March 14, 2014

Sara Evans "Slow Me Down" Review

Since I've been working on the school newspaper, I've been doing a lot of reviews lately for concerts, albums and movies. I've also been doing recaps lately of Parenthood for PopWrapped. So, I feel like just about every form of art that I consume, I look at it a bit more critically than if I was just to watch or listen.

But, I digress…

Over the summer, I saw Sara Evans in concert (FOR FREE) at The Grove and was front row! Crazy, right? Anyway, it was such a fabulous concert from start to finish. She has a good voice, but her vocals really blew me away live. After hearing a couple of her new songs that night, I was very curious to hear the new album. Now that I've heard it…I'm obsessed! It's so good. 

Overall, I would say Sara has explored more of the pop elements in her voice, but most of the tunes still stay true to her country sound. Time for a breakdown of each song.

Slow Me Down//
Though, it's obviously a bit more pop, it still has her traditional sound, as well as some of the country essence in there. I heard this one back in July and really loved it!

Not Over You (Cover and duet with Gavin DeGraw)//
This is one of my favorite Gavin DeGraw songs, and while I do appreciate that he "duets" with her, it sounds more like he's just doing backgrounds. The arrangement and key she does it in seems a bit off for both of them to make work. 

Put My Heart Down//
I also heard her sing this one, and while it is a bit repetitive, it's SO catchy and you can't help but sing along. It's about knowing when a relationship, or more specifically someone, who is bad for you and just asking them to let go, so you can move on. But, it has a more positive message than "you broke my heart, I'm never going to be able to let this go." I also love that one of its writers was Liz Huett, who used to be one of Taylor Swift's back-up singers, and she is one of the sweetest people ever! This will probably be that one song you'll have stuck in your head for a week or so straight.

Can't Stop Loving You (with The Fray's Isaac Slade)//
This song has such a beautiful melody about what else? Love…It perfectly captures everything that one feels when they're in love or so I've heard. The strumming of guitar and the blending of Sara and Isaac's voices harmonizing are extremely easy on the ears.

You Never Know//
The intro has some rock flavor to it and almost sounds like it could've been a Jennifer Nettles song. There's a very sultry, bluesy feel towards the chorus and as the song builds. 

If I Run//
There's a sort of thematic element to this song that I just can't seem to get enough of. When I listen to it, I can picture it in the climax of a sweet romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts. I'm so rooting for this to become a single at some point. It starts off low and simple, then builds to something powerful and dramatic, where the narrator (or Sara herself) is laying her feelings all out on the line. 

Sweet Spot//
Pardon the pun, but again, this tune is sugary sweet, complete with "oooh's" and whistling in the background. It's the perfect theme for that couple who has finally found love and the right one that they want to spend the rest of their life with. I picture a couple sitting on the porch swing while the dog plays in the yard and the kids are screaming, but through it all, the couple makes it works and loves at the end of the day. 

Good Love Is Hard To Find//
Well, ain't that the truth?! This is one of the most "country" songs on the album,with a slow melody, starting off with an electric guitar and a banjo joining a few seconds later. I'm a very visual person when I listen to music, and I envision this one on lake with twinkling lights set up, while a couple dances at their wedding, meanwhile there's a young couple having a special moment to themselves on the dock not too far away, thinking that could be them somewhere in the future. This is definitely the kind of song you want played at your wedding. Another one I'd be rooting for as a single. It has everything a good country song is all about.

Better Off (feat. Vince Gill)//
In contrast to the last song, country music is all about heartbreak. This is a heartfelt ballad about a bad relationship that you're just simply better off without. Why pay attention to that guy any longer? It's just not worth the time. There's also more twang in her voice on this one, which I appreciate. I wish we could hear a little more of Vince Gill, but he always has such great background vocals, that true fans will still be able to spot him.

Gotta Have You//
This sounds like another traditional Sara Evans song. I would classify it as country/pop; another Jennifer Nettles sounding song. But don't let the slower melody at the beginning throw you off, as it builds with a mouthful of words that Sara rattles off with a steady beat and rhythm that will have you grooving. Catchy, fun, and colorful.

Don't let the title fool you that it's going to resemble a hymn or end on a bit of more solemn note. If anything, it wraps everything about this album up with a shiny bow on top. It will make you want to put your robe and singing along with the "hallelujah's."Though it deals with faith and belief in God, everyone can relate to the universal theme of love and the miracles that life brings to each of us personally. There's even a bit of a banjo twanging away in the background which ties it all together.

The first half of the album seems to pay homage to the feel good, "poppy" sounding songs that make you want to dance and grab your loved ones, while the other half gives you those songs that tell a deep story and tug at your heart in deeper ways. You'll laugh. You'll smile. You'll tap your foot and bob your head along. You might even want to grab tissues to reminisce on past love.

Vocally, Sara is at her best and this could be just the beginning of really great things to come for her career. Do yourself (and your family) a favor and go BUY her CD! You won't regret it.

*****/***** --I give this 5/5 stars! I do hope this album gets her more recognition, because she really has a fantastic voice and the country music genre needs all the true vocalists that it can get.

That's all for now,
Shelby :)

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