What We’re Listening To: January Picks
NYCountry Swag’s “What We’re Listening To” playlist highlights the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre. At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all what we’ve got on repeat each month.
Find below each of our team member’s favorite songs and why in our January picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “Beer Don’t” – Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Jake Mitchell, Michael Hardy, Morgan Wallen
It’s been a little over a week since Morgan Wallen released his monster of a project, Dangerous: The Double Album, and let’s face it, from top to bottom it’s pretty much the only thing I’ve been listening to over and over again. It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite of the thirty songs, but something about “Beer Don’t” just brings me right to summertime concerts at Jones Beach. This song is an instant mood booster and I can not wait to be enjoying it in the pit with a beer in hand while all of our fellow country music fans sing back every word to the tailgate anthem.
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “Livin’ The Dream” – Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Ben Burgess, Jacob Durret, Michael Hardy, Morgan Wallen
I feel like I am responsible for at least half of the insane amount of streams that Morgan Wallen has racked up over the past 12 days since releasing his sophomore record, Dangerous: The Double Album. While I could write a novel about each of the songs and why I can’t stop listening, one of the most poignant to me is “Livin’ the Dream”. In our world, where all that is shown on social media is a true highlight reel, it’s important to fully grasp how things may not be what they seem. The cadence of the track portrays the constant going, going, going that artists usually feel as well as the exhausting act that needs to be painted of living the “perfect life”.
“Judgin’ by my long hair, you might think I don’t care / Sittin’ here, sippin’ and bitchin’ about a spot where / People would kill to be, kill to be, kill to be / But y’all, it ain’t as good as it seems, this livin’ the dream is / Killin’ me, killin’ me, killin’ me”
Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Better Than We Found It” – Maren Morris
Songwriters: Jessie Jo Dillon, Jimmy Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz
Maren Morris’ “Better Than We Found It” has been on repeat lately as I reflect on the last two months, which in some ways feel like two separate years. But I’m allowing myself to be hopeful this week. The song is gorgeous sonically – Morris’ voice on the chorus soars, and the drums sound like a march, which is the perfect parallel to the lyrics. “When lines of tomorrow are drawn/Can I live with the side that I chose to be on?/Will we sit on our hands, do nothing about it?/Or will we leave this world better than we found it?”. Many things will remain unsolved even after Wednesday’s historical event, but we will be moving towards a kinder future, and I’m on board with that. As Morris and Vince Gill sing on their song “Dear Hate”, released 4 years ago, “love’s gonna conquer all”.
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Still Goin Down” – Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Michael Hardy, Morgan Wallen, Ryan Vojtesak
Morgan Wallen will be the most talked-about artist in Nashville for the next few months—perhaps for all of 2021. With 30 tracks (32 on the Target edition), Dangerous: The Double Album was a lot to take in, but it was 100+ minutes of genuine, enjoyable music. I was going to just pick my favorite song to include as my pick, which would probably be “Sand in My Boots” or “865,” but “Still Goin Down” is the one I constantly find myself singing in my head. It’s super catchy (no surprise, it’s a HARDY co-wrote) and paints a nice picture of a southern, Friday night.
He says “Ain’t groundbreaking. Makin’ sound for them drop-it-down tailgaters. But y’all that’s all I know how to say.” It’s funny how he knows these types of songs are cliché in the industry but still cuts them on the record anyway. Although he shows a lot of vulnerability on the first half of the record, the country way of life will always be a part of him and it wouldn’t be a Morgan Wallen album if he didn’t include songs like this one
“We’re sippin’ clear, drinkin’ beer on a Friday night / Every country girl got on her cut offs / Shakin’ her hips, take a trip, buddy tell me I’m a liar / Still circle up big trucks around a fire / Still kickin’ up some dust behind the tires / Call it cliché, but hey, just take it from me / It’s still goin’ down out in the country”
Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Giving You Up” – Kameron Marlowe
Songwriters: Kameron Marlowe
I always love finding new artists who are just coming on to the country music scene. I first heard Kameron Marlowe’s song “Giving You Up” on Sirius XM’s The Highway back in the fall and instantly loved the lyrics and meaning behind the song.
“Cause I’m giving you up // Just like I did them Marlboro Lights // And I’m giving you up // The same way I did the whiskey on ice // And it’s all so tough // You turn me into a man I don’t even recognize // I’m giving you up // The same way you did me out in the moonlight”
Marlowe wrote a breakup song almost everyone can relate to- finally having to say goodbye to someone who once meant so much, something country music excels at time and time again.
Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Here For It (Live)” – Lily Rose
Songwriters: Lily Rose, Sarah Forbes
Lily Rose is one of those artists that I found on a whim. Someone on Instagram had put up a song of hers, and as someone who is always looking to find new music, I immediately started listening. Normally the songs that the people from my hometown or the plethora of entertainment industry folk post are not my cup of tea. It can be difficult to find music that speaks to you or even falls in your lane at all, and mixing that fact with the widely diverse group of people that are on your following list is almost a lost cause. Every once in a while though, you find something. Something that speaks to you. A piece of gold that was almost mistaken for a shiny, stained rock.
“Here for It (Live)” is one of those. As a sucker for a good, soothing presence of the piano, Rose caught my attention before her lyrics had soared deliciously smooth and easy over the instrument. And, when her voice did appear like the first hint of pink over the horizon before the sun had yet to peak its way out, I knew. I knew this artist was someone to look out for. And I knew this song would be played on a loop for weeks to come.
Caleigh DeCaprio, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Line By Line” – JP Saxe and Maren Morris
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, JP Saxe, Maren Morris, Ryan Marrone
The lyrics and the meaning behind this song make it one of my all-time favorites and it’s only been out a week. JP Saxe and Maren Morris wrote this song together about their fellow songwriter, significant others, Julia Michaels and Ryan Hurd. JP Saxe and Julia Michaels met the day that they wrote “If the World Was Ending” together, which a year ago this time, I had on repeat constantly. I’ve been a huge fan of Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd, their music separately, and their story together for years now. On top of that, much like Maren, I am a sucker for songs about songs. Not only is this a beautifully written song and message, but it was inspired and written by two couples and four artists whose songwriting and stories I already loved so much.
“When it comes to you I’m still tryna find the words / A love too big for a love song / If I try to sum it up I know I’d get it wrong / sometimes if it don’t sound right / I apologize I just said it cause it rhymed” When the song was released, the two artists completed the chorus in their social media posts:
JP Saxe: “four chords, three minutes, you’d never fit in it, so I just take you line by line … (what happens when songwriters write songs about loving other songwriters..)
Maren Morris: “to our muses: we’ll be writing about you for the rest of our lives”
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Redwood Tree” – Cam
Songwriters: Tyler Johnson, Anders Mouridsen, Cam
“I saw the world, You saw my parents grow old / You’ve got your roots, And I’ve got the wind, The wind in my soul”
Pick: “Undivided” – Tim McGraw Featuring Tyler Hubbard
Songwriters: Chris Loocke, Tyler Hubbard
My January pick is “Undivided” by Tim Mcgraw and Tyler Hubbard. It’s my pick because it’s truly a song that was well needed in today’s world. It’s the perfect reminder that yes, we all have different views but one thing we can all agree on is we need more love and less judgment in the world.
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “God, Sex, & Shame” – Lacy Cavalier
Songwriters: Lacy Cavalier
I have been a big fan of Lacy Cavalier for a while now. Her ability to blur genres, create masterful lyrics, and speak her truth is so relatable and genuine. Her newest song “God, Sex, & Shame”, my January pick, might be her most honest and vulnerable to date.
“There’s all these fucking rules about heaven / I don’t even know what I believe in / But I’m tired of hearing how I won’t get in / If I ain’t no cuz I ain’t a virgin”
Opening up about growing up religious and the pressures associated with being a certain way, Cavalier bears her soul on the track. Moreover, her music video is nothing short of spectacular. I am always rooting for Lacy, and I hope more and more people fall in love with her one of a kind talent and craft.
Listen to our picks on our “What We’re Listening To” playlist on Spotify and be sure to give it a follow, so you can catch our monthly updates.