Kree Harrison: All Cried Out
They say specificity is the soul of narrative, which would mean Kree Harrison's first post-'Idol' single 'All Cried Out' lacks soul, or narrative. The ballad is a showcase for her vocal range and power, but it's never made clear why the Texan is so bummed.
Harrison performed the song during the final performance episode of Season 12 of 'American Idol,' and she received positive reviews for her performance. Once again she delivers, in that regard. The 23-year-old is a wonderful talent who's capable of great things when she can first connect emotionally to a song.
While she does a better job of this than she did at different points during the television show, it's not quite the cathartic moment of triumph one expects.
"I'm all cried out / I let it run like a river / But it's empty now / And the only consolation is that I can lie here in this bed / And put these memories to rest somehow / 'Cause I'm all cried out," Harrison sings with increasing power during each chorus.
The verses fail to tell any sort of story. This leaves the song open to interpretation, but it also leaves it open to indifference. "They say when the last tear comes / You can tell by the way it falls / It's like seeing everything for the first time again," she sings to begin the song.
The second verse starts her path to overcoming whatever difficult circumstance was troubling her: "I never knew I had the strength / 'Til I finally hit the ground / The I had to make a choice to get up or stay down / For crying out loud."
Was it heartbreak, death, bankruptcy, finishing second on 'American Idol'? One can't be certain. While Harrison says country music is her future, this song is aimed at a wider audience. Carrie Underwood did something similar — her first single 'Inside Your Heaven' was a dud on country radio, but things seemed to have worked out for her since. It remains to be seen if Harrison can find the songs to follow a similar career path. She has the voice, but many great singers have been forgotten after never finding great songs to sing.
Country's own Kree Harrison was revealed as the runner-up on the twelfth season of 'American Idol' in the dramatic finale Thursday night (May 16), and in an interview after the show, she shared some of her future plans.
"We have the tour, which is so exciting," Harrison tells MTV News. "I get to travel the country and thank each and every one of them for voting for me and getting me this far. As many hugs as I can possibly give, I will."
The Texas native performed a new song, 'All Cried Out,' on 'Idol' Wednesday night, and she says it's pretty indicative of the album she hopes to record. "I would want that to be my single, either way," she states, adding that she might be debuting even more new material during the 'Idol' tour this summer. "I hope to. Stay tuned!"
Harrison hints that her future music plans could include departing 'Idol' judge Randy Jackson. "We'll see each other. I know we will," she says. "I love him and apparently we have a mutual friend, which I didn't even know until the other day. And, so I would love to work with him in the future. I adore him."
The American Idols Live! tour kicks off on June 29 in St. Louis.
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Single Review: Hunter Hayes - "I Want Crazy"
"Storm Warning" introduced Hunter Hayes to the Country Musicworld. "Wanted" became his first #1 and multi-platinum hit, "Wanted" introduced him to the rest of the USA. "I Want Crazy" is going to introduce Hunter Hayes to the world.
Mixing celtic-like guitars, mandolins, banjos and fiddles into a sound that recalls The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" (or Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You"), "I Want Crazy" is a lyrically interesting and sonically different songfor him. It is showing artistic growth without totally leaving his place in Modern Country Music. "I Want Crazy" has some rapid-fire lyrics in the chorus that help sell the song even more.
Yes, Hunter Hayes has a soulful voice that's more R&B than Traditional Country but that's fine in this Modern Country Music world we're living in and as far as earnest, big sounding and romantic love songs go, "I Want Crazy" is perhaps the best love song I've heard come to mainstream country radio this year.
It's lyrics -- Hunter co-wrote the song with Lori McKenna and Troy Verges -- are stronger than most of the songs on country radio and the melody is interesting. There's not a chance in the world that Hunter Hayes doesn't score a massive hit with "I Want Crazy." Few songs are immediate and star-making. "I Want Crazy" is one of those kinds of songs.
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Brad Paisley: Wheelhouse
Wheelhouse is a different album for Brad Paisley. It's not a record many thought the singer -- who was very comfortable working with Frank Rogers behind the producer chair -- would ever make. After experimenting with idea of working with outside producers (including Butch Vig and Alan Moulder), Brad decided to handle the production chores.
Inspired by Dave Grohl's recording of recent album "Wasting Light" in his converted Garage studio, Brad hired a contractor to create his studio and then created Wheelhouse at the barn now named The Wheelhouse." Instead of using outside bands, Brad did something that Tim McGraw has often done and that's to record with his touring band, the Drama Kings and only relied on outside musicians Gordon Mote (for "Tin Can On A String" and Hunter Hayes who guests on Guitar during the track "Outstanding In Our Field"). The latter song was performed on the ACM Awards and features Dierks Bentley.
Does all of this new self-produciton work? On some songs, yes. One thing he does with his band is that while expanding his sonic palate, he does so without losing his country music influences. His guitars are played throughout the record, the Drama Kings provide strong musicianship and harmonies throughout the record like lead singles "Southern Comfort Zone" and "Beat This Summer" but in other places Brad's humor comes off as trying too hard ("Accidental Racist," "The Mona Lisa," "Harvey Bodine") but that doesn't mean the record doesn't contain potential hits like "I Can't Change The World," "Outstanding In Our Field" and "Runaway Train."
Wheelhouse is a record that Brad Paisley had to make -- it's a record that every artist of his stature needs to make -- at some point in his career. It's certainly risk-taking in many places and certainly instrumentally interesting but it still feels…lacking. Perhaps it's the long running time of 17 tracks (21 for the Deluxe edition) that helps give this feeling or perhaps it's just too ambitious for an artist not exactly known for being all that ambitious. Whatever it is, I hope that Brad maintains some of the juju found on this record -- the explorations of other genres w/o abandoning Country Music's bedrock instruments -- and reigns himself in a little bit on his next album.
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