“And I can’t help but stare, cause I see truth somewhere in your eyes”. Some lyrics in music are so deep you can’t stop yourself from feeling it. Good music doesn’t have an expiration date. You can listen forever and still feel like yesterday. Likewise, when you read good words about your favorite music, it gives a level of satisfaction. Here are the latest music reviews from the past week on ListenOnRepeat.
Eric Church – Stick That In Your Country Song (Audio)
Eric Church takes a different approach for his new track, “Stick That In Your Country Song.” From the first notes, and from the tone of his voice, it might feel like we are in familiar territory, but the lyrics paint a very different story. Rather than looking up at the red, white, and blue flag and feeling a sense of pride, it is a sense of foreboding that descends: “Jails are full, the factories empty / Mamas crying, young boys dying / Under that red, white and blue still flying.” This marks a stark and welcome shift from many songs sung in Church’s accent, and he is bound to receive a good deal of backlash for daring to twist country convention in this way.
Yet, for those who want to look into it, there has been a long history of protest in country music, and in its close cousin, the blues. Think Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Joan Baez… it’s just that the popified country of today’s radio play rarely leaves room for anything that strays from the party line. The church is part of a different crowd, therefore, and he knows it. In a chorus that ascends to rock ‘n’ roll heights, he asks people to “stick that in your country song/ take that one to number one” … he knows full well that he’s created an affront to the commercial community running country music today.
“Stick That In Your Country Song” was written as part of a month-long recording retreat that Church took in the mountains of North Carolina just before lockdown hit at the beginning of the year. It’s a central line, the one shared by the song’s title, was apparently contributed by country songwriting veteran Jeffrey Steele. Responses will be interesting for this one – atop comment reads: “This song describes EXACTLY how I feel about today’s music nowadays.” Another reads: “This isn’t really country.”
The Chicks – March March
“If your voice held no power, they wouldn’t try to silence you” – is the quote that appears at the beginning of this new release. “Use your voice, use your vote” is the first line in the video’s description, a rallying call for the upcoming US election. What follows is a list of initiatives to follow including Black Lives Matter, Human Rights Campaign, March For Our Lives, Native American Rights Funk, Planned Parenthood, White People For Black Lives, and more. It is clear that with this new track, The Chicks are looking to raise awareness and to affect change. But what kind of change? And – who are The Chicks?
Indeed, a song released one day ago that already has hundreds of thousands of views seems likely to have come from a source that everybody recognizes. Well, The Chicks used to be The Dixie Chicks until a few hours ago, and the name change comes at a time where cultural shifts are in the air. But the platinum-selling trio has always been a pariah of Nashville, ever since 2003 when they criticized George Bush on the eve of the Iraq invasion. The word “Dixie” does not fit with their ethos, as it recalls a dominant culture in the segregationist South, and from now on they will be known by a different name, one that contains no tacit acceptance of dark history.
In a statement, the once darlings of conservative country radio said “We want to meet this moment.” And while debates rage over Confederate statues and racist history, the group has released their new song “March March,” featuring a video that includes many images of current and past protests. All kinds of causes are brought to the fore: Black Lives Matter, Pride, women’s rights… it is a statement of their values that we are seeing projected.
Watch The Chicks – March March
Trevor Daniel, Selena Gomez – Past Life [Lyrics]
2020 began with Selena Gomez sharing her first album in four years. Her fans knew that she had been going through a tough time – it has been the narrative of her young career since the Disney and Bieber days – and Rare was an LP that sought to close that chapter of her life. Its tracks were mostly geared towards building self-confidence, and shaking off the dust of the past, with a few bitter notes thrown in for good measure. All in all, it seemed that Gomez was over it, but not quite over it. “Past Life” is her latest offering, has anything changed?
The track was originally released by Trevor Daniel on his debut album Nictonie, and Gomez is featuring on a new remix of the song, rather than coming up with something entirely new. Daniel is the perfect candidate for a collab – few artists have shot to the top as impressively and as quickly as he has done, with Tiktok viral streaks playing a large part. Suitably, the video for this song takes the form of an Instagram to live, and we get the impression that we are seeing the duet happen in real-time, though the sound is obviously added afterward.
On deciding to take on the project, Gomez stated: “When I heard the song the first time, I loved the fact that it was kind of like a story about all the things that we tend to hold onto and the patterns that we have.” This idea chimed with the singer, and she added “And I’m very, very vocal about my personal experiences making decisions that aren’t necessarily healthy for me.”
Overall, “Past Life” plays with themes that Gomez is very used to. It doesn’t so much look back on a ‘past life,’ instead suggesting that the ‘past life’ in question has only just finished and that now is the time to heal.
Rascal Flatts – How They Remember You (Lyric Video)
Sitting pretty at the number 6 spot on the iTunes charts is “How They Remember You,” a new track by Rascal Flatts. If you have never heard of them, then your older siblings probably have. This is their 20th anniversary, and the group has decided to mark the occasion with a farewell tour “Life is a Highway,” which was meant to kick off in Indianapolis on June 11. Now, with the advent of Covid-19 and everything it means for society, the band’s grand finale has been put on hold. “You know, quite frankly, 2020 has really sucked for everybody,” said Jay DeMarcus, one member of the trio alongside Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney.
But fans won’t have to wait until full reopening to reconnect with Rascal Flatts. Indeed, they have just released a new single, which shares its name with the title of their EP, due to come out on July 31. More projects are also in the pipeline: Jay has a show coming out on Netflix and Gary has spoken about a solo album for the near future that will focus on Christian rock.
For fans of the group, the last two decades must have seemed like a series of hits, and they are certainly sorry to see the boys go. A top comment on their new lyric video reads: “Did you stand or did you fall, build a bridge or a wall? What did you choose? When it all goes down, it’s how they remember you.” This quote from the lyrics perfectly sums up the song’s thrust. Essentially, “How They Remember You” is a track about legacy. It works on a central notion truth: people will remember you … the question is, how?
Ozuna – Mi Niña (Video Oficial)
Mi Niña means “My girl” in English. This new track is a homage to daughters everywhere, told through the voices of several different fathers. It is interesting that this was released just two days before the international holiday, Father’s Day. Rather than being a celebration of fatherhood, with grateful children praising their male role models, the kids are pretty much silent. Instead, a series of Dads let their daughters know just how much they mean to them. It can often be a different bond – the one between a daughter and her father – and here we see all the frankness and the protectiveness played out, as well as a healthy dose of ‘my little princess’ mentality.
Indeed, when the lyrics are translated from Spanish into English, we see that they are full of references to ‘princesses,’ and to ‘god’s children,’ but behind the sugary language are values of self-respect, and of having the strength to overcome life’s difficult moments. Ozuna has made a sincere track with this one, much more so than his recent release “Caramelo,” which looked like sexualized Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Latin trap singer and “New King of Reggaeton” is showing his sentimental side, and fans are bound to love it.
The official video is not all about Ozuna, though. We see different fathers in different places, each one engaging in a strong bond with their daughters. It is diverse – families from many different ethnic backgrounds are given representation. In between these clips, Ozuna performs in a white room with crayon marks all over the floor and the walls. The message is clear: despite his rapper lifestyle, Ozuna wants people to know that he is very much in his daughter’s life. It has shot to the top of charts, and fans are clearly appreciating seeing a different side to his persona.