It’s been over five years since Lauren Alaina released her debut full-length album, Wildflower, and while many other artists would struggle to remain in the forefronts of people’s minds in between projects, Alaina has mastered the art of retaining relevancy like no other. Between Alaina’s incomparably powerful and pristine voice, bubbly personality, and ability to make everybody feel like her best friend, the onesie-wearing twenty-two year-old has kept fans, attracted fans, and nurtured fans as she geared up for the album that would change her life.
Yes, Road Less Traveled marks Alaina’s sophomore offering, but the collection of twelve songs is so much more than a record — it’s a heartbeat reduced to words and put to music. Stripping herself down emotionally and letting the aforementioned fans into her life in a way like never before, Alaina uses her lyrics and performance quality to share pieces of herself in the most special of ways. Though thousands are currently listening to the title track and other jaw-dropping cuts on repeat, each person who lends an ear to Alaina will feel intimately connected to the singer-songwriter, as if she is confiding in just them at that very moment.
Of course, since Alaina is one of the most energetic, fun-loving artists you can meet, Road Less Traveled contains songs that reflect her appreciation for a good time. “My Kinda People” and “Crashin’ the Boys Club” are toe-tapping, smile-inducing tracks that give Alaina the opportunity to flaunt her fun and flirty side, while also proving that this incredibly strong vocalist can use her natural instrument to get a party started. Lead single off the album, “Next Boyfriend,” and lead track on the album, “Doin’ Fine,” are catchy and contagious and take the mid-tempo road, likewise giving Alaina the opportunity to use her talent to be cute, playful, honest, and expressive, somewhat bridging the gap between the carefree lyrical deliveries and the more serious topics covered.
On the other side of those middle ground tracks are deeply-rooted songs, including the standout “Painting Pillows,” “Pretty,” and “Three.” An immediate favorite from the Lauren Alaina EP, “Painting Pillows” still proves to be one of Alaina’s most remarkable and noteworthy performances to date, showing off the voice that is one of the best, by far, in the industry, as well as an innate ability to connect with listeners.
“Pretty” seems to be somewhat autobiographical for Alaina, sounding much like a letter to her younger self. Less than a year ago, Alaina came clean about her struggles with an eating disorder, admitting she didn’t recognize herself anymore. The final track on the album serves as a reminder that what’s on a person’s outside pales in importance to what somebody has within and will become a go-to song for many young girls who are afflicted in the same way Alaina was years ago.
Though Alaina filled her album with meaningful songs, it was “Three” that I found particularly relevant at this point in her career. “Three” shares with fans the kind of sacrifices that go into a job in music that they oftentimes aren’t able to see from their seats in the crowd. It isn’t uncommon for an artist to miss monumental moments in his/her family members’ and friends’ lives because of the behind-the-scenes obligations and “can’t say no” gigs, but Alaina doesn’t complain about these adversities. Instead, she keeps her head down, continues to work, and pledges to miss out on others’ memories to create her own with her supporters. And, for what it’s worth, the three years was time well spent, as Road Less Traveled is undoubtedly going to be the catalyst for three more years of success, memories, and big career moments for Alaina.
Lauren Alaina’s Road Less Traveled is available now on iTunes, all other digital retailers, and streaming sites.