Country music meets delicious pop in the latest roundup.
Chris Housman – “Bible Belt”
Chris Housman dropped one of the most important songs in late 2022. “I’m still bleeding from that beating I got from the Bible belt,” he sings on “Bible Belt.” He sings with conviction, as a gay man who grew up in a deeply religious red state. Over a little bit of a giddy up, the lyrics strike like hot iron into the skin. “They told me Jesus would save me from my sin, but they still paint pictures of Him with white skin,” he unravels, trying to untangle himself from religious trauma. “They made some bad outta that Good Book / And I hate that it took so long to get over what it did to me.” Housman’s voice feels both the renewed sting of the long-buried pain and the liberation from confessing the truth. That’s the power of a great song.
Listen to “Bible Belt” below.
Justin Hiltner – “10 Years (Gotta Get Out)”
Justin Hiltner never intended to stay in one place. He only meant to “see whose dreams were left about,” he sings, “I’d pick one up, dust it off, set course on my new route.” But instead, he’s spent more than a decade “spinning around” in circles. Over banjo, the singer-songwriter laments his current state, while looking ahead to watch would be his next opportunity. “I can’t pretend my heart could never choose a place / But if home is where the heart is why have neither left a trace,” he sings. Hiltner exposes the bruises left on his heart and the suffocating way county lines press upon his shoulders.
Listen to “10 Years (Gotta Get Out)” below.
Adam Lambert – “Ordinary World”
Adam Lambert is a known chameleon. Ever since his American Idol days, he’s managed to continue vocal exploration through a myriad of pop/rock styles and tricks. With a cover of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World,” a sampling of the forthcoming High Drama LP, Lambert strips away the rockier edges, and polishes up with strings and stirring piano, to deliver a brooding, deeply probing performance. “As I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive,” he crescendos into the starry night sky. It’s an irrefutably stunning performance, but we didn’t expect anything less.
Listen to “Ordinary World” below.
Callum Pitt – “Mayfly”
Callum Pitt wants to have kids, but he’s wary that his depression will not allow for true emotional stability. With “Mayfly,” he muses on the future and how he can best forge ahead in his life. As heavy as the song is, there’s plenty of hope to be had. “I am the river, you’re the mayflies falling / It covers all like a pink sky morning,” he paints the vivid picture flashing in his mind. He might struggle some days, yet he knows that like clouds rippling across the sky, it all fades away in time.
Listen to “Mayfly” below.
Laci Kaye Booth – “Damn Good in a Dive Bar”
She might have been dropped from a major label, but that won’t put a damper on her output. Laci Kaye Booth plows ahead with a shiny new song called “Damn Good in a Dive Bar,” a track greatly inspired by an ex-boyfriend. Pain throbs in her head, but she turns to the neon lights and a cold beer to numb it all away. “I look pretty damn good in a dive bar,” rings the chorus, hooking you into her emotional headspace. It’s a performance that burns slow and hot. As she suggested in an interview with People, she’s the country-fried Lana Del Rey一and she’s not wrong.
Listen to “Damn Good in a Dive Bar” below.
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