One of my favorite parts of writing reviews is getting to learn about an artist through the music they release. With Meghan Linsey (formerly of Steel Magnolia)’s self-titled solo debut EP, I learned that she is very confident and ready to introduce herself to the world.
Opening track “Good Boy Bad”, with its ominous banjo/guitar combination and opening lyrics “Sugar and spice never been my thing, give me a boy who can play and sing” gets you ready for a fun “bad girl” song. And this is one, but with a twist. Meghan’s got a wild side, but she’s looking for the nice guy next door to tame her ways. Her new match is a guy who “loves his momma, and knows how to act” because she’s “been run through the mills with ones that thrill.” Gentlemen, here’s your shot!
That playful tone continues on to “Love Never Sleeps,” a song about late night intimacy with that special someone. And he better not try to get some shuteye, because “when the whole world goes to close their eyes, your milk and honey keeps me up all night” as Meghan sings. It’s a perfect song to set the mood for date nights, especially as “warm, snuggly, romantic nights in” season approaches (I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for those kinds of nights).
Meghan pours out her honest self in “Mess,” where she shows that she’s got two sides to her personality. Lyrics like the chorus, “I might be a mess but I clean up good” and the second verse “I might be nice but I’m not afraid to fight, and I play by the rules but I like to cross the line” tell you exactly what you need to know about her. She’s not just “good” or “bad”, she’s got a little of both and she’s confident about it. We all feel like that “classy mess” sometimes, I know I do!
“Try Harder Than That” is the song that’s already made headlines as a companion to Maddie and Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song,” taking shots at how “bro-country” songs portray women. But while Maddie and Tae’s song was a “Guys, do we really got to be like this?” friendly lament, Meghan’s message is a straight “Hell no” to the “bros.” She “won’t be another play toy, play boy” and singing about “a back road moonlight kiss, cherry red lipstick, cutoff jeans” is NOT going to fly with her. Add a sarcastically Autotuned mention of “tan lines and taking a ride” and this is the harshest rebuke of current trends. Bubba Sparxx raps out a humble apology on behalf of the guys promising that we’ll be better. But will we guys?
“Counting Stars” is, yes, that same One Republic song that you dance to in your car when it comes on the radio, waving the arm that’s not on the steering wheel…come on, I can’t be the only one! Anyhow, there isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about the song itself and its uplifting message. But Meghan really makes this her own version. Country sounds co-exist with the pop beat, and her vocals project the positive themes to new heights. “Cocaine and Jesus” ends the journey and slows things down as the only ballad on the EP. It’s a sad love story of a troubled wild guy and the girl who “spent all her good years trying to save him.” Meghan sings of what seems like a coming tragedy, but the song ends with optimism that eventually the lost will find their way home. After five really fun songs, we end with a reflection.
Meghan Linsey uses every one of these six tracks to tell you about her, and with unflinching confidence. She presents to you who she is, who and what she wants, who and what she doesn’t want, and what stories she wants to tell. And the songs themselves are pure country with just a tiny sprinkling of pop infusions to help new fans be comfortable as they listen.
If this is the artist that Meghan plans to be, then I’m along for the ride. Oh, and speaking of rides, I should get back to my car dance…