Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stealing Angels, "He Better Be Dead"

If you've heard anything about this group, then you've probably heard who they're related to.  Tayla Lynn has a grandmother named Loretta, Jennifer Wayne had a grandfather named John, and Caroline Cutbirth is a descendant of Daniel Boone.  Any group that is fronted by Loretta's granddaughter must be either extremely talented or extremely overrated.  Fortunately, the former seems to be true in this case.  Tayla's distinct voice bear a slight resemblance to Grandma Loretta's, and her performance is brimming with spunk.

But while the group definitely has potential, the material they choose to sing falls slightly short of matching up with their talent.  On the bright side, "He Better Be Dead" is full of attitude.  The song's narrator is angered over the fact that her lover has failed to call her, even after her repeated attempts at texting him.  Throughout the song she describes a variety of acceptable excuses for his ignoring her.  Such excuses include being dead, being held at gunpoint, having been kidnapped, and car hanging over the edge of a cliff.  The lyrics soar over excellent bluegrass-influenced production - the work of renowned producer Paul Worley, who has produced artists such as Martina McBride, the Dixie Chicks, and others.

The lyrics do have a few rough spots, however.  The opening line - "I texted him 21 times and still my phone don't ring" - really needs to go.  It detracts from the lyrics by making the narrator seem like a clingy and obsessive flake who has an over-active imagination.  That makes it harder to take the narrator seriously.  I suppose the songwriters might have thought that a texting reference would give the song a modern edge, but it hurts the song rather than helping it.  Besides, if you really have something important to say to your significant other, don't text and wait for him to call - just call!  That line would have been easier to forgive had it not been repeated at the end of the song (only by then the number of ignored text messages has risen to 22).

The song is not quite a perfect gem, and it probably won't be the one song that this group is remembered for, should their career go anywhere.  But it is still a decent introduction to a talented group, and I look forward to hearing what else these girls have to offer.

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