Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why do you think they call me Melisimatic?

I honestly don't know what's come over me over the past few months. Blame it on Taylor Swift, I guess, because pop-country music has slowly started seeping its way back into my iTunes rotation.

Don't get me wrong -- I am a ride-or-die pop and R&B chick for life. But Taylor Swift, sometimes pitchy, always kind of nasally, and all, managed to change my perspective on poppy country tunes.

For the readers who are a little bit younger and aren't as familiar with 90's Top 40, which was when I really came into consciousness musically, Shania Twain was all over the place (and the charts). Her Come On Over album alone stands as the best selling country album of all time (although her genre title of "country" is a bit unfair -- she is very arguably a pop artist). Take a listen and tell me it doesn't feel good. It was because of Taylor (and the Jonas Brothers' completely bewildering cover of "I'm Gonna Get You Good") that I began to revisit Shania's tunes and they are just as fantastically pop/country as they were then.

First Taylor, then Gloriana, the country group that will soon be touring with Taylor that also features former solo singer Cheyenne Kimball, and now, the girl I truly believe could be the true second coming of Shania -- Jessie James. While Taylor and Gloriana still seem to be very country with a potential for pop crossover, Jessie James walks the line between pop and country unabashedly just like Shania did just a scant few years ago, and the tracks that I have heard are very reminiscent of that. Why, you ask? Because Jessie, like Shania and unlike Taylor, has a stronger, more melodic voice that I find much more enjoyable than listening to "Should've Said No" anyday. In fact, Jessie is downright Christina Aguilera-esque at times...especially in this upcoming album track, "My Cowboy".

The first I heard of Jessie was a track called "Blue Jeans" for the Confessions of a Shopaholic soundtrack. It was modestly good, a bit too country-fried for my tastes. Then came the first single, "Wanted", which fizzles with poppy honkey-tonk. The chorus gets stuck in my head so often, its borderline ridiculous. (And FYI - it was co-written by James and Kara DioGuardi -- she strikes again!)

The second single, "Bullet" (co-written by that gnat that just won't go away, Katy Perry -- I really think she should stick to writing for other people), will hopefully continue her momentum as "Wanted" is somewhat of a slow burner. However -- she could burst out of nowhere just like her labelmate, Kristinia DeBarge...It also has the adorably country and bottom-line amazing line: "Why do you think they call me Jessie James?/Too much trouble, better stay away/.../I'm a bullet and I'm headed straight for your head/Be careful what you start".


Poster Girl said...

Yes yes yes! Both melodically and lyrically, the "why do you think they call me Jessie James?" section is my favorite part of "Bullet," which I'm really hoping does well (as I'm hoping for "Wanted," too--it has "summer fun" written all over).

Shania Twain and Come On Over was just as important a marker of what was going on at particular moments in my life just as much as any other pop act. The album really still stands up as a pretty great listen, in my eyes--it deserved to launch the incredible number of singles it did.

Mel said...

Poster Girl - I totally agree. It kind of makes me sad that Shania isn't getting her due. It was thanks to her and Dolly Parton that Taylor Swift or even Miley Cyrus have any kind of crossover attention right now. Shania was the one who made pop country cool.

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