After a massive past year with GRAMMY nominations, hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards, and becoming a trailblazer in the contemporary country music genre, Mickey Guyton has finally released her first LP Remember Her Name. The 16-song project recaps Guyton’s past 10 years of living in Nashville. Guyton’s debut features striking and sincere songwriting that understands what it’s like to be completely and honestly human. She doesn’t hold back and refuses to keep her mouth shut; she displays the kind of integrity needed in country music right now.
The record opens strongly with the perfectly chosen title track, “Remember Her Name” where Guyton shows off her powerhouse vocals and makes bold statements. “Different” is the perfect follow-up about not needing permission to be yourself with simple yet vital lyricism; it’s a positive anthem with jaunty instrumentation that makes it an instant earworm.
Track number five, “Lay It On Me,” is a standout track about accepting someone else’s baggage. The songwriting, done by Guyton, Jaden Michaels, and Gavin Slate, is honest and beautiful. Guyton’s voice is emotional as she pours her heart out and lends a helping hand to the person she’s singing to. In the chorus, she exclaims, “I want your good, your bad, your ugly. / I want the truth and all your lies / I want your perfectly imperfect / Lay it on me tonight. I want the light that fills the darkness / Give me your heaven and your hell / I want to show you that you’re worth it / Lay it on me tonight.” The unmissable, angelic background vocals add to the divine-sounding instrumental.
“Dancing In The Living Room,” penned by Guyton alongside Karen Kosowski, Victoria Banks, and Emma Lee, perfectly captures the small intimate moments that make being in a happy relationship so incredible. It’s set at an essential slow tempo that emulates a track perfect for what the title suggests: slow dancing. The first verse sets the tone and gives the audience a peek into what sounds like a romantic moment of a movie as Guyton says, “We can turn the world off / Forget what’s going on outside / We can make it all stop / And freeze a little time tonight.” A single electric guitar solo precedes the second chorus and becomes the center of attention that adds a sultry and evocative feeling.
In the middle of the LP, Guyton continues to speak bravely without restraints with the GRAMMY-nominated “Black Like Me,” about racism and injustices in the United States as well as the stunning “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” that explains the feeling of being a woman in the country music industry which is dominated by men. “Words,” one of the most vulnerable statements on the project, has Guyton listing off the negative jabs and awful comments she witnesses on the daily. When it feels as though we live in a time when artists in country music are afraid to make statements about timely issues, Guyton proves she’s fearless and has a remarkable sense of bravery as the industry and general public keep their eyes on the growing star.
Track 14, “Indigo,” is another high point. It’s a piano ballad with some of the most vibrant lyricism on the tracklist with color-drenched and nature-like imagery. “Hey we haven’t met, just call me indigo / I’m bluer than bluer for reasons you don’t know / I’ve been here all alone, you ain’t doing it alone / Everybody’s got a shot, every color’s got a show / Well, there ain’t no rainbow or pot of gold.” “Indigo” evokes a sense of comfort like a warm hug as Guyton shows off the softer side of her vocal range in the sweet-sounding tune.
Remember Her Name closes as strongly as it opens with the ending track, “Better Than You Left Me – Fly Higher Version.” This re-worked version of the song that Guyton released numerous years ago acts as a victory lap that celebrates the beauty of growth after a failed relationship. Guyton’s vocal performance shimmers with a championing vengeance as she sings, “Ain’t it funny what a little time does, baby / I’m better than you left me / I’m better than I should be / I’m better than when you walked out that door.” In the bridge, her vibrato stuns with relief, “Now I love deeper / And I laugh a little bit better / I smile brighter / And I fly higher.”
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