Lately, country radio has been a bit of a boys only club, with the exception of Taylor, Carrie, and Miranda. Furthermore, it has become one big party. Most songs are an ode to drinking and partying, even the "deep" songs. Maggie Rose apparently didn't get the memo, as her second single "Better" is climbing the charts featuring sadness and emotion we rarely get to hear on country radio.
"Better" is a heartbreakingly sad song about a woman dealing with a loss. The lyrics paint a picture of someone desperate to feel better, even if it means giving in to vices and temptations she knows is wrong. Wow, temptation, sorrow, and vice? In a country song? Is this 1965? Maggie Rose certainly impresses with not only cutting this song, but putting it out as a single. Lines about succumbing to drink and lust are portrayed as happy and fun today, not as a mistake and regretful. Maggie does a great job of keeping it real. Country has a strong history with drinking songs, that's for sure, but most of them are negative looks at the bottle. That has gone away, but Maggie Rose brings it back big time here.
Sonically, this song is great. The sound is very modern, but the guitar and faint fiddle keeps its country roots. I would love to hear a version of this with more steel guitar, but for a modern radio single, "Better" is a nice escape from guitars cranked to 11 all the time. Maggie sings with force and power, but doesn't overdo it. Even with the added emphasis in the third chorus, she still keeps command of the song. Often, with big songs like this, the emotion gets lost in the soaring vocals. Maggie finds the perfect blend of big and soulful, impressing with her pipes, but holding that emotional connection. Tammy Wynette was a master of this, and Maggie clearly did her homework on this one.
As I stated before, this is a stark contrast from a lot of the muck on the radio, and I love it. In 2013, the superstar men of country have been putting out the same old same old, while the women have been setting the standard. Maggie Rose continues that trend, joining Ashley Monroe, Holly Williams, Kacey Musgraves, and Miranda Lambert as women who have thoroughly impressed me this year. I highly recommend "Better" and hope Maggie continues down this path as her career blossoms.
Maggie Rose "Better" music video