While country radio is certainly no prizewinner when it comes to giving female artists their fair due, we have admittedly seen small steps of progress for female artists over the past year in country music.
However, in terms of quantity it still isn’t nearly enough, so let’s add to both the quality and quantity of that roster with Candi Carpenter. If you don’t know who she is, well…unfortunately you’re going to have to join the club. All I’ve been able to find on her is that she’s a new signee to Sony Music Nashville and that her debut single, “Burn The Bed” has already been sent to country radio. We’re in an age right now that makes me feel hopeful for the future of country music as we’ve watched acts both mainstream and otherwise start to gain traction and prove why they belong in the genre through pure talent. Candi Carpenter is another excellent addition to that list.
I’ll admit, “Burn The Bed” may or may not be the type of song that immediately grips you. That’s not necessarily a knock on Candi or this song, it’s just that there’s a lot going on with this song. The first thing you’ll notice are Candi’s excellent vocals. This song doesn’t necessarily require a powerful vocal, and we’ll get to why soon, but Candi’s vocals still manage to give this song a type of raw power that only accentuates my overall enjoyment for the song. It helps that she seems to have a ton of command to her voice as well, selling the emotion of this song with ease. In terms of raw passion, range, and even sound, I’m reminded a little bit of Lee Ann Womack.
The theme is the ever classic country music theme of cheating, and while I do take issue with the short length of the song, I also feel like there’s a lot of sharp, insightful lines within that make up for it. This woman confronts her lover in the aftermath of his affair, explaining how this guy actually was enough of a creep to cheat with someone on their very own bed. She doesn’t just want to wash the sheets, she wants to burn the bed. The hook is clever and poignant in its own right, but other lines like “did you take my pictures down, or did I have to watch?” just pack so much into one line that it’s incredible. Sure, I could wish for some expansion of the story. After all, how did she find out about his cheating ways in the first place, and what happens now as the confrontation ends? However, that’s nitpicking, and besides, the lyricism present is excellent.
However, the element that won me over the most was the production and instrumentation. Sure, we’ve had a resurgence of more authentic sounding country songs emerge over the past few months, but it’s not even like I only like I enjoy this song because of that. Sure, the nitpicking critic in me could have wished that a song called “Burn The Bed” could have been filled with more rage or an anger similar to say, Miranda Lambert, but remember what I said before? I stated that there was a lot going on here, and I also said that this song didn’t grip you immediately. That was never intended as a knock, and the reason is because I spent so much time being swept away digging for the little details within that I missed certain elements. You see, it’s not an anger that Carpenter evokes or even intends to evoke, it’s a melancholic one. Through her vocal performance, you can tell she’s more shocked that her lover would even do something like this more so than outright berating him, and that’s reflected even more in the understated tone of the song. The acoustic groove is the foundation for a song that’s moody and ominous, but never malicious. There’s a certain beauty within that you start to see after repeated listens. The ghostly swell of the steel guitar and bass are just icing on the cake really. Again, my only complaint is that it’s so short!
First impressions mean a lot to me, and if “Burn The Bed” is Candi’s then I am excited to hear what else she has in store for us. Cheating is such a common theme in country music and always has been, but there’s so much here to talk about besides that, and thankfully those things are elements that enhance the song’s beauty. Yeah, I’m not really a fan of the abrupt ending, and I do still think the song could have expanded on the story. Also, like I said, the song takes time to grow on you, but once it does it never lets go. At the end of the day though, this is a great song. It’s easily one of the best singles released to country radio this year. We might not know a lot about Candi soon, but hopefully that changes soon, because it needs to.
Listen: "Burn The Bed"
Author: Zackary Kephart