Mickey Guyton - Remember Her Name Music Album Reviews

Mickey Guyton - Remember Her Name Music Album Reviews
The debut album from the rising country artist aspires for universality but fares best when highlighting her singular voice and defiance of the status quo.

Country singer Mickey Guyton has billed her debut as a closing chapter rather than an introduction: “Remember Her Name is a culmination of the last 10 years of my life in Nashville,” she explained. This is a crucial distinction for the rising songwriter, who has spent the past decade in a sort of Music Row purgatory. While it’s common for aspiring country artists to find their careers stalled out on the road to widespread recognition, Guyton has faced a disproportionately long time in limbo as a Black woman in an overwhelmingly white industry. Though she signed to Universal in 2011 and released a minor hit in 2015’s “Better Than You Left Me,” it took another five years before Guyton would even have the chance to record a proper full-length.

The timing of Guyton’s rise within the country music mainstream during the past year-and-a-half isn’t necessarily a coincidence. Last summer’s George Floyd protests were a rude awakening for the industry, highlighting its long history of racial exclusion just as the genre had been enjoying several years of uninterrupted pop and hip-hop crossover success. In the midst of Nashville’s fumbling attempts at course correction, Guyton appeared onstage at the ACM Awards in September 2020 to sing “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?,” a striking ballad that speaks plainly to the lack of opportunities for Black girls and women in the U.S. It was a landmark moment, even if Guyton has long been skeptical of these kinds of opportunities: “I look back in my career, and I was a token in so many different ways,” she told the New Yorker this year, when asked about the performance. “I remember there would be corporate events where—in order to make the company look good—who did they have front and center as one of the artists they’re excited about?”

Guyton’s unique ability to speak to the injustices she has faced, both in and outside the industry, informs many of Remember Her Name’s strongest moments. “My daddy worked day and night/For an old house and a used car,” she sings on “Black Like Me.” “Just to live that good life/It shouldn’t be twice as hard.” Her voice, which carries a hint of her Texas upbringing, has the same unwavering warmth of hitmakers like Carrie Underwood, bringing power and patience to songs that are likely to make country’s old guard bristle. On “Do You Really Wanna Know,” she sings about therapy, recovering from alcoholism, and learning to resent small-talk niceties. “If I tell you the truth, will your heart be big enough to hold it?” she asks, knowing that even in a genre that prides itself on plainspoken honesty, her perspective could present a barrier to entry.

Despite Guyton’s singular point of view, Remember Her Name strives for universality, and the more upbeat moments play with the same genre conventions that once ensnared her. “Rosé” is a winking subversion of the classic beer-and-whiskey country drinking tune—“You can call it what you want,” she admits in the chorus, “but everybody loves a good cliché”—while “Smoke,” produced by pre-1989 Taylor Swift collaborator Nathan Chapman, is a rare success in the marriage of trap beats with banjo and pedal steel. Guyton partners with Chapman again for the triumphant “Higher,” where the pop-rock bravado that bolstered early Swift songs like “Sparks Fly” and “Fearless” now serves as a pedestal for Guyton and a full gospel choir. It’s pure stadium-concert serotonin, destined to become a staple at her live shows.

Remember Her Name falters when it sticks to the status quo—namely, the bland country-pop production that has come to dominate radio airwaves. The cosmic guitar plucks and vaporous piano chords of the title track are meant to serve as an inspirational opener, but the abstract lyrics on overcoming adversity could be sung by anyone. The same slickness permeates the snappy “Different” and wedding-playlist-friendly “Dancing in the Living Room.” While some may feel empowered by these songs’ accessibility, they dilute the specificity that makes the rest of the album so striking. As country music continues to grapple with its racial reckoning, Guyton has had no qualms about calling her white peers’ complacency to task, and it’s a relief that her defiance has carried over into the music. At its best, Remember Her Name captures her steadfastness and grace in equal measure.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Mickey Guyton - Remember Her Name Music Album Reviews Mickey Guyton - Remember Her Name Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 04, 2021 Rating: 5


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