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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Rimes’ country throwback album falls short of expectations

In her much anticipated return after a four-year break from the stage and a publicized tumultuous restructuring of her personal life, LeAnn Rimes’ new album, “Lady and Gentlemen,” is a throwback to Rimes’ earlier discography but with only a mediocre outcome.

In her new album, LeAnn Rimes, well known for her country classic “How Do I Live,” tries to return to her country roots after experimenting with different mixes of genres, which resulted in an unsuccessful mixed pop-country sound. And her latest musical endeavor also leaves much to be desired.

The songs chosen for the album have no musical theme, which allows Rimes to experiment with different genres. While her faster-paced songs are enjoyable and uplifting, Rimes’ slower-paced songs, which make up the majority of the album, are not good enough to be anything more than background music.

While Rimes offers an adequate vocal performance, the album suffers from a lack of cohesion and poor organization. The album falls into a tedious pattern of fast song, slow song until the album no longer demands the listener’s attention. By the time the album ends with “The Bottle Let Me Down,” Rimes’ slow emotional ballad seems repetitive and generic.

Rimes excels in the upbeat songs that showcase her gravelly vocal tones. The album’s first track “Swingin’,” originally sung by John Anderson, is a strong start to the album, but the quality dips from there. Her jazzy cover of George S. Davis’ “16 Tons,” a coal mining song from the 1940s, is another highlight and is fun to listen to because of how rhythmic it is, but it feels like it should be on another album altogether.

“Lady and Gentlemen” also features two bonus tracks, “Crazy Women,” an electronic-country ode to women, and “Give,” a ballad to raise support for homelessness. Rimes deserves credit for linking “Give” to the general theme of femininity that she has made a personal motif in the music world.

Four years after Rimes’ last album, “Lady and Gentlemen” is not the welcome return that country fans have been hoping for, but at the very least, it’s nice to see Rimes back on her old stomping grounds.