The Music of Nashville, Season 1, Vol. 1

Music review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
The Music of Nashville, Season 1, Vol. 1 Music Poster Image
TV score showcases strong women, powerful country songs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

As in the Nashville television show, there are lots of lies and secrets among the characters in these songs, but there are some sweet sentiments, too. The love song "When the Right One Comes Along" says true love doesn't show up like a parade or an explosion of fireworks; it's more like the simple, quiet realization that you know where you belong. The show and the music also have very strong female characters, and several tracks ("Wrong Song," "Telescope") say that women can be strong alone and put painful relationships behind them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The character that Hayden Panettiere plays on the show is troubled and fills the holes in her life with men, but on the soundtrack, both Panettiere and co-lead actress/singer, Connie Britton, sing as women with the strength to walk away from hurtful relationships. Songs like "Telescope" and "Wrong Song" can empower teen girls in the way that Miranda Lambert's music speaks to any young woman who's been on the wrong side of a cheater.

Violence

"Buried Under" mentions a "smoking gun," but it's meant figuratively, as in evidence of a lover's betrayal.

Sex

In the Civil Wars' song "If I Didn't Know Better," covered by cast members Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen, at least one of the people in the song already has a partner but debates following the other person "up the stairs" and spending "one night with you." The Elvis Costello-written "Twist of Barbwire," sung by Jonathan Jackson, includes biting lyrics like "Remember I liked you to fall on your knees/ Liar, liar, you’re my last desire," and "Will you open your legs or your eyes."

Language

In "Love Like Mine," Hayden Panetierre sings that she's going to "hurt like hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

It's common for people to be drunk in country songs, and this soundtrack has a few characters who fall into that stereotype. In the duet "If I Didn't Know Better," one singer asks, "Why do I keep drinking?" And the other singer asks, "Why don't you keep drinking?" The rocker "Wrong Song" has the line, "Tequila turned you into someone else." The character in "Love Like Mine" says she's going to "stay drunk on wine."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that ABC's Nashville is a prime-time soap about relationships and careers in Music City. This iTunes-only soundtrack album contains 10 of the songs performed by cast members on the show. Co-produced by revered roots artists/producers T Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller, the songs are especially high quality and support the realism of the show. A few songs mention drinking alcohol (wine, tequila), and a couple have some mild sexual content. In "If I Didn't Know Better" someone in a committed relationship thinks about cheating. "Twist of Barbwire" has the most explicit line: "Will you open your legs or your eyes?"

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What's the story?

NASHVILLE, ABC's prime-time soap about relationships and careers in Music City, was created by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Callie Khouri. The show is like a modern country musical where cast members perform songs, in recording studios and onstage, that help drive the plot. This iTunes-only soundtrack to the program includes 10 of the tracks performed on the series, some of which were written specifically for the show. Co-produced by top roots musician/producers T Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller, the songs are an integral part of the show's appeal.

Is it any good?

The songs on The Music of Nashville aren't just good songs for a TV show or musical; they're better than most of the new music on country radio. The series performers are superbly talented singers as well as actors, and their characters' personalities come through loud and clear in these songs. Both T Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller are masterful producers with an impeccable sense of rhythm, authenticity, emotion, and restraint, and of course it doesn't hurt that they had the help of songwriters such as the Civil Wars' John Paul White, and Elvis Costello.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the sentiments in the songs reflect the personalities of the characters on the program. What do you learn about the characters from just the music?

  • Do you think it was a good idea for the label to release these songs only on iTunes? Why or why not?

  • In "Wrong Song," Connie Britton sings, "If you're looking for one more chance/ A little stand by your man/ You’ve got the wrong song." What does this line mean?

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