Friday, April 5, 2013

Crystal Bowersox-All That For This

Crystal Bowersox, who nearly won American Idol back in 2010, has no released two albums and will be starring in a Broadway musical about Patsy Cline. Critics argue that former Idol contestants have no shot at a career, but I'd say Crystal is doing pretty well.

All That For This, Crystal's second full length album, is exactly the kind of music you'd expect from this gal: folk and blues, with heartfelt lyrics and perfect use of instruments.

1. Dead Weight- This is the first single off the album and really sets the tone. Raw music, that's what this is. Her voice is smooth, a real treat to the ears. She's giving advice in this tune, telling listeners to let go of the things holding us down. I can't help but think of her Idol nickname, Mamasox. Because in this song it's like she's comforting all of us who have been hurt- just like a mama would.

And if you don't know, I'll tell you now. Just lay down your load and wipe your frown. Cuz if you're holding onto dead weight, it's just holding you down. Oh you're gonna sink or swim, you better let it go now.

2. Movin' On- Crystal's voice oozes with sensuality and croon in this one. She is sure to tell us that she's moving on and over whatever dude left her. I love the use of trumpet in this song, it makes the tune extra jazzy. At the end when she goes into that big run, you just want to stand up and cheer for the girl.

My head is heavy now, it won't let me down, keep it real, keep it undercover. Whoa, I'm moving on.

3. Everything Falls Into Place- Crystal's vocals own this song. It's a happy little diddy, sprinkling in hope and security for those who are doubting life or going through challenges. I just know this will be a crowd favorite at concerts. The bridge especially speaks to listeners, as Crystal sings...

everything that comes to me, even if it is a tragedy
Leaves me stronger than yesterday
Trust me, I've seen this before
Love and heart can open doors
And the pain will start to fade away

4. Home. Funny story about this song. I've been waiting for it to appear on an album for two years. Yep. I saw Crystal play live in the summer of 2011. She did a few songs from her debut album plus some Idol favorites. But she also sang  this song- she had just written it a few days prior and didn't even have a name for it. She asked the crowd what we thought the name should be. It was a cool, memorable concert moment for me and now here it is on her album. It brings listeners back to Crystal's roots, and the song is a feel-good, down home kinda tune. I'll be blasting it with my windows down this summer.

Sometimes we get lost, like a storm with no name
And I'll leave a trail behind me, everywhere I go
But home is the place where the green grass grows

5. Someday-Someday is a break up song, and Crystal's emotions are raw and real in this tune. She sings that she's not sure what else to do, so she'll write a song. There's no better way to heal a heart than to write about it, I say! It tells a story and it's a really great song and perfectly describes the confusion and hurt that comes along with someone leaving.

And of all the things you left
My heart's the one I'd wish you'd catch
You know everything's fine, 
Then again not everything's fine!

6. I Am- One of the more intimate songs on the album with Crystal's voice just a tad more raw and emotional than the other tracks- as if that were possible. She even sings about how real she is, and that she can't be perfect.. 

But I am real, I am all an easy emotional extravedies/That I see

7. Shine- Oh Lord Jesus this song. Hands down my favorite off the album, this song just gets me right in the heart. Crystal sings her heart out and throws it at us like she wants us to cry with her. I talked about this in my last album review, but I just went through a really nasty breakup, and this song echoes my every feeling. This emotion is the reason I adore Crystal.

And I'm gonna miss you\like you'll never know\I'm gonna live this life as if I'm singing my last show

8. Till The Whisky's Gone-This one has a bit of a rock country edge. It's Crystal telling this guy that she's not ready to leave or give up on them, not until the whisky is gone, admitting that she is empty without him. I love the use of drums in this song. Actually, all the instruments here are pretty stellar. The end is clap worthy, another good live concert song.

I thought that if I brought you here, we'd have a drink or two
Maybe I could change your mind, cause I'm still in love with you!

9. Amen For My Friends- This is a sweet ode to all the people who support us through life. We truly would not be able to make it without them, even the ones who aren't in close distance. Crystal perfectly describes that gratitude in this tune. Every lyric is relatable.

taking it all and 'this is building up inside of me
'Cause tragedy comes in waves and tides
Climb upon this boat and ride 
Saying a prayer tonight for the good in my life

10. Stitches is a duet with Jakob Dylan. Their voices are very different from one another, which makes the song unique and intriguing. It's a song about wanting to heal someone else, stitch them back up from the heartbreak. It's got an old school classic country feel to it, and I love the piano solo!

Tattered and torn in two
There's only one thing I can think of to do
I'll pull out my thimble, my needle and thread
And I'll stitch you back up like new

11. Here's Where The Story Ends- I'm hearing a little Alanis Morrisette in this track, but I could be way off. I dig the vocals, and it's probably the most produced song on the album. After listening to the song a few times, I think that this song is saying goodbye to a bad time in Crystal's life. I like that, it's inspiring and a good message.

12. All That For This- This tune is a bit more country twang, it's a sweet love story and even mentions her little boy. The song points out that they have been through a lot, but it's worth it because they are together and in love. How sweet. I hope I find that one day.

been through it all by now/but if trouble comes around again/we'll whether the storm/we'll be safe

The Band Perry- Pioneer

Pioneer is the second album for The Band Perry. Their first self-titled album, released back in 2010, was a huge hit. Five of the singles were in the Top 20. They are best known for the heart wrenching tune "If I Die Young".

Pioneer is a combination of country goodness mixed with rock edge. It's bold and brave, packed full of darn good music.

1. You Better Dig Two- This song was released a while ago as a single and did quite well. For good reason. It's uptempo and contemporary. The message of the song itself may be a bit morbid but hey, I like it, and I'll take it. I really "dig" the use of a banjo in the song.

If the ties that bond ever do come loose/if "forever" ever ends for you/if that ring gets a little too tight/you might as well read me my last rites

2. Done.- I'll be honest, this song was my motivation for purchasing this album. I was sitting on my couch watching American Idol and the Target commercial for Pioneer came on TV- they were promoting this song. I was intrigued. Probably my favorite song off the album, this next single is sure to be a big hit. It's fun, fiesty and angsty. As someone who just had her heart broken, I can totally relate to this song. And sing it. Loudly. It's a super catchy tune, so play it loudly and get ready to tap your toes. Plus, there's a wicked cool guitar solo.

you're one bridge I'd like to burn/bottle up the ashes and smash the urn

3. Don't Let Me Be Lonely- This tune has a bit of a Sugarland vibe to it. That's a good thing- Sugarland knows how to make those hits, and I think Don't Let Me Be Lonely will be a hit for The Band Perry. It's a catchy, sweet ballad. I think most people can relate to the lyrics here, wanting someone to save us from that lonely feeling. It's a little bit of desperation, but not in a bad way- in that sweet, yearning way.

well there's nothing to hide and nothing to prove/give me all that you are/you've got nothing to lose/just don't let me be lonely

4. Pioneer-The song starts off sweet, soft and with a bluegrass twist. Like a classic country song, with beautiful harmonies and instruments. It picks up toward the end, becoming a little bit more uptempo and Kimberly's vocals get a little more intense. I like the change, it makes the song more powerful. I get goosebumps every time I listen to this one. I don't know a lot about The Band Perry, but I like to think that this song is an ode to their fans.

I won't hush, no you can't make me
Send the dark but it won't break me
You can try but you can't change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
I won't hush, no we will sing

5. Forever Mine, Nevermind- The arrangement of this song has a definite rock edge to it, heavy on instruments and rhythm. The vocals are unique, going in and out with the beat of the music. I can just picture fans singing wholeheartedly along to the "na na na" parts of this one. I love the lyrics in this one, telling the story of a heartbreak.

Oh I'll forget the day
I saw your face
I lost my way
I trusted you, I trusted
All your lovely words
They were a curse
You piece of dirt
I trusted you, I trusted you, I trusted you

6. Nights Gone Wasted- Picture yourself at a bonfire with country music blasting, everyone has a beer in their hand and dancing. This song will be playing. I promise. It's super catchy, a bit of an anthem, and the PERFECT song for summer. The use of drums and electric guitar is pretty genius here. It's just a fun song about going out and having fun. Who doesn't love that?

let's do our best to get out of hand

7. I Saw A Light- This beautiful ballad describes that feeling you get when you meet "the one". I've never had that feeling, but I imagine this is exactly what it feels like. Beautiful harmonies on this track! The bridge is catchy and almost suspenseful. You can picture the "meeting" happening right then and there.

Maybe it was just the way the wind blew
Maybe it was God and his Son too
But in that moment I know that I knew
That I, I found you

8. Mother Like Mine- This song is a sweet sentiment to the band's mother. It's a pretty song. Reminds me quite a bit of the Kristy Lee Cook tune "Like My Mother Does", but that could just be because they both have similar titles and are country. Regardless, sweet song with adorable lyrics.

She's the sky that holds the clouds
She's the lady of our house
We all need her
But no one more than me

9. Chainsaw-This song will do well at summer concerts, especially with women scorned. It's sassy and fiesty much like "Done". Catchy and very much country, it's a great song...although I admit, not one of my favorites.

 remember what you said that night
That you would love me for the rest of your life
We wrote forever with a pocketknife
But forever's goin' down tonight

10. I'm A Keeper- This one could be a radio hit. I love the message behind the lyrics- basically singing about  being strong, even without a lover, we're still gonna do our thing and darn it, if you don't like it, too bad! This one definatley has that 80's rock vibe.

But with or without you
My only plan is to be free
With or without you
I'm still me

11. Back To Me Without You- I love this song so much. I love how it starts off with the piano. One of my favorites tunes, and it's the best ballad on the album. While Kimberly talks about what happened, her brothers echo in the background with "get back to what you know, get back to what you do", as if they are pumping her with advice. This song PERFECTLY describes the intense loss and grief you feel after breaking up with someone. It's a bit haunting and intense, very emotional. My favorite lyric of the entire album is on this song:

I added rain to your ocean / What did it do? / I meant nothing to you / You made grief my chief emotion / Why’d you have to do what you thought you had to do?

12. End Of Time- This ballad finishes the album in a perfect way. It's a good ole country ballad, dropping references to Alabama and Sweet Tea. Vocally perfect.

pick up your phone/I need an answer/ Come back home, call off disaster/Cause I fear tonight our Cotton Land might fall/I'm cracking like the plaster on the wall

Target Bonus Tracks
I am so happy I purchased the Target deluxe version of this album. There's some extra amazing tunes that you'll miss out on if you don't get it!

Once Upon A Time- Holy. Freaking. Moly. I wish this song had made the cut for the original album. It's fantastic. It nearly caused me to get in a car accident, because it nearly perfectly describes the situation I am currently in. This song is very jazzy and bluesy, showing off Kimberly's chops in a major way.

Why didn't you show me? Why didn't you let me know? Why didn't you hold me? Why can't you let me go?

Lucky Ones- Very much a country tune, catchy uptempo and fun to sing along with. Kimberly's vocals are sassy and gritty in this tune.

Why do we believe in every little thing that rips us at the seams?

Peaches and Caroline- A sweet little love song. Makes me wonder if "sweet caroline" has anything to do with the story in this song, considering the words you're so sweet, the troubles of the day fade away to peaches and Caroline. But my favorite lyrics from this one are the simple words

you are my safe and sound

Gonna Be OK-A favorite of mine, Kimberly's voice sounds a bit like Kelly Clarkson in this inspiring tune. It's uplifting and encouraging without being boring. All of us hit a low point, and all of us need songs like Gonna Be OK to pull us through.

hey, everything is gonna be ok. May God kiss your weary face. Everything is gonna be alright, let peace be yours tonight.