Here’s an album that could be a carbon copy of Lila McCann’s Complete album. It seems like the same album, as the similarities are so striking: young, blonde, decent looking pop vocalist from Nashville makes a “country” album that thrills the fans and leaves the ones seeking some in-depth music just scratching their heads.
Jolie looks like a cross between Nancy Sinatra and Elizabeth Berkely of Showgirls infamy (not to mention Saved By the Bell, natch). Vocally, she sounds like Lila McCann and Britney Spears! Well, how interesting is that? A country lass who grunts out her words a-la Ms. Oops! Producer Dan Huff and a bevy of studio musicians such as drummer Chris McHugh, bassist Jackie Street, and guitarists Gordon Kennedy and Jerry McPherson helped out. And to keep things legit as always, a steel guitar and dobro were thrown in courtesy of Paul Franklin, as well as a fiddle and mandolin from Jonathan Yudkin. Together, these boys make polished pop country that roars up the charts and offers little in the way of meaningful music. Just shut up and shake, in other words.
Get ready for the bathetic lyrics. Aw, c’mon, you knew they were comin’! “I was minding my own business / Enjoyin’ the party, makin’ my rounds / One look you shook me out of my senses / Knocked me to the ground / Heart fall down”, sings Jolie in “Boom”. The chorus ends in the inevitably corny “Heart fall down go boom”. Lord, but who writes this stuff? Ah, this one was written by John Rotch and Shara Johnson. Heart fall down go boom . . . yeah.
If you’re looking for the typical “naughty” number, then Jason Sellers and Stephony Smith give it to you in spades as they hand Jolie “Let It Go” to cook through. You can just see the satin sheets smoking as she sings, “You said some things / I said some things / We’re not poets but the words were classic / We lost control / Body and soul / I can’t explain it but the kiss was magic”. I like to let the words speak for themselves when reviewing discs such as these. The valentine candy sentiments speak many more volumes on their own than this writer could ever conjure up in a lifetime.
Yet the smoldering continues in “You Make Me Feel Like a Woman”. Now let’s not get too close to that Shania Twain title, all right? Damn, but that’s what came to mind, even when Jolie was singing things like, “You make me feel like a woman / Safe enough to just let go / The way you touch me was like I was born for your hands / You make me feel like a woman / ‘Cause you love me like a man”.
This is what you get with Jolie & The Wanted: another safe, no-frills country pop album that has a whole bunch of songwriters and musicians putting their hands in the pie and creating one tasteless pastry. Again, you cannot blame the artists for these albums, as they’re only singing the songs given to them to record. Can Jolie break free from The Wanted’s and her tunesmiths’ restraints? Who knows? The fans will continue to love her music, and the rest of the world that includes me will continue to only wonder why.
// Notes from the Road
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