Blake Shelton: Songs That Should’ve Been Singles

The process of choosing a single for radio is often as arduous a task as writing the song. Each month, Sounds Like Nashville will feature a different artist and explore songs from his or her catalogue that we wish made it to radio. Make no mistake, this is no critique of the artist or label, it’s simply a list of songs we love so much that we think deserve to be in the spotlight. This month, we take a closer listen to Blake Shelton’s back catalogue and find eight gems that warrant airplay.

“When Somebody Knows You That Well” – from Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill

Country at its finest, “When Somebody Knows You That Well” showcases Shelton’s love for traditional country music. The soaring ballad blends the sweet and comical for a striking song that leaves a mark. Told from the perspective of a man looking back on his life, Shelton sings of getting caught by his father drinking as a kid to later dealing with his dad’s death as he discusses the people in one’s life that know you better than you know yourself. “You can’t hide one single thought if you try you’ll just get caught / When somebody knows you that well,” he sings.

“I Don’t Care” – from Pure BS

Written by Casey Beathard and Dean Dillon, “I Don’t Care” has Shelton singing of bumping into an ex who is window shopping with someone he immediately assumes is her new flame. While Shelton keeps his composure, he is trying to convince himself that he doesn’t care about her. Lucky for him, by the end of the song he learns the man was actually his ex’s brother and when she calls him up and says she misses him he admits he never got her off his mind. So, now Shelton is driving over to her place despite it being late at night and reasons, “I don’t care.”

“She Don’t Love Me” – from Pure BS

A story song that vividly paints the picture of a man running into his ex who is walking down the street with her new beau, “She Don’t Love Me” instantly draws the listener in. “You know if I’d have seen her coming I’d probably tried to hide / But I came around the corner and she caught me by surprise,” Shelton sings. The remainder of the song has him questioning why there was no ice cold shoulder or ugly scene, instead “not only she don’t love me she don’t hate me anymore.” It’s a song that has the listener intrigued and guessing what will happen at the song’s end.

“Sunny In Seattle” – from Red River Blue

Long before he was in the spotlight, Chris Stapleton was behind-the-scenes writing for other artists. He co-wrote this song with Jim Beavers and Chris Dubois. A clever take on explaining how a guy will never stop loving his lady, on “Sunny In Seattle” Shelton sings that their love will end “when it’s sunny in Seattle and it’s snowing down in New Orleans.” As it turns out, that’s pretty close to never happening. “When there’s no tequila in Mexico that’s when I’m gonna let you go,” he belts alongside a grooving percussion beat.

“Small Town Big Time” – from Based on a True Story…

Shelton’s fun side is showcased on this upbeat tune off 2013’s Based On a True Story... A track that would have worked well both on radio and in Shelton’s live show, the guitar-driven song begs listeners to roll down the windows and turn up the volume.

“Country On the Radio” – from Based on a True Story…

“Country On the Radio” follows “Small Town Big Time” on Based On a True Story… and the song is one that takes Shelton back to his roots with hand-plucked banjo accompaniment, wavering fiddle and name dropping George Strait. It’s a song that Shelton can sing with conviction and this comes across on every lyric.

“Lay Low” – from Based on a True Story…

“Lay Low” is as radio friendly as they come as Shelton smoothly sings of a weekend relaxing with his lady friend. Patrón, a bubble bath and some quality alone time is on the schedule and Shelton’s sultry vocals and the accompanying soulful guitar and driving percussion beat adequately get his point across.

“I Need My Girl” – from Bringing Back the Sunshine

On “I Need My Girl,” Shelton’s suffering is compelling and evident in his slowed and poignant singing style. He doesn’t need his friends taking him out for a night on the town or a drag off his cigarette. What he does need is to fess up and apologize to his girl who he’s done wrong. While it is unclear if she comes back around by the song’s end, it is evident that his remorse is begging him to be proactive and do something about it instead of sitting at home alone and grieving.

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