The difference between country newcomer and country star can be one irresistible single, and 'Runnin' Out of Air' is that song for Love and Theft. Sure, 'Angel Eyes' was a No. 1 gold hit, but the new track from the duo's self-titled album is like a busted piñata that just keeps giving sweet goodness.

In a way, one's addiction to this song mirrors the helpless dependency to the girl Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson sing about in the song. Even traditionalists won't be able to keep from tapping a boot when the first hit of the snare drum melts into a funky guitar lick that sets the mood for what's to come. It feels a little wrong -- maybe even dangerous -- to fall so hard for something you know can cause cavities, yet here we are at the meeting of 'Runnin' Out of Air' junkies unable to quit coming back to the story.

"Girl I wanna run right to ya / Then I wanna run away / Girl I gotta hand it to ya / You know how to make me pay / Girl I wish I never knew ya / 'Cause every time I see you standing there / Oh feels like I'm runnin' out of air," the chorus goes. As words on paper, this isn't a brilliant lyric. If you've ever wondered why songs get nominated for Single of the Year and not Song of the Year, here's your answer. Add guitar, piano, mandolin and effortless harmonies, and you have a single that bursts out of the speakers. The two singers do more than enough to bring the girl they can have, but shouldn't, to life.

"You're hitting me like a wave / You cover me in the crash / I'm drowning in what you say / It's taking me under fast," they sing in the second verse. The next part is like getting to the center of a Lemonhead -- or a Tootsie Pop, if you're old school. It adds another dimension to think about later.

The boys sing: "As you're taking me down the hall you make it easy for me to forget / 'Cause you're saying everything you know I want you to say / I'm getting in deeper the darker it gets / The lights go out as the surface fades."

Something this sweet might send you to the dentist, but that's no reason to play Debbie Downer. It'd by hypocritical. Love and Theft have never pretended to be your grandfather's country band, and by embracing everything great about artists like Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift while adding their own unique sounds, they've created a single radio will still be playing years from now.

4.5 Stars

Listen to Love and Theft, 'Runnin' Out of Air'

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