The Music Of Nashville - Original Soundtrack
Built around stellar actors, soapy storylines, and legitimately good original country music, Nashville is one of the more successful new network shows this season. While most of the actors are not what you would call vocalists, the songs have mostly been strong enough to make up for it. Besides, let's face it, the music is a backdrop more than a focus for "Nashville."
Knowing this, it makes sense that the first soundtrack released by the program is spotty and lacking the appropriate care. There has been some truly stellar music coming out of the show, and yet the soundtrack does not completely reflect that, focusing more on including songs by the entire cast rather than the ones that matter.
First up is Connie Britton's character Rayna James' songs. "No One Will Ever Love You" with fellow cast member Charles Esten is a highlight, allowing for Britton's vocal shortcomings on a sad, droning attack on the one she loves the most. Similarly, her duet with cast nemesis Hayden Panettiere "Wrong Song" relies on strong songwriting and old country break-up archetypes more than either lady's vocals. Less interesting is Rayna's "Buried Under," which unconvincingly is supposed to be a strong ploy for career revival.
Panettiere plays Juliette Barnes, the up and coming country princess with an attitude and a bad girl streak, and the show gives her plenty of songs to bolster this reputation. "Telescope" is a lover scorned throwdown that the show has been pushing as a commercial single, but it is "Love Like Mine" that Panettiere is able to shine brightest and most convincingly as a country star. It is this type of material, along with "Undermine," that I can see her actually hovering somewhere between Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert with some down South authenticity.
However, neither of these stars' songs have the heft that duet partners and acting newcomers Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen have achieved. Criminally underrepresented on this soundtrack, every song they performed on the show has been a delicate delight, with "If I Didn't Know Better" and "When The Right One Comes Along" barely showing what the duo are capable of. This is particularly odd considering the chart success of their songs on the show.
Palladio and Bowen's "Fading Into You" and "I Will Fall" should have been included over some of the less savory selections. While Esten has a great voice, his "Sideshow" was used mostly to accentuate the romantic pains between himself and Britton. Similarly, Jonathan Jackson's "Twist of Barbwire" was presented as a less interesting version of country that we weren't really meant to like, particularly in comparison to Palladio's softer approach. And the idea of including the child actors' version of Panettiere's "Telescope" is beyond a ridiculous choice considering what was left out.
"Nashville's" first soundtrack highlights some of the really incredible country music being pumped into the show, but also shows a lack of focus and selectivity. Like with most shows of this nature, it might be better to simply buy the good songs on iTunes or stream on Spotify rather than waste money on some of the less worthy tracks on this album.
"The Music of Nashville"
Nashville Original Soundtrack
Big Machine Records
by Nashville Original Soundtrack