It was a year ago this week that Lady Antebellum performed “Need You Now” on the Country Music Association (CMA) awards show, and we all know what happened after that. Fun fact…the song went top 10 in seven other countries beside the United States. I can’t think of a country artist that has done something close to that since Shania Twain ruled the pop and country charts in the late 1990s/early 2000s.
In the music business, it’s all about finding the next (fill in the blank). So where do you go when you have a country song that becomes such a smash that it goes 4x Platinum on sales of well over 4 million singles? I’ve been wrong before, but my money right now is on the next single from Jason Aldean’s fourth CD My Kinda Party entitled “Don’t You Wanna Stay”. And go figure, the song was performed on the CMA awards this past week…
I’ve been a fan of Jason Aldean’s way back since “Hicktown,” but it was “Amarillo Sky” that cemented the idea that this guy could connect with a country song with some depth. It is very clear that Aldean connects with “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” and big props to him for having the vision to ask Kelly Clarkson to take a song written for a solo artist and turn it into a killer duet. While I don’t know if this song will go worldwide, I don’t think it’s a big stretch to hear this song on Adult Pop stations, with an outside chance of Top 40 stations coming along for the ride. I saw the song get as high as #18 on iTunes, but it currently sits at #31.
The arrangement from the live performance buried almost every trace of “country” in the song, allowing the song to stand on its own as a well-written and well-sung song. You can call it country, country pop, modern country, whatever. At the heart of the song, it’s a pop song, and I mean that with as much respect as I can gather. Let’s see how John the Swami does this time around.