Mickey Guyton might have become better when somebody left her, but she has never been as well off as she is right now. With the release of her self-titled EP, Guyton stops listeners in their tracks, proving that her history-making song “Better Than You Left Me” was simply a powerful glimpse at what the stunning vocalist has in store for country music.
Guyton introduced herself to the music industry in record-breaking fashion and made people wonder how she could possibly top the song that turned so many heads. In actuality, Guyton didn’t have to best perfection, she just had to meet it head on and work with a bar that she raised quite high at the inception of her public presence. She undoubtedly succeeded in this feat, leaving no moment within the four tracks for listeners to pick their jaws up off the floor and gather themselves before the next stunning moment on the disc. The EP culminates with Guyton’s breakout hit, “Better Than You Left Me,” but leads up to the grand finale with additional musical monstrosities, penned by some of the most renowned songwriters in Music City.
“Somebody Else Will” and “Pretty Little Mustang” demonstrate a different side of Guyton from the power ballad performing songstress, allowing her to show off her pristine pipes on upbeat tracks laden with positivity. Both songs encourage females to remain optimistic and confident by finding the ability to love themselves, yet each delivers the message in a distinct manner.
“Somebody Else Will” (Luke Laird, Ashley Gorley, Hillary Lindsey) is a fast-paced inspirational song that teaches the importance of not self-destructing over a broken relationship and, instead, picking yourself back up and realizing there is someone out there who will love you back. With a “Better Than You Left Me” mentality combined with the playfulness of a feel good country tune, “Somebody Else Will” emboldens listeners to never settle for anything or anybody less than is deserved. “Pretty Little Mustang” (Guyton, Lindsey, Jeremy Spillman) further enlightens young women to stand tall and exude self-assurance by taking ownership of who you are and loving yourself first. A likewise upbeat song, “Pretty Little Mustang” can provide the mental boost anyone could use in a moment of self-doubt, urging people to go out, drop the top on a beautiful car, turn heads, spin hearts, and “drive it like you stole it.”
The undeniable highlight on the EP is a song I was introduced to prior to the release of the album. It was only weeks ago when I heard songwriter Emily Shackelton perform “Why Baby Why” at Nashville’s notorious Bluebird Cafe and I immediately said “I need to write about this song.” In the few minutes Shackelton crooned the devastating words of the heart-wrenching song (penned by Shackelton, Phil Barton, and Victoria Banks), the room was silenced and moved to wonderment, and Guyton’s rendition of the song creates the same effect. With painfully poignant lyricism and incomparable vocal range and control, Guyton begs for salvation from the lingering memory of a lost love.
I can’t stop the hurt, numb the pain, cool the burn, kill the ache no matter how hard that I cry baby cry. Why baby why?
“Why Baby Why” leads off the EP making it nearly impossible to move to the remaining songs because you will find yourself repeatedly backtracking to listen again. However, when you are finally able to pry yourself away from the introductory cut, you will find that the journey is well worth your travels.
Mickey Guyton’s self-titled EP will leave you breathless, courtesy of the bookend ballads that start and conclude the offering, while providing an in between of lighthearted enjoyment. It might have been presumed that Guyton would struggle to be better than she was when she was introduced to the world in such a memorable way, but she most certainly outdid herself with this four-song collection released on Capitol Nashville.