Country VS Rate: Winner


Staff member

Welcome to the first Country VS rate on Pop Justice. Each of the four artist here have brought something a little different to Nashville.

First up is Ashley Monroe. Monroe’s music style is a throwback to country sound of previous years with her own lyrical twists. The album “The Blade” was produced by country legend and 21 time Grammy winner Vince Gill. The lone single “Onto Something Good” peaked at number 53 on the country charts. Monroe has found success with girl group Pistol Annies and duet Lonely Tonight that peaked at #2. The album was nominated for Best Country album and made many best year end lists.

Next up is Kacey Musgraves. Musgraves has earned herself a bit of a reputation as being liberal country music. Her first single Merry Go Round looked at the darker aspect of rural living while Follow Your Arrow caused a bit of a stir. Her follow up Pageant Material is the one we will be rating here. Biscuits and Dime store Cowgirl charted at 28 and 44. Musgraves music often has themes being yourself and not giving into other expectations of you. Her frequent songwriting partners and members of LGBT community Brandy Clark has released two great albums herself and Shane McAnally has been all over Nashville. The album was nominated for best country album and made many best year end lists.

Coming seemingly out of nowhere is Cam. The album was mainly produced in California outside the norm of typically either being in Nashville or maybe Texas. The first single My Mistake came and went without much notice. The second single was then played on major country radio show once and received such a large response that country radio started adding the song to their playlist. The song played kind of as antithesis of bro-country. Burning House is the highest charting song here at number 29 on the Hot 100 and #2 on country charts. Lyrically the album has underlying feminist message.


The final contender is Maren Morris with Hero. While Hero is the most current sounding of all the albums it’s the most experimental in sounds. She found big success with the lead single My Church that when onto to win Grammy for album year. Lyrically she brings a style and phrasing that is unique for country music but used more frequently in other genres. The album has seen the most commercial success as well.


But wait there's more. I've made two pop justice friendly special additions!

Girl Next Door
Girl In A Country Song

So there you have it four incredibly talented singers each bringing their own unique perspective to the genre and none for Kelsea Ballerini!

- Rate all the songs with a score between 0-10.
- Decimal points are allowed.
- Commentary is encouraged!.
- You may give one track, and only one track, an 11.
- Send me all these scores in a PM, in the same order as they are on this page.

The deadline for scores is April 10th.
But wait there's more. I've made two pop justice friendly special additions!

Girl Next Door
Girl In A Country Song
Oh my, we thought the exact same thing! I certainly didnot read this before I posted in the rate queue-thread!

EDIT: Oh my, there are three tracks from Maren I didnot know about! Let me guess: Target exclusives... Not on my spotify sadly, but ready to try those three! I really should look beyond what is on spotify more often.
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Hero and Pageant Material are both bulletproof albums and among my all-time favorites, I can't wait to score them.

The Blade is good with a few stunning moments and same goes for Untamed. But in comparison, poor them.


Staff member
I'm not actually sure which is going to have the highest average from me even though I could rate all the songs without needing to re-listen to them. My guess is the Blade will be my highest.


Staff member
So there you have it, four incredibly talented singers each bringing their own unique perspective to the genre and none for Kelsea Ballerini!

It's been 24 hours and I'm still laughing at this.

Anyway, I love rates like this because I genuinely have no idea how things will play out. I'm looking at the song list now, and the only thing I'm sure about is that 80's Mercedes and Burning House will hit the Top 10. Otherwise, it's anyone's guess!


Staff member
Very tempted to do this for Maren alone...always meant to get into Kacey so this seems like ample opportunity as well.
It's funny that listening to Hero let Pageant Material truly click with me. I'm not sure what I was expecting after Same Trailer Different Park but, for me, Pageant Material felt like a step horizontally rather than vertically; an evolution, a deepening of her sound yet very much from the same genus and it proved a tad impenetrable with its harsh country twang. After listening to Hero, I found a lot of fun pop songs but, then, going back to Pageant Material, it becomes immediately obvious that Kacey's songwriting is simply on another level, incredibly witty and packed with charm and character, with a grand ability to look inward and be fearless in its self-expression. Maren's album is definitely more pop and, of course, her debut, but the chasm between each package feels obvious when they're stacked side by side.

And I don't know what an Ashley or Cam is but I go in with an open mind.
Yeah, Same Trailer Different Park was one of my favorite albums of the decade but Pageant Material just didn't leave that much of an impression on me.

I can still recognize it as a very solid effort, but it just didn't connect at all for me. Maybe listening to it again for the rate will help it connect.

I love Maren and Hero has been such a beautiful discovery, but I feel like she's going to have the benefit of accessibility and recency to inflate her scores a bit while The Blade won't get paid its proper dues. It's incredible.
I delved into my playlist for this rate today (on shuffle), and I really liked what I heard.

I think I tried or wanted to get into Kacey's music before, but somehow never got through with it. I'm excited to listen to her album in full the most.