Archive | August, 2011

#1 Country Billboard Song for September 3, 2011

31 Aug

Dierks Bentley returns to the top of the country charts this week after venturing back to his roots with a bluegrass album entitled “Up on the Ridge.” His bluegrass project yielded two singles, “Up on the Ridge” which peaked at #21 and “Draw Me a Map” which peaked at #33 so it’s nice to see Dierks back at the top of country radio with the fun upbeat song “Am I the Only One.” Bentley quotes ” I wanted to come back with a song that was fun for fans and fun for country radio and fun for us to play every night.” (Wikipedia)

Although “Am I the Only One” doesn’t have much lyrical content to it, it is a fun party song and portrays exactly who Bentley is in his live shows. The song is simply about a guy who wants to go out and party on a Friday night, but none of his buddies are willing to go out with him. The catchy melody sucks you in as Bentley asks  “Am I the only one who wants to have fun tonight?” My favorite line is “If I have to raise hell all by myself I will, but ya’ll that ain’t right”

What do you think about Dierks’ return to the country music charts? Does “Am the Only One” match up with his list of  top 10 songs which include “What was I thinkin'”, “How am I doin'” and “Sideways?”

#1 Country Billboard Song for August 20, 2011

28 Aug

This week Lady Antebellum tops the charts with “Just a Kiss.” The three members of Lady Antebellum, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, are not only powerful performers, but they are great songwriters. Together with songwriter Dallas Davidson they wrote what I believe to be one of their strongest ballads, “Just a Kiss,” which is the first single from their new CD “Own the Night.” Dallas Davidson has a few credits of his own with #1 songs including “Gimme That Girl,” “All About Tonight” and even the recent #1 “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.”

The trio and Davidson took on the challenge of writing a slow country ballad, which can be very over done  and become very cliché. But with the powerhouse vocals of Hillary Scott and the deep sultry vocals from Charles Kelley, the song’s simple lyrics reach out and touch listeners in a unique way. With lyrics like “I’ve never opened up to anyone – So hard to hold back when I’m holding you in my arms” they build the suspense of a new found love.

After setting up the story, the song dives right into the chorus with “Just a Kiss on your lips in the moonlight, Just a touch of the fire burning so bright.” Lines such as “No I don’t want to mess this thing up; I don’t want to push too far” round out the chorus, and turn what could be the same old love story into a unique spin that most people can relate to at some point in their lives. Everyone has been at that point where they are falling in love and feel like they may say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing and mess up something great.

I think the four writers were very smart to tell such a common story in such a unique way. Even though the lyrics are so simple, they really relate to people’s everyday lives and combined with the catchy melody and powerful performance, this is certainly a download for me. How about you?

#1 Country Billboard Song for August 13, 2011

4 Aug

Zac Brown Band sits at the top of the country charts with a beach themed song called “Knee Deep,” which in typical Zac Brown fashion was written by Zac Brown and two guys in the band, Wyatt Durrete and Coy Bowles. But this time they enlisted the songwriting skills of Jeffrey Steele, who has written a number of songs, most notably “What Hurts the Most” for Rascal Flatts. For the recording of “Knee Deep” the band brought in the master of beach music, Jimmy Buffett, to do vocals with the group.

Although I do find this song to be relaxing and a fun summer song, I feel like Zac Brown has already over done the beach theme. With lines such as “I think I found my own kind of paradise,” I find “Knee Deep” to be very similar to their other #1 hits, “Toes” and “Free.”  Oddly enough it was almost exactly a year ago (August 10, 2010) to the date that Zac Brown reached number one with their carefree song “Free.” While all three of these songs have catchy melodies, I find their lyrics are very vague and don’t have much substance. In “Knee Deep,” Zac Brown hits the top of the chorus with “Wish I was knee deep in the water somewhere,” but doesn’t really put you in the scene. He brings in some imagery with lines such as “Only worry in the world  is the tide gonna reach my chair,” but then follows that with vague lines such as “Never been so happy, never felt so high.” I understand that these songs are just meant to be feel good summer songs, but they seem to be the song of the season and then quickly fade out.

Then there’s a song like “Margaritaville” that continues to stand the test of time. Thirty years after the song debuted, “Margaritaville” remains an extremely popular summer anthem. I think it has a lot to do with the lyrics. Buffett is so descriptive and really puts you in the scene. From the very beginning, where he says: “Nibblin on sponge cake, watching the sun bake, all of those tourists covered with oil,” you can just see Buffet sitting in the hot sun on the beach. Then, he takes us to Margaritaville with his lyrics and easy flowing melody. Lines like “Smell of shrimp they’re beginning to boil” and  “Blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top” appeal to the senses. And of course who can forget the singable hook, “Wastin’ away in Margaritaville, searching for my lost shaker of salt.”

So will “Knee Deep” stand the test of time and be a popular summer theme song 30 years from now? What do you think?