Monday, November 29, 2010

LeAnn Rimes, "Crazy Women"

You can't escape LeAnn Rimes these days.  Thanks in part to the recent upheavals in her personal life, her face is all over the supermarket tabloids, and she is all over television with performances on America's Got Talent and a host of other programs.  She's everywhere.

Everywhere, that is, except on the radio, which hasn't given LeAnn much love since 2006.  Her recent cover of John Anderson's "Swingin" was apparently too cool for country radio, stalling at a faint #56 on the Billboard chart.  "Crazy Women" might not be the song to put her back on radio playlists (It even contains a word that's not very radio-friendly).  Still, it has plenty of strong points that are hard to ignore.

Kitty Wells told us long ago that "From the start most every heart that's ever broken/ Was because there always was a man to blame."  LeAnn Rimes seems to agree, delivering a modern spin on a familiar message - "Crazy women are made by crazy men."  And just how crazy can these women get?  Crazy enough to burn down a bar with Aquanet and a cigarette?  You'd better believe it.  The bitter lyrics, as well as LeAnn's delivery, are dripping with snark and sarcasm.

Yes, she is a cheater.  Yes, she is a homewrecker.  But there is one thing that LeAnn Rimes does not do - something that countless other artists are found guilty of every day - pandering to country radio.  Clearly, LeAnn is above that.  You can almost hear her taunting country radio with each new single release ("So you're gonna ignore me, are you?  Are you?!  Well, fine - Ignore THIS!")

Granted, "Crazy Women" is not the first tune to tackle its theme.  It's not a completely airtight attempt either, as the instrumentation is slightly lacking the energy that the lyrics call for.  But while it doesn't break new ground lyrically, it does show that it's not afraid to break the mold of country radio.

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