It's a shame when such a distinctive vocalist as RaeLynn dismisses thoughtful storytelling for merely surface-level, artistically-ineffective tropes. The singer's debut EP, simply titled ME, drops this week, and—much like her jarring, socially clumsy "God Made Girls" hit—it packs a half-hearted (albeit catchy) punch that leaves too much to be desired. "Kissin' Frogs" and "Boyfriend" are Taylor Swift castoffs, and rightfully so. Swift is a master of vivid and compelling images, fueled by her cheery optimism and romantic notions. Unforunately, RaeLynn's attempt at "Love Story" caliber fairytales only come across as children's fantasies. "Careless" is too middle-of-the-road to have any kind of significant impact, while the EP's closer "Better Do It" is contrived lyricism (made worse by electronic textures and her abrasive hip-hop-style phrasing). Sure, many of the melodies are pop-country earworms, but it comes at a cost of quality. She had the opportunity to make a bold statement, but she just doesn't.
It's rather careless, really, especially when RaeLynn has proved to have so much more to say. Since her run on The Voice in 2012, she has been digging her teeth into the songwriting community of Nashville and has previously performed some of those standout cuts, which somehow were left on the cutting room floor. "Love Triangle" (written with Nicolle Galyon and Jimmy Robbins) demonstrates her talents of emotional realism. The track is inspired from her experience with her parents' divorce (when she was only 3 years old) and how she grew up being caught in their crossfire. "Young" (written with Galyon and Leeland Mooring) is story about being young at heart and holding on to that for life. Here, her perspective is far more nuanced than anything you'll find on Me. Why these tracks (for starters) weren't included on her first-official introduction to the world is a mystery.
Grade: 2/5 (points for catchiness)
If you like what you hear, grab Me on iTunes now!
[PHOTO: Big Machine Label Group]
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