It seems as if Cassadee Pope has been trying to find her musical ground for the past couple of years, as her fans (or “Cassettes”) may have been struggling to understand her move from pop-rock tweendom to country stardom. And, as The Voice hasn’t necessarily seen any of their winners achieve radio or Billboard chart success, that may have changed with Pope.
Although Pope has received a strong musical backing from fans during her pop-rock days fronting the band Hey Monday, she’s beginning to make waves within the country radio world, having her first single “Wasting All These Tears” reach No. 25 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. This is such a great feat, considering the fact that the country charts are dominated by men with Pope being one of four women in the Top 30. She’s a prevalent force for women in country today. [Source]
Her debut album as a solo artist feels like a myriad of moments from Cassadee’s life, which Pope herself says captures the inspiration behind its title. Frame by Frame has a blend of pop-rock tunes infused with classic country sounds, and has enough power and sentiment to hold true to Cassadee’s life.
Opening with the feel-good, single-ready ‘Good Times,’ you’ll find yourself bobbing your head along as Cassadee sings, “I really want to put a smile on your face,” which she most successfully does. It’s followed by ‘Champagne,’ another equally head-bopping tune, lending way to the well-known ‘Wasting All These Tears,’ providing a lovely shift into the slower-driven more sentimental part of Cassadee’s album.
There are enough songs in-between that keep tugging at the country or pop-rock route, though, we can’t help but feel its cookie-cutter quality. In ‘Everybody Sings,’ we get another very pop-driven, feel-good tune featuring callbacks, echoes and communal shout-outs tied with country gimmicks such as stomping feet and fiddles. In ‘You Hear A Song,’ however, we get more sentiment as we see a glimmer of her journal-like writing, singing of the insecurities any girl may feel as Pope croons, “I see a mess in the mirror/you see the girl of your dreams.”
Pope still has many special moments throughout, as her voice enough is what carried her to Voice success, with its power, sweetness, and sentimentality felt within the album.
Perhaps the stand-out song of the album is ‘11,’ a deeply personal and genuine song stripped down to an acoustic guitar and the occasional fiddle. Illustrating for us the time her father had left her family, she shows us a more emotional and vulnerable side that is not often seen in a lot of music and radio today. Heightened by its country sweetness, Cassadee’s voice most truly shines in this song, as everything decides to take a step back as her voice carries the song along. Sometimes, you don’t need all those fiddles or kick-drums or overused drumbeats.
One thing for sure is that this album is entirely honest. Behind all of the foot-stomping and distinct country sounds, this album stands within the fine lines of pop-rock and country–something true to Cassadee Pope. We get enough of her pop-like Avril Lavigne powerhouse vocals in many of her songs, as well as the more distinct, softer sounds, melodies and storytelling feats of country. This album is a testament to who Cassadee has been, how far she has come, and whatever transitions and events and lessons learned she has gone through in life. This album, in one way or another, is a journey for her and a perfect platform to start off her solo career, featuring songs that capture her infectiously fun, silly, and quirky personality as in ‘Good Times,’ her sweetness, sentimentality, and singing chops in ‘Wasting All These Tears‘ and ‘11,’ and perhaps the pop-rock soul that was borne into her with ‘Everybody Sings‘ and ‘Proved You Wrong‘–a song that she had written back in her Hey Monday days and pocketed ever since.
Many may not call this country, while others may feel weirded out by its country twang. But, what makes the album so much fun is that it captures Cassadee as all that she is–a girl having fun who is sometimes a little insecure, but is ambitious, head-strong, and excited to start in a new world while still keeping close and stringing along the old. How can you go wrong there?
This album is just so darn fun. And sometimes, in life, we just need something that makes us feel good (as well as remind us of where we’ve been and gone). All’s good with Cassadee Pope!
What’s very endearing about her physical album is that, not only does it capture some shots of Cassadee with accompanying lyrics, what lies underneath the CD itself is a full-out letter with Cassadee’s personal thanks to all her family, friends, and those who have helped her most create this album–both personally and professionally. An entirely humble soul who realizes her blessings and rocks, it’s such a sweet touch and surprise to find under the CD. :’)
rachelcansea Oct 8, 2013
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