Early last week, I saw the traffic for this blog skyrocket. I was puzzled when I saw that this was due to more than 10,000 views in one day of an old Kellie Pickler single review. Bewildered, I dug a little deeper and found that the visitors had come here after searching for Mindy McCready, who I had mentioned as an aside in the review.

Now, I don’t care for gossip and scandal, and I wish all those visitors were coming here because they were interested in Mindy McCready’s music. So I’m using McCready to kick off a new feature: Six Pack. In each Six Pack, six essential singles or tracks will be featured by an artist or on a particular theme.

Mindy McCready made some great music back in her day, and I look forward to hearing more from her. Quite frankly, she deserves to be known by her work, not her personal life. Check out these six solid moments from her career and you’ll see what I mean.

Guys Do it All The Time
from the 1996 album Ten Thousand Angels

McCready’s signature hit found her channeling the girl power spirit of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine”, which had been a #1 single the previous year. She turns the double standard on its head, dismissing her annoyed partner’s anger that she’d been out too late. The cheeky record was praised by no less a great than Reba McEntire, who said that she wished she was the one who could sing that song every night.

Maybe He’ll Notice Her Now
from the 1996 album Ten Thousand Angels

Maybe it was a bad omen for the future that this was the only one of four singles from her debut album to miss the top ten. She plays against the young and perky image she’d already established with her first two singles here. Her sincere vocal makes this ballad shine, as she compares herself to a painting in the hallway that goes by unnoticed by her man, just like she feels she is. Richie McDonald from Lonestar contributes harmony vocals.

The Other Side of This Kiss
from the 1997 album If I Don’t Stay the Night

A perfectly crafted pop-country song. It builds steadily, starting with only a hint of instrumentation, gaining momentum during the bridge and exploding into a candy-sweet chorus. It’s one of her most confident and forceful vocal performances. When country radio didn’t embrace this, they missed out on a gem.

If I Don’t Stay the Night
from the 1997 album If I Don’t Stay the Night

McCready earned a strong following among young girls with her debut album, which was perfectly tailored for a youthful market. When recording her second set, she said she was thinking about her responsibilities to that audience, and she wanted to get a message out to those young girls who were listening. She did so with this track, which finds a young girl being pressured into sex before she’s ready, and wondering “will the rain wash our love away if I don’t stay the night?”

All I Want is Everything
from the 1999 album I’m Not So Tough

It’s hard to go wrong with a Matraca Berg song, especially one drenched with fiddles. A wish list of a self-proclaimed greedy girl, McCready turns in a list of demands both emotional and material. After all, she sings, “I don’t need me a big ol’ diamond, but baby I’ll take it if you insist.”

from the 2002 album Mindy McCready

McCready previewed her only Capitol album with this evocative pop-flavored ballad. She practically whispers the verses, as if singing out of the corner of her mouth, before letting out a wail on the chorus. A hit that should have been but wasn’t. Don’t be surprised if Faith Hill or Sara Evans turn it into a smash sometime in the future.