Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Album Review: The JaneDear Girls

Perhaps the first and most obvious problem with this album is that The JaneDear Girls are not particularly strong vocalists.  Thus, they attempt to mask their vocal weaknesses with all of the bells and whistles that modern-day Nashville has to offer.  Bring on the catchy melodies and hooks!  Lay on the heavy drum beats and bass lines!

As weak as the lead single "Wildflower" may be, it is an unfortunately accurate representation of the album's overall direction.  Besides being another dime-a-dozen tune from the "I'm so country" file, it kicks off the album on a loud and obnoxious note.  The quieter moments are few and far between.  "Shotgun Girl" might have enough of a hook to touch your catchy bone if you don't mind more unnecessary name-dropping (This time they're "cranking Waylon, Willie, and Merle").  "Merry Go Round" is easily the worst track on the album, with overblown production (Thanks, John Rich) and heavily auto-tuned vocals turning it into one enormous headache.  The unbelievably cheesy "Sugar" isn't much better.  There are a few tracks that are more listenable than the rest, such as the ballads "Saturdays In September" and "Never Gonna Let You Go," but the lyrics still ring hollow and generic.  The album can't claim any genuine standouts.

In general, the album fails in just about every area one can think of.  Susie and Danelle's songwriting suggests that they have virtually nothing to say.  John Rich's cacophonic production hammers it pretty far into the ground, but there just doesn't seem to be much talent to work with anyway.  The JaneDear Girls an album that is mildly tolerable at best, and woefully unsalvagable at worst, leaning toward the latter much more than the former.  Just to be clear, why exactly is country radio playing this?  Why can't we just have Trisha Yearwood back?

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