So far in our Song of the Summer search we’ve familiarized ourselves with the indie-rockers, the rappers, and the pop stars going for the gold. Now we move to perhaps the most divisive category: mainstream country music (people still say, “I listen to everything but country,” right?). Recent years have seen Taylor Swift obliterate all preconceived limitations on a Nashville-bred star’s mass appeal; is there a Southern gentleman or lady ready to follow Swift down crossover radio-hit lane this season? By the way, Lady Antebellum is MIA here despite Need You Now owning the second spot on the Billboard 200 because its title track has been owning the airwaves since last August and follow-up single “American Honey” is a little too mellow for SOTS, even by country standards. That said — what are we missing?
Brad Paisley, “Water”
Country music is great for SOTS because it loves to junk all that boring inchoate feeling stuff for down-the-line, storytelling explicitness. Here, Paisley recounts his seasonally appropriate “love affair with water” in all its many forms, from kiddie pools to wet T-shirt contests. Coincidentally, Paisley is also the guy behind “Alcohol.”