TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2012:
1. Taylor Swift "Red"
2. Miranda Lambert "Fastest Girl In Town"
3. Charles Esten & Hayden Panettiere "Undermine"
4. Lionel Richie ft. Jennifer Nettles "Hello"
5. Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
6. Eden's Edge "Too Good To Be True"
7. Eric Church "Creepin'"
8. Kelly Clarkson ft. Vince Gill "Don't Rush"
9. Luke Bryan "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"
10. Kix Brooks ft. Joe Walsh "New To This Town"
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COMMENTS: ( QuandaryCollapse ) "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" has the sort of glorying in self-deception that country lyricists and singers drool over; and even if the sound is fundamentally pop, there's a clarity in the arrangement that likely comes from country. Meanwhile, "Red" is the first time Taylor's written what sounds like an actual teenybopper song, as if it had been created during an elementary school exercise in beginning poetry. That's meant as a huge compliment.
Hayden Panettiere, who as a true teenpopper had thoroughly bored me, suddenly has a bead on my emotions. Talk about finding her voice.
I don't know if "Don't Rush" is a direction for Kelly Clarkson or just a blip. She was confused and feckless on her last two albums, the wrong big blast of this person's and that person's pop rock. And now here she is in '70s middle-of-the-road warmth and pain, and the richness of her pipes returns. And Lionel Richie, who to a good extent defined '70s middle-of-the-road warmth and pain, provides a terrific setting for Jennifer Nettles' half sandblaster of a voice, lushness that doesn't lose its gristle.
Lots of great male voices in country, which is fortunate because in every other genre I pay attention to the men tend to sound ridiculous.