By Hannah Compton
I remember sitting at home watching American Idol when Lauren Alaina auditioned – she was instantly likeable. Her fun-lovin, go-getting attitude won over the viewers in seconds. Her personality, confidence and sense of humour made her unforgettable and then of course, there was the singing. Her voice was flawless as she wowed the judges with Faith Hill’s Like We Never Loved At All followed by an impromptu duet of Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing with Steven Tyler.
After placing second on American Idol to fellow country star Scotty McCreery, Lauren went on to gain success and scored a record deal releasing her debut album Wildflower via Mercury Nashville which had a hit singles with Like My Mother Does and Georgia Peaches.
The Road Less Traveled is Lauren’s second album and will be released January 27th. Lauren does not disappoint with this album. Produced by award-winning Busbee (Lady Antebellum, Maren Morris, Keith Urban) the quality is up there with some of the best artists in Country pop today such as Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie Underwood and should dominate the charts. Lauren has really grown as an artist and as a person over the years and her voice has become much stronger and experienced with a tone that shows more maturity, confidence and edge.
Lauren co-wrote all 12 songs off the album which makes the album that much more interesting and believable. Lauren pours her heart and soul into this album and opens up about her past, showing us her vulnerable and emotional side, her personality, experiences, fears and her strengths.
Collectively, the album is somewhat of a letter to her younger self and to her fans, a young womans diary.
The Road Less Traveled is a brave, truth-telling, and gripping album with relatable, deep, meaningful and inspirational lyrics that will no doubt resonate with many fans and make a difference in their lives. Lauren is like the big sister of Country Music and to her fans – making her the perfect role model for young people.
The whole album will make you want to get up, dance, face your fears, battle your demons and enjoy every minute of your day. It has a great mixture of really up beat, fun-lovin, motivational tracks and heartfelt beautiful ballads. There are no bad songs on the album, no fillers, just decent music and it showcases a much broader talent that we knew Lauren had but just hadn’t seen before.
If you like country pop then you should love this album.
A few of the tracks are available now, some of which were on her self titled EP such as Next Boyfriend, Painting Pillows, Holding The Other and Road Less Traveled. I have featured the songs off the album that stood out most to me.
Doin Fine – this song has a great country, twangy intro which sets the mood and gives you an idea of what to expect from the album. It’s a fun, young spirited track which reminds me of early Taylor Swift and artists such as Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery.
My Kinda People – this song is very much a single worthy track with a real up beat, sing along chorus. It has fun, inspirational lyrics. Lauren sings about how anyone who is up for a bit of harmless fun, people who aren’t afraid to be different are her kinda people.
Don’t matter if you got some issues, if you’re clean cut, or covered in tattoos.
On the inside or on the out, ain’t what you look like,
it’s what you’re about.
Three – This is by far one of my favourite tracks off the album. I love this song. This has such a beautiful ballad with a simple yet stunning piano intro and a wonderfully melancholic yet glorious melody. The lyrics are really nice to listen to and shows a slight insight to Lauren’s world within the industry and how isolated she can feel after spending so much time away from home and from loved ones just to have a 3 minute song played on the radio. The lyrics are clever but sad and regretful when she sings of the sacrifices she’s made to pursue the career she has but the song is also optimistic when she sings of it’s benefits like her success and the support of her family.
Six years of missing home, for Three minutes on the radio
Road Less Traveled – a very catchy chorus in a great, fun, inspirational, anthem like way. It has a nice, powerful melody and Lauren’s vocals really shine. I know that this song was very personal and important to Lauren as is about the struggles of individuality and self acceptance. Lauren fought a hard battle against bulimia which nearly ruined her career and life but she came through it a stronger woman and this song takes us into that fight.
If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled
Wear out your boots and kick up the gravel
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled on
The video for this song takes fans on a journey while Lauren revisits her younger self as she battles with self acceptance, self image and the pressures society has on how one should look and be.
Same Day Different Bottle – this heart breaking and difficult song (subject wise) has been in circulation for a few years now but only in the form of a live version. The song is written about Lauren’s father and his battle with alcoholism and how drinking can create a whole new, unrecognisable person in the most painful and hard to handle way. The lyrics are quite dark and heart-rendering, understandably so, showing the effects drinking can have on the people surrounding the addict, not just the addict themselves.
A live performance of the song premiered on Nov 4th 2013 as part of CMT’s Next Women of Country. Writing it whilst her father was in rehab, Lauren desribes the song as almost like being in therapy. As I often say myself – Music is a healer, not just for the listener but the writer too.
This song gave me chills.
Oh Jim Beam, makes you mean
A couple shots and you’ll be ready for a fight
When I look into, those bourbon eyes
I see a man that I don’t recognize
I wish you would, be a little bit stronger
And I wish I could, turn that whiskey into water
Pretty – a very moving song that gives us a real insight to the pressures the industry can give you. Lauren describes what Pretty means to her and encourages those who struggle with self acceptance with her lyrics. This is a song that you need to listen to every word as it is a song that really builds up your confidence. Lauren faced difficulties within the music industry after her appearance on American Idol when they tried to make her change in order to fit within their expectations. This song is influenced by that time in her life.
Beautiful is who you are, when no-one’s watching it’s your heart that should be the only one to tell the story, cause the rhythm that it’s beating is your glory
I hope that this album gains the credit and chart success it deserves. Don’t underestimate Lauren Alaina, she is a talent worth watching, listening and following.
You can pre-order The Road Less Traveled here :
Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina
Road Less Traveled track listing:
1. Doin’ Fine (Lauren Alaina, Emily Shackleton, busbee)
2. My Kinda People (Lauren Alaina, Emily Weisband, busbee)
3. Three (Lauren Alaina, Seth Ennis, Jordan Reynolds)
4. Road Less Traveled (Lauren Alaina, Jesse Frasure, Meghan Trainor)
5. Queen of Hearts (Lauren Alaina, Lindsey Lee, Victoria Banks)
6. Think Outside the Boy (Lauren Alaina, Emily Shackleton)
7. Painting Pillows (Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Jack Rimes, Alex Masters)
8. Next Boyfriend (Lauren Alaina, Emily Weisband, Matt McVaney)
9. Crashin’ the Boys Club (Lauren Alaina, Emily Weisband, Johan Fransson)
10. Sam Day Different Bottle (Lauren Alaina, Caitlyn Smith, Dan Couch)
11. Holding the Other (Lauren Alaina, Emily Weisband, Eric Olson)
12. Pretty (Lauren Alaina, Felicia Barton, Emily Weisband)