Tag Archives: country

#1 Country Billboard Song for May 7, 2011

9 May

I’ve been very fascinated studying the Top Country Billboard songs, both as a songwriter myself and as a country music lover. Sometimes I wonder what really gets a song up to that glamorous #1 spot each week. As a songwriter, these are songs that I am looking to and pursuing as I follow my dream to that #1 spot.

Kenny Chesney’s “Live a Little” found its way to #1 for the week of May 7, 2011 and was written by David Lee Murphy and Shane Minor. I find that this song has a message that people can relate to, but doesn’t say it in a unique way. I find nothing fresh or new about this idea of “stressed out running late…..I need to live a little, have a little fun” It’s very vague with no real story line and no real hook that grabs you. The guitar intro sounds cool for a few bars, but gets annoying after listening the same lick over and over again. This is all just my opinion, but this is not a song that I would run out and download and I feel like in a month from now, no one will even know what song this is, so why is this song worthy of the #1 song in the country?

I’m not the only one that feels this way about this song. Here are few critics from Wikipedia who agree:

“Giving the single a “thumbs down”, Karlie Justus of The 9513 thought that Chesney’s singing sounded disinterested; she also thought that its subject matter was too similar to other songs of his, and that it had a very similar melody to his 2005 single “Keg in the Closet.”

Kevin John Coyne of Country Universe gave the song a C grade, saying that the song starts with a “pure pop/rock intro” and then transitions into acoustic country but eventually “disintegrates to generic Chesney: loud but not assertive, cute but not clever, upbeat but not uplifting.”

Here is what countrycharttalk.com had to say about the song: “Live a Little,” the third single from Kenny’s current album Hemingway’s Whiskey, is a safe and predictable up-tempo with a simple message:  “Live a little, love a lot…. Have some fun.”  Sound familiar?  Possibly because half of Kenny’s hit catalog trumpets that same message?  Or because the melody sounds like a carbon copy of “Keg In the Closet”?

Ok so let’s look at the positive side. Roughstock.com said about the song: “It starts out with a compressed sketch of work-induced stress, followed by a simple “I gotta get my priorities straight” that sounds just about as honest and real as can be. From that, we get an equally simple chorus about living a little, having fun and a second verse about fun on a Friday night. Maybe a couple of the details are things you’ve heard in a Kenny Chesney song before (yes, even a single line about the beach), but they don’t feel like a mere rehash.”

So as you can see, most of the reviews are negative, so why do country music listeners and country music radio love this song so much that it shot up to that number one spot? Is it the familiar melody? The simple message of live a little and have some fun? Or is it just because it’s Kenny Chesney’s signature sound and performance? What do you think?