One of the many The Voice alumni from Team Blake, RaeLynn is still looking to establish herself in country music. Why country music? A because she was coached by Blake Shelton. B because country radio is so diverse in pop sounds and influences that even RaeLynn’s bad pop music can find a home. I’m going to be frank, the production of this EP is rather awful. Where other “country” artists like Lady Antebellum or Sam Hunt released albums that featured decent pop music, RaeLynn’s new EP, titled Me, is crappy pop music combined with country elements. RaeLynn also clearly shows that she’s singing songs for young, teenage girls, further polarizing herself from the general country population. There are only five songs here, so I’ll break them each down.
“God Made Girls”: This song faced quite a bit of criticism from Josh and I last year. And, rightfully so, the song was nominated for worst song of 2014. I can’t really say anything new about this song without beating a dead horse, so here’s a short snippet from Josh’s original review of the song: “This song is insinuating that girls were made to look pretty and basically be objects for guys. Isn’t that what these lines are saying? A girl should live up to the stereotypes.”
“Kissin’ Frogs”: The basic premise of this song is that RaeLynn doesn’t want to tie herself down right now. Eventually she’ll find Mr. Right and they’ll live happily ever after, but for the time being, she just wants to have some fun. There’s a lot of fairy tale references: “I don’t need a mister trying to fit that perfect slipper on my foot” and “right now there ain’t nothing wrong with having fun and kissin’ frogs.” Also she specifically cares to mention “making out” as what she means by having fun to further confirm that this is meant for a young demographic. The song starts out with some nice banjo and mandolin sounds, which are quickly abandoned for a roaring pop beat in the chorus. And newsflash, RaeLynn still can’t sing, and the chorus sounds worse due to the fact that she’s borderline screaming. In fact, the second verse starts out with “right now the only thing that matters is the radio and screaming every song.” At least RaeLynn is a little self aware here. Yet sadly I could see this song faring well on country radio since the bar for quality right now is set so low.
“Careless”: As far as pop country goes, “Careless” has a rather safe, friendly sound. It’s the least annoying of the five. There are some pop effects with the melody, but overall it’s not bad. And in the hands of a better singer, it could actually sound like a good song. Lyrically, the song’s about one of those rotten relationships where the guy cares too little and keeping the ever-pining girl still hoping and waiting for things to change. Here RaeLynn ponders, “Maybe if I care less, you would care a little more.” The song still features a girl wanting a guy who’s probably a jerk, but the chorus flirts with the idea of her wanting to turn his attitude on to him “I bet if I turned this heart off, baby, it would turn you on. I bet if I blocked you, you’d be blowing up my best friends phone.” Oh, joy, yet another reference to “blowing up phones.” As empowering as “Kissin’ Frogs” and “Better Do It” are for girls, “Careless” is a song that confirms to girls that they should still try to make the guys care for them, regardless of how the guys really feel.
“Boyfriend”: RaeLynn has a crush on another girl’s boyfriend, but she’s not going to take him away. RaeLynn will just sit back and wait for the inevitable end of this relationship because she can see in the boy’s eyes that he’s also pining for her. The lyrics here are terrible. There’s a random name drop of Shania Twain that serves absolutely no purpose to the song or story. There’s also a line about how what’s meant to be will always find a way to be, which is bothersome because there’s no indication that this relationship has a forever feel. The worst part about this song is that RaeLynn does spoken word on the border of rapping. She can’t even sing, let alone rap. And yet, the rapping continues in the final track.
“Better Do It”: Just to get through the good of this one, the empowerment of the song that I referenced before is that RaeLynn wants her guy to make up his mind. Basically, you said you’re going to leave, so leave because I don’t want to deal with your mind changing every other minute. Now to the ugly: the fact that I was able to sit through the whole three minutes of this atrocity is shocking. If the CIA wants some approved torture techniques, put this song on repeat at full blast. The first words we hear are from an annoying, distorted voice, presumably RaeLynn, saying with a valley girl sort of attitude, “If you say it, you better do it” over and over again. And that phrase is repeated all over the song. RaeLynn also borderline screams in the chorus, before she raps the bridge at the end. Throw in the awful pop production of this song, and I’ll claim that this song is worse than “God Made Girls.” It’s a way-too-early nomination for worst song of 2015.
This is the main problem with country radio’s current identity crisis. Now that bro-country is on it’s way out, we’re basically at a point where the producers don’t yet know who to target. So it seems to be a time where they’ll release a little bit of everything to see what sticks. RaeLynn’s Me EP is without a doubt targeting young teenage girls. And the worst part she’s targeting them with conflicting messages. Songs like “God Made Girls” and “Careless” reaffirm years of stereotypes and attitudes women should have in respect towards men and relationships. However, songs like “Kissin’ Frogs” and “Better Do It” have more empowerment to fight those stereotypes behind their messages. And as if I haven’t said this enough, RaeLynn cannot sing or rap. I can’t see how the general mass of country fans can buy into her. It seems like producers are trying to recreate early “Tim McGraw” and “Love Story” Taylor Swift with RaeLynn. Yet, RaeLynn appears to be too immature. Taylor Swift did show some maturity in some of her early songs, but even songs where she didn’t, there was an easy listening production to them. Me is incredibly annoying in its production, and with RaeLynn’s immature, pandering lyrics, I don’t see how anyone over the age of sixteen can find enjoyment from this EP.