Cassadee Pope, why must you rip my heart from my chest? With her latest release, a song called "11," the 23-year-old musician showcases her remarkable songwriting talent. Co-written with producer Nathan Chapman, the plucky mid-tempo is an emotional glance into her parents' divorce when she was a tender pre-teen. As a "buzz" single, this definitely serves its purpose as an offering from her forthcoming Big Machine debut record "Frame by Frame," out Oct. 8. With criticisms over her sudden interest in country music, this song could finally put to rest those often unfounded claims.
Decidedly more country than her current single "Wasting All These Tears," this song (hopefully the next single?) strikes at the core of what makes country music so great. It tells a story, steeped in depth and human vulnerability. There's something about experiencing tramautic events (yes, divorce can be tragic) at such a niave age. When you look back, you can see clearly for the first time. "11" is about losing that innocence in a world of maturity and being forced to grow up sooner than you'd like (or should ever have to). Cassadee even touches on trying to help her mother through the experience, trying to fix something that even wasn't her fault.
With guitar underpinning, this song harkens back to Taylor Swift's first record, her 2006 self-titled release. There is a sweetness to the way Cassadee relates the story to the listener, but her voice drips with pain that only experience could wrought. With 12 years in the rear-view mirror, she has grown wiser and is able to tell the story with sincerity. There's nothing fake about this. Her emotions are real.
With country radio in a state of hip-hop flux bolstered by beer and party songs, "11" is simply a breath of fresh air. It's intimate feeling is a nice contrast to the often boisterous productions of radio's biggest hits, leaving the listener drained (in a good way) after multiple repeats. If PDs catch on, this song could be huge for her career.
"I was a little too young and a little too dumb to ever think the day would come when dad would drive away and take his love with him," she coos on the chorus (tears, folks, tears!). "So, I grew up fast in a whole new world, waved goodbye to that little girl. I can see her now – innocent and 7. I wish I had never turned 11."
Note: This is a song review, as opposed to a single review.
Overall Grade: A+
Take a listen: