A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Julianne Hough, known for her appearances on So You Think You Can Dance, delivers garden-variety, family-safe country songs. One track deals with the issue of helping a friend deal with substance abuse. The others address themes of love and relationships with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
What's the story?
Julianne Hough has a sweet voice and the support of an excellent band on her self-titled CD. She's also got good-ole-girl spunk to spare, nestled squarely in the country-pop genre. Her pleasant voice, spiced with searing guitar riffs and sparkling B-3 fills, deliver family-safe, Christianity-assumed lyrics. Themes of addiction abound; sometimes it's addiction to alcohol (as in \"Help Me, Help You\"), but more often it's addiction to love (as in just about every other track).
Is it any good?
Julianne, a multitalented singer/actor/dancer (the type that often starts out as a singer/actor/dancer/waiter), does a credible job bringing empathy and substance to songs that, with a couple of exceptions, are catchy but formulaic. Obsessed with a retro and tiresome addiction to love ("I'd jump off a cliff, cliff, cliff just to kiss your pretty lips, lips, lips"), or a "girl, take care of yourself" message ("He's a stranger, but he's tall and he's cute; Girl, am I getting this right? Didn't we go over this ground last week?"), all slam their points home with sledgehammer subtlety.
One exception, "That Song in My Head," is a standout because rather than trying to express sweeping emotions with dramatic overkill, it describes one lovely moment in time: seeing a cute guy playing air guitar on the back of a pickup truck and not being able to get the image out of your mind. Who hasn't been there?