something to celebrate.
These Are the Good Ole Days – James Otto
The cool groove of this song makes the lyrics mostly irrelevant, which is probably for the best since they’re not the sort that can bear much critical scrutiny. This will sound good on the radio, which is really all it’s meant to do.
She’s So California – Gary Allan
Cool voice and cool steel licks, but the song is disappointingly insubstantial. Gary Allan can do better.
USA Today – Lee Greenwood
If you need evidence of sloppy songwriting on Alan Jackson’s part, take note: (1) This is basically patriotic elevator muzak, yet (2) it still manages to use the hook to better effect than the Jackson song of the same title.
I’ve Got the Scars to Prove It – The Road Hammers
I have an idea. Let’s choose a bunch of tough guy words and string them together into a series of nonsensical images. Here, I’ll start: Oh and busted bones and dreams and tears tattoo my heart like souvenirs. Songwriting is so easy.
Battle with the Bottle – Sebastian Bach
The song is fairly repetitive and Bach’s vocal is overwhelmed by the production at times, but overall this is actually a surprisingly decent country debut. The way his voice cuts through the mix on words like “fight” and “can’t” is especially enjoyable.