Like A Rose
Label: Warner Bros.
Behold the year's first critically adored country album -- deservedly so. Best known for her tenure in Miranda Lambert's throwback trio Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe's tart, fearless twang lights up these sharp tales of tragedy (first line: "I was only 13 when Daddy died"), marital negotiation ("Weed Instead of Roses," possibly NSFW), room-spinning intoxication ("The Morning After") and heartbreak ("She's Driving Me Out of Your Mind"). In the feisty closer, "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)," Blake Shelton boasts, "I'm the guy they wrote about in Fifty Shades of Grey." Awesome.