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 September picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “Be Like That” – Kane Brown
Songwriters: Alexander Izquierdo, Kane Brown, Khalid Robinson, Khalif Brown, Mike Will, Ryan Vojtesak
This month I chose Kane Brown’s “Be Like That”. I am a sucker for a BOP and this song delivers. I first heard the track before it was released during his opening night of the Worldwide Beautiful Tour back in February and was instantly hooked. It’s the perfect song to put on and jam along to when you just need a little extra energy. I also love a good collaboration and the way Kane Brown continues to blur the lines and explore sounds outside of country music makes him one of the most talked-about artists across the music industry as a whole. This one will be on my ‘on repeat’ list for a while and I’m excited to see it continue to climb the charts on Top 40 radio.
Pick: “You’re The Love I Wanna Be In” – Jason Aldean
Songwriters: Jason Aldean, John Rich, Vickey McGehee
This throwback from 2005, Jason Aldean’s debut self-titled record was one of the first songs I ever heard when I started really getting into modern country music in high school. The simple story song pulls you in and has you pulling for the underdog in a relationship. I’ve watched artists like Aldean evolve so much over the course of the past 15 years and although I am a huge fan of modern country and how it has changed, sometimes I love going back to those original hits that really honed in my love for the genre and the storytelling.
Pick: “All The Cool Girls” – Hailey Whitters
Songwriters: Jessie Jo Dillon, Brett Tyler, Hailey Whitters
I feel like there’s never a time where I’m not listening to Hailey Whitters. Ever since her debut record, The Dream, came out last February, I’ve had it on repeat. My favorite switches, but at the moment I’m listening to “All The Cool Girls” pretty consistently. There’s so much I love about the song – the references to Shakesphere and Bob Dylan (Midsummer Night Dream, Tangled up in Blue), how sonically, it sounds straight out of a mystery movie, and how retro Hailey’s voice sounds on the track. At some points, it almost sounds to me like she’s taking a long-distance phone call. It’s a song that I can’t compare to any other song: it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before. Hailey Whitters is truly an artist with a unique vision and her work reflects it perfectly. I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Pick: “For A Boat” – Luke Bryan
Songwriters: Randy Montana, Josh Thompson, Mike Walker
I really enjoyed Luke Bryan’s new album, Born Here Live Here Die Here, but “For A Boat” stood out to me a little more than the rest. If you read my monthly picks, you know by now I love songs about nostalgia and growing up because I like to relate their experiences with mine. Although I grew up comfortably in terms of finances, we were far from rich and this song is about loving what you have and not what you don’t. I think, and obviously Bryan does as well, a lot of good life lessons can be learned from growing up in the middle class.
He’d say “love what you got, buddy, not what you ain’t / and just about then that bobber would sink / and that outboard dream of mine would disappear / I grew up pretty luck as far as lucky goes / Too broke for a boat
Pick: “Bar Back” – Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: David Garcia, Hillary Lindsay, Lauren Alaina, Jon Nite
Most of us have a favorite dive bar, whether it be in our hometown or a city or town you currently live in. A dive bar is all about comfort, familiar faces, and the feeling of being where you belong. Lauren Alaina hits home to a lot of people when she sings about wanting her bar back and not wanting to run into an ex there, which a lot of us can relate to. Alaina talks about giving up and giving back her favorite things like an old sweatshirt, a favorite song, and even her church service all just to have her favorite bar back.
I’ll give you back that sweatshirt, the one that I love // And you can keep our favorite song ‘Like Jesus Does’ // And that 8th Avenue, Sunday 9 AM service // You can have all that, I’ll even change churches but // I’m taking back that little hole in the wall // The red door sign saying come on in y’all // The Deep Eddie shots, the bartender Nick // The smokey patio with all my rowdy friends // You can have any bar that you want / But not this one // In midtown, find a new place to hang out // Better not see you around again // ‘Cause I’m takin’ my bar back
Of course, any song with an Eric Church reference (peep the “Like Jesus Does” mention) is already a winner in my book. I think just about anyone can substitute their favorite things into this song to make it personal to them, and that’s something Alaina does so well: being relatable.
Pick: “Got What I Got” – Jason Aldean
Songwriters: Alexander Palmer, Michael Tyler, Thomas Archer
Jason Aldean’s “Got What I Got” is his first single in (what feels like) a while that relies more on storytelling by focusing primarily on the lyrics rather than utilizing dense layers of instrumental accompaniment. And though the entertainer did not play a role in writing the track, Aldean seems to take the message to heart in both the production of the song itself as well as the family-oriented, intimate homemade video.
The song tugs at the heartstrings, which is where Aldean’s artistry is fully portrayed in such a way that moves and inspires the listener. This is executed in his 2018 single “You Make It Easy” in addition to earlier numbers such as “The Truth” from his 2009 album Wide Open and “Laughed Until We Cried” from the former album titled Relentless.
With “Got What I Got”, Aldean seems to have returned to one of his many successful approaches in music that deal with emotion, vulnerability, and tenderness. And the execution is as strong as ever.
Pick: “I Should Probably Go To Bed” – Dan + Shay
Songwriters: Sean Douglas, Dan Smyers, Jason Evigan, Shay Mooney
When Dan + Shay released their self-titled album in 2018 I loved every single song. Since then I’ve been itching for new music, and they did not disappoint with “I Should Probably Go To Bed”. The first time I heard it I was blown away by the vocals, the harmonies, the production, and the lyrics. We have all been in a situation where we (or a friend) were in danger of saying or doing something we’d regret. The song is relatable to everyone, and I can’t wait to hear more new music!
Pick: “Betty” – Taylor Swift
Songwriters: Taylor Swift, William Bowery
My pick for September is “Betty” by Taylor Swift. Taylor is one of the first artists that made me a country music fan and I am so thankful for that. However, when she switched genres it was hard to not picture her in the country scene anymore. With every new album there was always that hope she would go back to her roots. While it was a long wait, it finally happened with “Betty”. Putting out this song shows that she didn’t forget where her career started. Hopefully there will be more “country Taylor” to come in the future.
Pick: “A ROCK” – HARDY
Songwriters: Jake Mitchell, HARDY, Smith Ahnquist
At this rate, my monthly pick should just be called my HARDY pick because it feels like all I do is pick a song by him! However, it is much deserved. Time and time again, HARDY proves that he is a force to be reckoned with and that he is quite possibly one of the best in the industry. His title track to his debut record “A Rock” blows me away. The intricate and intelligent lyric would have been enough to make me a fan, but the fact that the song concludes and pulls together the entire record is nothing short of genius.
“You know what’s wrong and you know what’s right / But you wanna be cool on a Friday night / Somebody puts a bottle in front of your face / For the first time you’re stuck between a hard place and a rock / A rock / A rock”
I will forever be a fan of HARDY as both a singer and as a songwriter. I cannot wait to hear “A ROCK” and all his other incredible tunes live, when country music returns to the New York stages. Until then, do yourself a favor and go listen to this tune.
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.
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