6: Where the Problem Starts, Faith Alexa- Faith Alexa knows just Where The Problem Starts, all it takes is a sip or two of tequila to get Alexa going, and then she can’t seem to cut herself off. While Alexa has dabbled in other types of alcohol, tequila just hits her differently and in a way she simply can’t resist. Alexa shines as a vocalist and storyteller throughout this playful track about her irresistible vice.
5: El Paso, Jenna Paulette- A beautifully penned love song remarking on reality of the loneliness of the music business, El Paso features Paulette missing her hometown and her boyfriend, as she tries to embrace life on the road. Paulette reflects on the contrast between her and her boyfriend, stating that he has “both feet on the ground,” while she’s “on the moon up so high,” and this contrast is what makes them work so well. The RnB infused track and Paulette’s honeyed vocal are a beautiful blend and they compare together to make El Paso a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
4: Whiskey on You, Nate Smith- There comes a time in all failed relationships where we start to ponder all the time that we’ve wasted away with someone who turns out not to be the one. In Smith’s case he’s sick and tired of wasting all of his whiskey drinking thoughts on the one that got away, and instead is ready to focus on moving on, leaving his ex with one final toast “here’s to us happily never after all.” Smith’s raspy vocal adds a gritty dynamic to the strongly penned track that has the makings of a breakout track from Smith.
3: On A Beach, Callie Prince- In need of a break from the hustle and bustle, and the overall mundanity of everyday life, Callie Prince finds her peace On A Beach, sipping a margarita with some sugar. Prince uses this trip as an excuse to find herself, ‘getting wasted’ and hanging out in the sun getting ‘baked’. Prince’s vocal is smooth and strong throughout this wanderlust filled track.
2: Open the Gate, Zach Bryan- Recounting the story of a family of bull riders, Zach Bryan’s unique form of storytelling shines bright on Open The Gate. Bryan tells the story of a young bull rider trying to reach heights that his father never could, and working his tail off to get to where needs to be to achieve success. Singular focused on outdoing his father, the young bull rider is all revved up and is pleading for the gate to be opened, so he can show the world that his “better than” his father ever was. Open The Gate is a departure from the timeless heartbreakers that Bryan typically releases, which allows it stand apart from from the rest.
1: Thought You Should Know, Morgan Wallen- Centered around a late phone call between Wallen and his mother, Thought You Should Know has the potential to go down as the song of the year. Wallen finds himself on the road and realizes that he “ain’t been home in some months,” when he feels the urge to call him mom and catch her up on all that’s been happening in his life. The song’s chorus is truly marvelous as Wallen remarks on how he’s living out everything he ever dreamt, as his mom’s prayers “must’ve finally made their way on through.” Throughout the song Wallen is grateful and there is a true sweetness and relatability that accompany the conversational lyrics. Wallen lets listeners in on an private and personal conversation, and this unfiltered vulnerability is what sets this track apart from so many others.
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