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Reviews - Page 5

Luke Bryan
Capitol Nashville
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Luke Bryan, ‘Crash My Party’ – Song Review

Luke Bryan's new song 'Crash My Party' would fit well on his last album 'Tailgates and Tanlines.' The ballad is a continuation of themes introduced with 'I Don't Want This Night to End' and 'Drunk on You,' two No. 1 hits for the ACM Entertainer of the Year. At first listen, it's difficult to become excited about a song that's so familiar. 

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Scotty McCreery
Mercury Nashville
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Scotty McCreery, ‘See You Tonight’ – Song Review

Scotty McCreery makes his songwriting debut on 'See You Tonight,' a mid-tempo love song that finds the 19-year-old not settling for a phone call or some distant "I love you" from the girl who holds his heart. It's the start of a new chapter for McCreery -- one that's much more important than his last. 

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Brad Paisley
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Brad Paisley, ‘Wheelhouse’ – Album Review

Brad Paisley's 'Wheelhouse' delivers a familiar mix of humor, life lessons and scorching guitar solos, but it does it in a way different from any of the other eight albums the 'Beat This Summer' singer has released. He took his old formula, balled it up, lit it on fire and tossed the ashes in the garbage. The result is a meaty and ambitious project that doesn't always click, but clears new ground when it does.

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Hunter Hayes
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Hunter Hayes, ‘I Want Crazy’ – Song Review

In his new song 'I Want Crazy.' Hunter Hayes doesn't soar like Ronnie Dunn or croon like Chris Young. His vocal performance is an exercise in diction -- and memory. Simply put, he packs a ton of words into a tight space without straining or slurring one idea into another. It's not easy. 

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Carrie-Underwood
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Carrie Underwood, ‘See You Again’ – Song Review

Carrie Underwood changed directions with the release of 'See You Again' as the fourth single from 'Blown Away.' The ballad is anything but dark and stormy. Instead it's an inspirational reminder that will be especially meaningful to fans who have lost someone close recently. 

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The Band Perry Pioneer
Republic Nashville
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Album Spotlight: The Band Perry, ‘Pioneer’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

The Band Perry's new album 'Pioneer' is just as dramatic, yet dramatically more steady than their debut effort. The bar was raised and reached vocally, and songs like 'Done,' 'Forever Mine Nevermind' and 'Chainsaw' prove the family trio has lost nothing in terms of lyrical edge. 

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Blake Shelton
Warner Music Nashville
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Blake Shelton, ‘Boys ‘Round Here’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

There is comedy in Blake Shelton singing with Pistol Annies, as he does on his new single 'Boys 'Round Here.' One imagines a country Hugh Hefner surrounded by his beauties. In real life, the Annies likely (very likely) don't attend to his every need and agree with him at all costs, but they do on this song, and it's absolutely charming. 

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Thompson Square
Anthony Baker
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Thompson Square, ‘Just Feels Good’ – Album Review

The best songs on Thompson Square's new album 'Just Feels Good' sound like a conversation between the two married lovers. Early on, their back-and-forth is light and playful. Later ballads take a more somber tone, but all that find the 'If I Didn't Have You' singers sharing lead are highlights from the duo's sophomore project.

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Blake-Shelton
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Album Spotlight: Blake Shelton, ‘Based on a True Story …’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Women who already think Blake Shelton singing is the sexiest thing since Johnny Castle pulled Baby from the corner may want to take the rest of the week off. The best moments on 'Based on a True Story ...' sizzle, and not in that ironic "bow-chicka-wow-wow" sort of way that's occasionally implied with this singer's sense of humor. Songs like 'Mine Would Be You' are safe to put on any red wine and candles soundtrack. Guys, you can thank Shelton via his Twitter account, if you'd like.

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James Wesley
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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James Wesley, ‘Thank a Farmer’ – Song Review

James Wesley has a real feel for the life and struggles of the blue-collar American. His new song 'Thank a Farmer' is similar to his previous Top 30 hit 'Real' in its honest, no-nonsense approach. The worst thing a singer can do with a song like either of these is come off as contrived. Wesley is a long way away from being accused of that. 

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Kacey Musgraves
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Kacey Musgraves, ‘Blowin’ Smoke’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

The magic of many of the songs on Kacey Musgraves' debut album -- including her new single 'Blowin' Smoke' -- is in the little details. 'Merry Go 'Round' thrived in efficient specificity. The follow-up is equally effective in its portrayal of a life waiting tables.

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Kacey Musgraves
Facebook
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Album Spotlight: Kacey Musgraves, ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ – ToC Critic’s Pick

Kacey Musgraves' Mercury Records debut album is everything a new artist dreams her first record will be. 'Same Trailer Different Park' is well-written, edgy (yet familiar) and coated in "cool." Musgraves is an original who at age 24 is surprisingly wise and adept at using her voice to share her experiences. 

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