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Described by its producer as a “labor of love,” Names is actually an inadvertent exposé of the downfall of commercial country music, now more treacly than even the R&B slobberfest down the dial. While it’s common to blame country’s sterility on ultraslick productions and Garth Brooks’ love of Journey and Styx, this compilation makes it clear that the real culprits are the songwriters. A dozen of these sub-Hallmark hacks bare their banal lyrics on demos that make for an excruciatingly difficult easy-listening experience. With titles like “Love a Little Stronger” and “I Know How the River Feels,” these wretched exercises in cheap sentiment and bad rhymes come with melodies ready-made to sell trucks or tampons. Less than a generation ago, Nashville boasted such tunesmiths as Dallas Frazier and Harlan Howard, who penned songs that now sound as ancient and enduring as Child ballads compared with this greeting-card trash. Then you realize that in other hands these songs were actual hits that human beings hummed along to and you wonder if maybe Wynonna is more than just a female Elvis impersonator after all. Tie for most godawful couplet: “She tests every word like a fine wine/She holds every thought like a last dime” (Gary Burr’s “Silence is King”) and “She was workin’ at a diner just a week ago/When a man from Colorado smiled and said hello” (Pat Alger’s “She Came From Fort Worth”).—Eddie Dean