Sitting Pretty On Top Of The World, by Lauren Alaina
It admittedly took me a bit of time to get back to this third part of the rankdown of Lauren Alaina’s latest album. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to the artist, and I figured it would be worthwhile to just listen to the album and get it done, so here it goes. I have to admit that my initial impression of the artist from two EPs was not entirely positive. To be sure, there is certainly a group of people who might be able to relate to this material, but it’s not really written with me in mind. The artist’s material indicated she had a somewhat schizoid approach to her background and some notable tendencies towards problem drinking and strident feminism, two sorts of things that I really don’t have any interest in cheering on. Does this album offer those things or something more enjoyable?
This album begins with the mournful and reflective, “It Was Me,” which takes some surprising responsibility for a relationship gone wrong. “If The World Was A Small Town” contains a somewhat downbeat look at how it is that leaving a small town made it harder for the narrator to stay in relationships. “Getting Good” is taken from the EP of the same name, but has been turned into a duet with Trisha Yearwood that I don’t like quite as much as the original. “Same Story, Different Saturday Nights” is a rather melancholy tale of drinking at a dive bear with other broken and unhappy people. “On Top Of The World” is a song about drinking and not being over someone but pretending to be sitting on top of the world. This song gives the title to the album and certainly shares the general downbeat mood of the album. “Run” and “What Do You Think Of?” are both taken from the “Getting Over Him” EP. “I’m Not Sad Anymore” shows the narrator over her ex but where the ex is trying to get her back once again. “Getting Over Him” is taken from the EP of the same name and fits here just as well. “Good Ole Boy” is a downbeat song about the titular boy who broke her heart and didn’t love her that well. “When The Party’s Over” is a song about rejecting someone who only calls her when he’s drunk and alone, which fits the general mood of the album. “You Ain’t A Cowboy” is a tell-off of a drunken player that is rather repetitive in rhyme scheme. “Goodbye Street” looks back on another dysfunctional and broken relationship with beautiful instrumentation, at least. “Written In The Bar” is a look at the sort of subpar romance you find with fellow alcoholics and barflies. “Change My Mind” is a cautionary encouragement to a would-be partner to woo her and make her fall in love.
This album is an example of a case where the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Each individual song on this album is a well-crafted piece of professional Nashville song, and some of them are immensely beautiful (admittedly many of them holdovers from Getting Over Him), like the album closer. But when these songs are all put together the album as a whole is a gloomy and depressing listen about a problem drinker whose own bad behavior undercuts her attempts to lay the boom on the unworthy sorts of men she tends to find at the bar getting drunk on a Saturday night. This album is just not appealing, and yet the singer has too strident and fierce of a persona for me to pity her, which I would be prone to do. I would just hope she left me alone while I drank ice water and sweet tea and had dinner while she was trying to complain about her worthless ex, but I am really not in the mood for this. The artist may have enough material for the occasional compelling EP, but this album is a dire and dreary listen.