For those who haven’t yet met Runaway June, I invite and encourage you to check out their debut single “Lipstick,” which unfortunately didn’t perform well on the airplay charts but could have probably been a breakout hit for them a few years ago. Now the group, composed of Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne, and Hannah Mulholland, are back with their second single, “Wild West,” and once again, they are bringing something different and promising to the mainstream.
“Wild West” is a nice love song where the woman invites her lover to “steal my heart like Jesse James” and, in a self-described tip of the hat to Jennifer’s grandfather, “come in guns blazing just like old John Wayne.” It’s the type of song a lot of people will be able to relate to, with a nice western theme that so many enjoy. Still, there’s some deceivingly deep imagery and metaphors in the lyrics too; “keep me by your side all night, hold me tight like a pearl-handle .45, and just let me be the whiskey on your breath, love me like the wild, wild, wild West.” There’s something understated in these lyrics that really brings out the romance in this song in a way that a lot of modern mainstream songs can’t get right–it’s either lost in a ridiculous barrage of pickup lines (any bro country anthem you want to insert), or encapsulated in some sort of needy, clingy, creepy sentiment (Brett Young, “Sleep Without You.”) There’s a subtlety in this that says more than the directness in many of today’s songs, yet it’s still quite relatable and somewhat radio friendly-ish.
The (friendly-ish” is not just because of “Lipstick’s” failure and the fact that Runaway June consists of three females, but also because of the instrumentation. For those of you who don’t know, and have been introduced to country by “Body Like a Back Road,” those things you’re hearing–that’s a fiddle, and that’s a steel guitar. This is still modern-sounding and in say, 2005, even 2009, it might have done really well on radio. Hopefully it can manage to somehow do that in 2017, or at least sell well enough to get their album released. I am really excited about this group, and a debut album from them cannot come soon enough. For now, go listen to “Wild West.”
Written By: Jennifer Wayne, Justin Lantz, Billy Montana
Note: at the time I wrote this, this was on Apple Music but not Spotify, it may be changed now.