What if we based our opinion of every singer on his or her worst song?
– George Jones would be known for “I’m a People,” not “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
– Randy Travis couldn’t get through an interview without being asked about “I’ll Be Right Here Loving You.”
– Every Dolly Parton retrospective would begin and end with “Drunkenstein.”
– Jamey Johnson’s lasting legacy would be “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Rebelicious.”
– We’d never let Miranda Lambert live “Over You” down.
Now, can I tell you a secret?
That’s kind of already how things work.
You can’t try to sell us one or two bad songs without undermining, in a subtle but important way, the trust you’ve built with all the others. If everything else you do is wonderful, the times you failed to impress might end up as minor blips on the radar. But they’ll still be blips, even years down the road. We’ll still remember what you’re capable of – good and bad – and approach anything you offer with the caution you’ve taught us.
Even if you’re just filling space around presumptive singles, every song matters. Better choose carefully.