What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kellie Pickler's lyrics are as clean-cut as she appears to be. This small-town girl delivers gentle messages of empowerment and also knows how to have a little fun. "Wild Ponies" addresses the issue of relationship abuse, and "I Wonder" expresses heartbreak over an absentee dad.
What's the story?
On her SMALL TOWN GIRL album, Kellie Pickler rushes out of the gate with "Red High Heels," declaring to a deadbeat boyfriend "You thought I'd wait around forever but baby get real ... I'm about to show you just how missin' me feels/in my red high heels." The strong country-rock beat and sassy tone are suited to the American Idol runner-up's perky country chirp; the track succeeds on the basis of its good-natured attitude more than anything close to brilliant songwriting or performance. One bright light in her songwriting is from "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind" ("that joke is too dirty, this steak is too thin, that car is too fast, this beer is too cold"). It's clever and funny, and shows Pickler at her best.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, Pickler doesn't stick to material that allows her to strut her best stuff. Several cloying, overly slick ballads are several too many. "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You" is pointless and whiny and only serves to emphasize vocal weaknesses. "Wild Ponies" delivers a poignant story about a woman's emancipation from an abusive relationship, but the lyrics are so banal and corny that the message loses potency. Pickler and her producers might do well to consider the fact that you don't have to hit your audience over the head to get a point across.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the ways in which Pickler uses her voice on this album. Should she stick to the kinds of songs she performs well, or is it brave and cool that she tries her hand at ballads that are currently beyond her vocal and dramatic abilities?