Following in the footsteps of Fox’s Glee and NBC’s Smash, ABC’s Nashville premiered on Oct. 10, 2012 as the most recent musical drama on television. ABC Studios, in partnership with Big Machine Records, began releasing the music to Nashville on Oct. 9 but the official soundtrack was released on Dec. 11. By November, Nashville had already surpassed 500,000 digital downloads, dominated the iTunes country charts and Hayden Panettiere’s “Telescope” made it onto Billboard’s Country Songs chart.
Needless to say, Nashville’s music is fantastic. The songs are a mix of originals and covers—from Elvis Costello to The Civil Wars—that work well within the narrative of the show. Plus, “Telescope” is catchy as hell. Since I saw Nashville’s five most popular songs on iTunes (“Fade Into You,” “Wrong Song,” “When the Right One Comes Along” and both the radio and original versions of “Telescope”) I thought I’d list mine and see if they line up.
When Rayna James and Juliette Barnes have to perform a duet and can’t decide on a song, they write one and this is what comes of these two country music giants putting their heads together. It’s the perfect mix of rock and country that made me fall in love with this show and I’m not even a stereotypical country music fan! (That will become abundantly clear while you read this list.) It’s also a fantastic moment within the show when these two feuding characters finally come together and write a song in one night, with all the bickering we’ve come to expect from Rayna and Juliette. I have to admit, I liked the song more than I thought I would. They wrote a really great, and catchy, song.
“Love Like Mine”
Written by: Kelly Archer, Justin Weaver and Emily Shackelton
Performed by: Juliette Barnes
Appeared in: “Pilot”
Although this song is less in your face than Juliette’s other songs on the soundtrack, it has its catchy moments.
I might stay up, drunk on wine, hurt like hell and ugly crying black mascara tears / I might lock my door, sleep with my phone, miss you bad for a month or so, but let me tell you something my dear / I’m gonna be just fine, but you’re never gonna find another love like mine
Okay, so I might have gotten this entire chorus stuck in my head on multiple occasions, and I might have even scream-sung it in my empty living room, but I think that’s what makes it such a great song. It only gets better each time you listen to it.
“If I Didn’t Know Better”
This song launches Scarlett and Gunnar as a songwriting duo in the first episode, and it’s also the song that hooked me. If I’m totally honest, this song made me fall a little bit in love with Gunnar Scott (and Sam Palladio by extension). The hauntingly sweet vocals of Clare Bowen and Palladio work so well together that I had no doubts this song was written for them. Of course, it wasn’t. The song was written and originally performed by The Civil Wars. However, I prefer Bowen and Palladio’s cover to the original. There’s something about their version that makes you feel like you’re right there with them in the smoky old Bluebird Café.
Written by: Hillary Lindsey and Cary Barlowe
Performed by: Juliette Barnes
Appeared in: “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)”
This Juliette Barnes song is the epitome of what Rayna James hates about the young country pop star. Of course the “pop” part is exactly what I like about this song. Even if I weren’t introduced to this song through a television show, I’d still listen to it. So would a lot of other people, as evidenced by the fact that it made its way onto the Billboard charts. This song is perfectly upbeat and catchy, as well as a good soundtrack for when you pretend you know how to square dance (or maybe that’s just me). Plus, the stripped down version that Rayna’s daughters (played by Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella) sing is fantastic.
“Fade Into You”
Written by: Trevor Rosen, Shane McAnally and Matt Jenkins
Performed by: Scarlett O’Connor and Gunnar Scott
Appeared in: “Someday You’ll Call My Name”
So the top of my list of favorite songs from a show about country music is not the stereotypical kind of country; I warned you about my lack of love for that type of country music. Anyway, I can’t help that I’ve had this song on repeat since I first heard it. Everything that made “If I Didn’t Know Better” work, makes “Fade Into You” work even more. The lyrics to this song may be rather simple, but they’re beautiful. Bowen and Palladio’s voices fit perfectly together as they sing, building to a crescendo:
I wanna melt in, I wanna soak through, I only wanna move when you move / I wanna breathe out when you breathe in, then I wanna fade into you.
I’m going to keep listening to this song on repeat for a long time because it just never gets old. In fact, Rayna scoffed at the idea of a six-minute long song when writing with Juliette, but I’d have to disagree; I could do with another three minutes of “Fade Into You.”
Okay so maybe I have some differing opinions to the iTunes crowd, but I think we can all agree that we can’t wait for some new music from Nashville. Personally, I’m hoping to hear Rayna’s new producer, Liam McGuinnis (Michiel Huisman) sing something of his own. We’ll see on Jan. 9 at 10 PM ET when Nashville returns to ABC.