Lindsay Ell, "Criminal"
Guitar shredder Lindsay Ell cracks the Top 40 for the first time, updating the sounds of Y2K-era pop/rock – think Michelle Branch, Matchbox 20 and the rejuvenated Liz Phair – for country audiences. Sugarland's Kristian Bush makes a cameo as the song and its album's producer, stacking the arrangement high with vocal harmonies, keyboards and interlocking guitar arpeggios. "Criminal" focuses not on Ell's playing, though, but on her voice, which packs as much of a punch as her fretwork. R.C.