Friday, May 7, 2010

The JaneDear Girls, "Wildflower"

Here comes another all-girl act out to stop country music from being a boys' club. The new Warner signees, a duo composed of Susie Brown and Danielle Leverett, have just released their debut single to country radio. If you read the bio on their official website, it makes them sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread, describing them as "one of the most exciting new acts in the world of country music." It's tough enough for the solo gals to hold their own on country radio, but the female duos and groups have it even harder. No doubt, we're all wondering if the JaneDear girls have what it takes to stand up to the competition.
The lyrical theme of there debut single is one that we have heard all too much of - that of being oh-so-country! These lyrics are a disappointment on their own. The second verse describes mundane activites such as borrowing your sister's cotton dress, and painting your nails, which does not support the song's theme at all. In addition, "Wildflower" possesses a terrible flaw that is increasingly common to many songs of this type - a lack of connection between the song's lyrics and the song's production. The lyrics are all about being country, but the image is drowned out by rock and roll guitar riffs, and an obnoxious bass-heavy beat. While the fiddle solo does make the song a little more interesting, it still takes a backseat to the rock and roll elements. While the lyrics are screaming "I'm so country," the instruments are screaming "I'm so not country!" If Justin Moore and Jason Aldean were chicks, this is exactly what they would sound like. But I'm not a total country purist. I would compare pop and rock influence to butter on bread. When used in small and tasteful amounts, it can enhance flavor, and add to the overall appeal. But that doesn't mean you want to gulp down a big, fat wad of it! Besides, it's only logical that if an artist claims in song to be purely country, then the song's instrumentation should support that claim.

The JaneDear Girls' career is off to a poor start with this over-polished and over-produced single (Thanks a lot, producer John Rich). Despite the song's theme, it sounds like anything but country. And despite the song's title, there is simple nothing "wild," outstanding, or exciting about it. Instead of crying out "Hey, I'm a wildflower," maybe they sound sing "Hey, I'm a pansy planted in a neat little flower bed!"

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)