Billboarding: 5/19/08

Written by Billboarding, Music

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Howdy, pardners! It’s been a couple of weeks since we moseyed down Billboard way, so what do you say we hop along down to the Hot Country Top 10 and see what’s cooking in Nashville?

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1. James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” (Warner Bros./Raybaw)

It’s hokey as hell, and James Otto looks uncomfortably like a young Ron Perlman, but I don’t hate “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.” On the other hand, I do think it’s sort of telling that the best thing about the song is the model Otto’s fooling around with in the video.

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2. Brad Paisley, “I’m Still a Guy” (Arista Nashville)

One year and four singles later, Paisley’s 5th Gear album is still going strong — it was just certified platinum last month, in fact. That’s astonishing longevity in the current industry climate, particularly for a release whose cover looks like it was designed with a stack of magazines, a roll of tape, and a bottle of Captain Morgan’s. Like three out of every seven country singles, “I’m Still a Guy” is total redneck pandering, but that’s fine. It’s hooky and even a little bit funny.

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3. Phil Vassar, “Love Is a Beautiful Thing” (Universal South)

You might have changed the name, but you aren’t fooling us, Phil Vassar — we know this is a cover of “It’s a Beautiful Thing,” a ten-year-old hit from Canadian country singer Paul Brandt. Yes, you read that right: Canadian country. Shame on you, Phil Vassar.

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4. Taylor Swift, “Picture to Burn” (Big Machine)

A cute little blonde thing who sings spunky, catchy songs about being strong ‘n’ indepndent ‘n’ such — I realize Taylor Swift sounds like a focus group’s wet dream, but as much as I’d love to dismiss her as genetically modified corn, I can’t help grinning like a dummy whenever I hear one of her singles. I even used some of my eMusic downloads on this album a couple of months ago. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I know my long-term prospects for resistance are slim.

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5. George Strait, “I Saw God Today” (MCA Nashville)

Strictly speaking, I don’t like country music. That being said, I can’t argue George Strait’s galaxy-spanning awesomeness, and neither can you.

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6. Rascal Flatts, “Every Day” (Lyric Street)

Rascal Flatts, on the other hand, is (are?) not awesome. I say this despite the fact that my partial ownership of the publishing rights to a track on their first album has made me an embarrassing amount of money. “Embarrassing” being the key word here. I’m hearing this song for the first time as I watch the video and type this paragraph, but it’s hard to see, because I’m suffering flashbacks to Mike & the Mechanics’ “The Living Years” and Chicago’s “What Kind of Man Would I Be?”

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7. Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This” (Capitol Nashville)

Otherwise known as “Stop and Smell the Roses, Y’All, Part 479.”

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8. Lady Antebellum, “Love Don’t Live Here” (Capitol Nashville)

Better than you’d expect from a band that made its chart debut backing Jim Brickman. Much better, actually.

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9. Kenny Chesney, “Better As a Memory” (BNA)

It just isn’t a country top 10 without an appearance from ol’ Turtle Head Chesney, and this one — which finds Chesney putting a pedal-steel spin on Boston’s “A Man I’ll Never Be” — is better than most. Still, I’ve never been able to listen to his music without giggling, and this song is no different.

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10. Carrie Underwood, “Last Name” (Arista Nashville)

Hey, look! It’s another cute little blonde thing singing about being strong ‘n’ independent ‘n’ such! I guess this is a prequel to “Before He Cheats,” but seeing as how I’ve never heard “Before He Cheats,” I can’t vouch for this information firsthand. I’m not sure I can finish the song, actually. I’m not really sure why, but where I find Taylor Swift’s music irresistible, I’ve always just been sort of annoyed by Carrie Underwood.

…And that’s it for the Billboard Hot Country Top 10 this week, amigos! Meet me back here in two weeks when we tackle the dreaded “Hot AC” chart!