Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mickey Guyton

  • Bridges [Capitol EP, 2020] ***
  • Remember Her Name [Capitol, 2021] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Bridges [Capitol EP, 2020]
Unusually conscious Nashville EP from unusually dark-skinned Nashville hopeful who had lived 37 years without ever singing about her race in so many words ("Black Like Me," "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?") ***

Remember Her Name [Capitol, 2021]
Although Guyton co-wrote all 16 of these well-turned songs--among them three rollovers from her 2020 Bridges EP, the Grammy-certified "Black Like Me" of course included--only the unequivocally race-proud "Love My Hair" comes with fewer than two song doctors, most notably former Taylor Swift aide-de-camp Nathan Chapman. So credit Capitol with sharing Guyton's decade-long dream of converting her small-town Texas roots into the big-time Nashville sales that so far aren't materializing. But that doesn't mean I can hear just exactly what's supposed to be country about these tracks, which if anything go heavy on the schlocky as opposed to jazz-lite side of the "adult contemporary" pseudogenre where she had some success pre-"Black Like Me." What I can hear, however, is a nice surprise: material that is genuinely adult and genuinely contemporary, including a cover of Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" you could almost think she wrote herself. This grown woman makes music out of therapy jargon she knows too well. She trusts herself to keep singing the sparkly "Rosť" after her therapist gets her to quit drinking. She smells smoke on her husband and makes sure it doesn't turn fire. She wants his good, his bad, and his ugly. And soon enough they're spending the evening dancing in the living room. A-