March seems to be looking like the month of mediocre pop. There have been quite a few debut singles, which on the whole tend to be more commercially targeted than subsequent singles or non-single tracks, so that could explain it.
Piece by Piece is Kelly Clarkson's first album of only original songs since Stronger in 2011, which had Billboard-top 10 singles Mr. Know It All and Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You). It's also the last American Idol contractually obligated album for her. The lead single, Heartbeat Song, didn't do nearly as well as many of her other singles, lead or not. So, the stakes are high.
I recently saw Lori McKenna in concert when she was promoting her latest album, Numbered Doors, and since I bought a signed copy of her album and talked to her, I figured I'd review her album on my blog. I've previously reviewed songs she's written with other artists on this blog, such as RaeLynn's God Made Girls and Caitlyn Smith's Everything to You and Grown Woman. She, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey make up a songwriting trio called the Love Junkies. Her own album is much less produced, but maintains the beautiful lyrics and music I've come to expect from songs co-written by her. Also, this album makes me cry. And it takes a lot to make me cry over music, for the record.
Katrina Stone is one-half of the Americana/singer-songwriter group The Likes of Us along with Benj Heard. She's created a lot of music on her own, too, and is frequently featured on the music-sharing site Noisetrade. I didn't really follow her solo career, but when I received a newsletter about her new project, I thought I should check it out. Generally, I've found her songwriting to be hit-or-miss, but this project is certainly a hit.
After a very bubblegum pop EP, more than a year of waiting, and so many pushing-offs of the release date (November 17th to February 3rd), girl group Fifth Harmony's debut album is finally here! It features collaborations with Kid Ink, Meghan Trainor, Tyga and credits songriters and producers such as Stargate, Dr. Luke, Cirkut, Harmony Samuels and Julian Bunetta. Unsurprisingly, it's full of songs that will be on repeat for days or weeks for their fans. The pleasant surprise is the overpowering message of girlpower, with songs that aren't pining over guys like in Leave My Heart Out of This and Who Are You from Better Together. Instead, the girls know their worth now, and a general theme of the album is "I know what I deserve, and you can leave if you don't give me it." There is still plenty of room for improvement on the lyrical front, however, and it's notable that this album actually features no tracks co-written by any of the members.
Against the Current is one of those rare Youtube acts that gets millions of views on their videos pretty fast, probably thanks to how they've toured with and been featured in videos with Alex Goot. They don't post videos very often compared to other artists, but when they do, they're excellent. They've recently released their latest EP, which has a alternative rock feel.
Meghan Trainor: One-hit-wonder. Or maybe not, considering that her debut album (if you don't consider her previous independent releases) peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Scratch that, definitely not. Overall, Title is enjoyable, notwithstanding the songs that seem to be on there with the sole purpose of crowd pleasing or applying to the most listeners possible. I especially enjoy seeing the songs that connect to country music, recruiting Nashville co-writers such as Brett James and Caitlyn Smith, and name-dropping the Bluebird Café.
About the Blog
Fountain Pen Girl Album Reviews is a blog writing track-by-track reviews of new popular and independent music with a focus on female artists. The main genres that are covered on this blog are pop, country, singer-songwriter and alternative music, focusing especially on independent artists and female country artists. Enjoy my blog!
View archives by genre, artist and other tags here.