Friday, September 27, 2013

Song #366 of 9999 - Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin

Song #366 of 9999

Title: Sunny Came Home
Artist: Shawn Colvin
Year: 1996
Album: A Few Small Repairs

It's a good night for a short post. Let's see if I can do it.

I'm guessing "Sunny Came Home" is one of those love-it-or-hate-it tunes. Perhaps if there is a "Lilith Fair" sound that we can describe as "dated," this song would be the prime representative, if for no other reason than the fact that it was so successful, winning the Grammy for Song of the Year and catapulting a relatively unknown folk singer into the pop music spotlight. In 1997 (when the song really hit), I loved the chorus, thinking it was absolutely ingenious with its rangy lilt. Today, I'm not so sure but I think it's been played so much that "to death" would be an understatement.

But I want to focus on the legacy of the song tonight, stopping to ask the question: is this the song that spawned the current spate of female revenge songs that seems to be pervasive in modern country music? Consider Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" or Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead," both of which lack the subtlety of Colvin's music or lyrics, spelling out in detail the vengeful acts that await their cheating men. Do they owe a debt to "Sunny Came Home"? This connection makes sense to me. While Colvin was more likely influenced by the traditional murder ballads found in early folk music (think "Matty Groves" or "Tom Dooley"), I'm guessing the modern female country stars don't have such deep roots (no disrespect intended!) and would more likely have been influenced by Colvin's hit and maybe The Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" or even Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know."

What do YOU think? Discuss.

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