40 Best Country Albums of 2014

The greatest statements from the year's outsiders, small town heroes and American middle class

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Sunny Sweeney, 'Provoked'
40
9/40

9. Sunny Sweeney, 'Provoked'

Sunny Sweeney is a spry, pugnacious, but nonetheless well-named Texas firestarter whose cheerfully roadhouse-incinerating third album starts with "You Don't Know Your Husband" (like she does) and ends with "Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass" (which includes you). In between, she dabbles in delicate yet forceful pathos of both the boudoir and global variety; "Used Cars" and "Second Guessing" are lovely odes to vastly superior second marriages, "Bad Girl Phase" is a raucous bachelorette-party anthem par excellence, and the loping "Backhanded Compliment" is just uproarious, with our heroine suffering small-talk indignities from "I hope I look like you when I'm your age" to "It's too bad that you have not had more success." That'll teach you to call her underrated. R.H.

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