First Watch: Ashley Monroe, 'On To Something Good' This confident, sunny romp of a song proves Monroe's ready to take on the bro-country establishment.
NPR logo Ashley Monroe, 'On To Something Good'

Ashley Monroe, 'On To Something Good'


The book above which Ashley Monroe's big eyes peep in the first few seconds of this video is a volume of This Fabulous Century, a Time-Life book series published in 1969, organized around decades and celebrating pop-cultural fun from Charlie Chaplin movies to the Andrews Sisters to the Twist. For this optimistic romp of a song from her upcoming second solo album, cool-country darling Monroe takes viewers on a similar visual time trip in vintage outfits like a California-style cutout caftan, leatherette biker chick garb and a thrift store counter's worth of costume jewelry. Monroe presents herself not as some kind of model but as a collector, stacking up vinyl to buy in a record store and driving a classic Pontiac. In the vision she and director Rachel McDonald have created, style is what a woman cultivates to better know the world around her and to move through it with authority.

The sunny rocker "On To Something Good," co-written by Monroe, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, surprised Monroe fans when released as a single in March — it's much more pure-hearted, and frankly commercial, than the honky-tonk hard talk from her 2013 debut album Like A Rose. Moodwise, it's almost like Shania Twain. That's a good thing, though: A confident and pop-adventurous Monroe is one ready to take on the bro-country establishment, and with that new album due in July (around the same time Kacey Musgraves makes her return), this could be a fabulous summer for country's cutting-edge young female stars.