If you read my recent rant about the CMA Award nominations, you’ll probably know where I’m going with this one. Today marks the radio launch of Brandy Clark’s latest single ‘Love Can Go To Hell’; If country radio doesn’t wake up and smell the coffee with this one, there’s something seriously wrong. The first single released from Brandy’s stellar sophomore album, ‘Girl Next Door’, became her very first country top 40 hit, but only just. It peaked at #39, and in the 3 weeks we spent in the States recently, unfortunately we didn’t hear it once.
On ‘Love Can Go To Hell’ – “That was a straight up ballad when I brought it in,” Brandy told Rolling Stone. “He (Jay Joyce) didn’t change the tempo of it, but he changed the energy of it in a way that makes it feel like a mid-tempo/up-tempo song where people hear it and they’re like ‘Oh my God, that’s amazing, I’ve never heard that.’”
This track represents everything that country music should be. It’s a single the genre has been crying out for for a very long time. Powerful lyrics with a real hard-hitting sentiment, backed by sublime, intricately crafted instrumentation and the usual glorious vocal delivery from Brandy. It gives you everything you need to know about Brandy’s song writing ability; a clever interpretation of the statement “Love Can Go To Hell”, examining how love can collapse, rather than the conventional ‘giving up on love’ sentiment. “Love can go to hell like roses in a vase of whiskey, dying for the way you used to kiss me” has to be one of my favourite lines in a country song; simply genius from Brandy and co-writer Scott Stepakoff.
It’s another timeless Brandy Clark classic that I’ll still be listening to in 10, 20 years’ time. Melodically, it’s a delightful combination of traditional country instrumentation, driven by a simple but incredibly effective banjo riff and a chugging back beat. On any other album, this would be a clear stand-out but it’s just another card in the deck on an album of such superb quality.
Brandy has flown under the radar for long enough now on country radio. Her exclusion from any of the CMA Award categories was the biggest awards show travesty I’ve witnessed in recent memory. Will ‘Love Can Go To Hell’ be given a chance? Let’s hope so, it’s one of the best singles of the year and deserves to be a huge hit.
Brandy returns to the UK next week for 4 shows in Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Manchester. Tickets are still available HERE