Artist: Cassadee Pope
Album: Frame By Frame
1. Good Times
3. Wasting All These Tears
4. I Wish I Could Break Your Heart
5. Everybody Sings
6. You Hear A Song
7. This Car
8. One Song Away
9. Easier to Lie
11. Proved You Wrong
You may know Cassadee Pope from her former band, Hey Monday. The news that this adorable little rock sensation would be going solo came as a surprise to fans everywhere. Winner of Season 3 of the incredibly popular talent show, The Voice, she’s got nowhere to go but up. What came as even MORE of a shock, though, was that, rather than continue with her pop/rock sound, she decided to explore her country roots. When switching from rock to country, there are many speculations about how the artist will sound. I will give two examples, one successful and one not-so successful. Kid Rock put out his “Rock N Roll Jesus” album in the Fall of 2009 and, while it was very successful on the charts, the sound he produced with that album just did not live up to his standards. Despite that, the album was his first no. 1 album on the Billboard Charts and stayed that way for several weeks. In a way, you can call it success, but to me it almost felt like he sold out. An example of an artist that went country that has been WILDLY successful is Darius Rucker, better known as “Hootie” from Hootie and the Blowfish. With hit songs like “History in the Making”, “Come Back Song” and “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”, you wouldn’t expect a man with a voice rooted in the alternative rock scene of the 90s to sound so incredible in the country genre, but he is very easily one of the most well-known artists in the genre these days, right next to names such as Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. My point in these comparisons is that, with a switch like this, there are sounds that are successful and some that are borderline sellout material. Cassadee Pope has definitely fallen into the category of successful, already hitting in the top 10 with her single, “Wasting All These Tears” which she performed on The Voice. Her debut album, “Frame By Frame” on her new label, Big Machine Records is full of gems like these. I have seen many compare her to Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and other female country artists but the fact of the matter is, she is her own person. She has always taken her lyrical content from personal experience and molded it into songs that really capture the listener’s heart and “Frame By Frame” is no exception. From the incredibly catchy, upbeat opening track “Good Times” to the empowering closing track, “Proved You Wrong” this album doesn’t disappoint on any level. If you’ve ever been a fan of her before, you will really embrace the adaptation to the genre and the way she’s grown as an artist. I truly believe that she was meant for country and this album absolutely solidifies that opinion to me.
Lyrical Content: As I stated earlier, Miss Pope has always sang out of personal experiences and has a way of capturing the listener’s heart, as well as the ear. Starting with the opening track, “Good Times” which is, just that. The track is about living life to the fullest, “I wanna sing about the good times, come on let’s rock it til the sun shines. Now that you got it, don’t you waste it. Ah, can’t you feel it, can’t you taste it? I really wanna put a smile on your lips like an 8th grade kiss. Put a swing in your hips, come on move like this. And sing about the good times, the good times.” Then you’ve got songs like “Wasting All These Tears” and “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” which are tracks that deal with the subject of heartache, but more embracing it and moving forward. Throughout the album, you’ll get a taste of several subjects, but I will let you discover some of her incredible lyrical genius for yourself.
Instrumentals: For this subject, I will mainly express how impressed I am with how her vocal ability has morphed for this genre. You still hear the sweet, lovable Cassadee Pope we’ve all grown to know, but in terms of range, longevity and overall presentation, her voice has never been more perfectly suited than for this genre. The high notes she hits are unlike anything I’ve ever heard from her previously, the lyrics are sung with such precision and such heart that you will feel every syllable the way she did when she wrote the album. Now, in terms of instrumentals, you get a perfect mix of pop and country that really embraces her sound and further projects it.
Overall: This album is definitely album of the year for me and here’s why. Rather than selling out and writing what people thinks she should write and embracing a sound that isn’t rooted in who she is, she has managed to be herself and write what she feels. Sure, labels put a lot of pressure on you to write something that sells, but it’s clear that Big Machine has never been one of the labels who is overly pushy in the matter of writing about certain subjects. This is why the artists on their label are some of the very few I listen to in the genre these days. If you want an album that will put you through the emotional wringer, you will definitely want to pick yourself a copy of “Frame By Frame”. Whether you’re looking to dance, cry, harmonize or empower yourself this album has it all. Pick up “Frame By Frame” on October 8th on Big Machine Records/Republic Nashville! Also catch her new docuseries, “Frame By Frame” Fridays on CMT at 10/9c!