Getting Good, by Lauren Alaina
A few weeks ago I signed up for a lot of rankdowns in a music community I am a part of, and as a result I get tagged and requested to listen to a lot of songs I do not know at all. As someone who appreciates musical discovery, by and large I am not hostile to this phenomenon, but one thing it has been doing has been to expose me to a lot of music that I would otherwise not choose to listen to on my own, and this particular EP is part of a combined rankdown, so I figured I would review each of the projects on their own as well as ranking the songs in the rankdown as a whole. So, how does this EP fare when I am not familiar at all with the artist’s solo work?
The EP begins with “In My Veins,” which is a heartfelt but rather standard ode to not being able to take the country out of her regardless of where she lives, an admirable sentiment to me and an enjoyable song. The solo version of “Getting Good,” the titular track of this EP follows, a beautiful midtempo song about wondering when life starts getting good, and putting off contentment until that point, with lyrics that really hit home for me personally. “Somebody Else’s Problem” is a song that goes for easygoing but has rather tough-minded lyrics comparing a dysfunctional relationship to a lemon vehicle who gets traded in to be somebody’s problem and not the narrator’s. “Ladies In The 90s” is a girl power sort of song that expresses the singer’s frustrated desire for women to dominate country music as was in the case in the age of Shania and others. “Country In Me” is a beautiful and upbeat love song to someone who is country and brings out the country in her, the sort of love song that seems like it would be pretty relatable. “The Other Side” then closes the EP with a vision of eternity and the afterlife that the narrator relates from a loved one (presumably her father) who is dying, which prompts the desire to live a better life.
My feelings about this particular EP are somewhat mixed. I happened to like all of the songs in the EP a little bit, but I wonder about how they all fit together as part of a whole. The EP itself is short at only six songs, but has a wide variety of tones and moods, from the sort of feminist songs that I’m not really all that fond of hearing, given their strident tone, to songs that relate to love and heritage and faith that I am far more fond of, with the best song on this collection, at least to me, being the title track with its concerns about reflecting on life and when it starts getting good. I get the feeling that many people will listen to this album and wonder why more songs like this aren’t played on country radio, but while I am fine with listening to them on my own, I can’t help but wonder if I would change the station if something like “Somebody Else’s Problem” or “Ladies In The 90s” were playing because I would feel personally attacked by it. And I wonder if that concern helps keep music like this from becoming promoted more in Nashville. Sometimes a bit more honey and a bit less vinegar makes a message go down better.