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In late 1997 LeAnn Rimes came storming into the charts with her massive single How Do I Live written by Diane Warren and was also recorded by Trisha Yearwood to limited success compared to Rimes' version. Since then I havent been that impressed with a lot of her material and she hasnt had many big hits since.
Many of you might not know that she had recorded since she was 13 years old with her debut single titled Blue and had a big country following before her 1997 smash hit How Do I Live.
...Family, The Album...
This album was released on 9th October 2007 and The album has sold 434,300 copies worlwide so far. It is her msot diverse album of her career and the music ranges from country to pop to soul and contains collaborations with Bon Jovi and Reba McEntire and the lesser known Marc Broussard.
The album contains Fourteen tracks and the songwriting comes from Rimes herself along with contributions from Darrell Brown, Ed Hill, Dean Sheremet, Marc Broussard and Troy Verges.
...Track by Track...
This is a great start to the album and is about her family life and although you have struggles and disagreements with your family they are still your family. This has a strong country feel as you would expect.
2. ..Nothing better to do..
This is a more funky country track and the music sounds like KT Tunstall has turned country. A very catchy track with Rimes voice flowing brilliantly.
This is one of the slower tracks on the album and has a great anti fight message. It's basically saying put the bad things to one side and move on.
4. ..Good friend and a glass of wine..
This is another catchy country track and Rimes voice is flowing superbly. She has such a naturally flowing voice. This track is about letting your hair down and spending time with your friends.
5. ..Something I can feel..
This is probably the rockiest track on the album and has some great crashing drums and a catchy chorus. There's some great guitar work in this song which gives the rocky feel.
6. ..I want you with me..
This is a slow ballad about missing someone and wanting to be with them all the time. Something I'm sure all of you have felt at some point in a relationship. Great song.
7. ..Doesnt everybody..
This is another great track with LeAnn's voice flowing superbly through the lyrics. This is an uptempo track about even though people are so different they still have the same feelings. Superb. But what exactly is a tabloid life if you arent famous???
8. ..Nothing Wrong..
This track has a great country feel with rock guitar and this is the duet with Marc Broussard. It has a great fun feel and Broussard has a voice than gives you the impression he is a black soul singer despite him being white.
9. ..Pretty things..
This is a slow track with acoustic guitar and LeAnn showing off the lighter tone of her voice. Her voice sounds so effortless. A great track that develops with some soft drumming and backing vocals.
10. ..Upper Hand..
This is probably the weakest track on the album and just doesnt have the feel of the best on the album. It isnt bad but just doesnt have that spark that grabs you despite being a catchy uptempo track.
11. ..One day too long..
Quite magical. This song just shows off her versatility, everyone knows her as a country artists but this sounds like it was done by one of the soul greats of the seventies. A real beautiful track that is so well done.
12. ..What I can Not change..
This is one of the most different tracks musically. it has a long intro and then has a nice violin and piano part with LeAnn's voice sounding superb. A slow gem of a song.
13. ..Till we aint strangers anymore..
This features Bon Jovi and is a fantastic duet with both singers sounding very good and complimenting each other well. A very good duet. Jon Bon Jovi opens the track and then LeAnn sings her part. This appears on Bon Jovi's latest album Lost Highway.
14. ..When you love someone..
This is a duet with country favourite Reba McEntire, a very fine duet that is about what you do for someone when you love them so much. A great sentiment.
So there we have it, fourteen songs on the new album from LeAnn Rimes and my run down of those fourteen tracks. There are some parts that sound similar to Shania Twain, Hanson and others and she has done a lot to get back to where How Do I live took her. This is somewhat or a return to form for LeAnn Rimes.
I will be very interested to see if she can keep this going and whether her next album will be as good if not better. A few great tracks short of being five stars but well worthy of four stars.
LeAnn Rimes has in her time as a recording artist released 12 albums, and one greatest hits collection, not bad for a woman who is still only 25!
Having bought this album off the strength of the first single release Nothin Better to do, which hasnt had a huge amount of radio airplay - at least not on the stations I tend to listen to, but the video has been on seemingly permanent rotation on several music channels (hmm the attractions of a pretty blonde maybe?), and is a poppy country song about the ease with which you can get in to trouble living in a remote area.
Opening with the title track Family the album starts well, the country start becomes a rockier track which covers all the reasons a family is what it is, and how it is, certainly it seems Leann has been lucky enough to have a family who have kept her rooted despite her success.
Next up is Nothin Better to do, followed up by Fight, the first ballardish on the album, a nice track which would fit in to the commercial market quite nicely, and is the only of the ballards on the album which I wouldnt simply skip passed. It is a heartwrenching song about not wanting to fight with a lover as it wastes the time you could be enjoying together.
Fourth up is Good Friend and a Glass of Wine, a song which anyone should be able to identify with, though the government would probably denounce it as encouraging excessive drinking! Leann shows how its not only us plebs who need friends and a drink or two to unwind (and God knows Ive been enjoying a drink or two recently with my friends).
Something I can Feel is a more overtly 'country' song and tends to be when I hit the skip button, its too slow for my tastes, although the lyrics if you can listen to them hold alot of meaning. Another on the skip button is I Want You With Me, simply because at the moment it makes me cry due to the poinancy of the lyrics.
Doesnt Everybody has a similar theme to Family in that it is an observation that despite our differences people all want to have love, another poppy sounding song it has to be one of the best on the album.
Nothin Wrong is another more country song on the album, it is a duet with Marc Broussard and talks about the challenge pf staying faithful to a partner when faced with someone you fancy who isnt your partner. It has become quite firmly stuck in my head much to the dismay of my workmates who are sick of my tuneless singing.
But annoyingly it is followed up by Pretty Things which is another to have me reaching for the skip button. Talking about the things you think are needed to make to happy and feel better but really dont matter. Far too slow for my tastes it does however showcase Leann's vocal.
Slightly better is Upper Hand, another fairly slow song urging women everywhere to literally take control, of their man 'tease him like a tramp'. Sounds like fun to me.
One Day too Long relies on Leann's vocal and sends me for that all important skip button, as does What I Cannot Change, both being ballards which as I mentioned before I'm none to keen on.
The final two tracks are termed the Bonus Tracks, a phrase which always confuses me since they were on the original release so arent technically a bonus to anything.
Both are duets the first is with Bon Jovi, called Till We Aint Strangers Anymore is about the rebuilding process when a relationship has gone wrong, it is another slightly slow for my tastes and is best decribed as a power ballard. The second is called When You Love Someone Like That and is with Reba McIntyre. Phrased like a conversation after a girls has had her heart broken and another woman is comforting her, the voices of Rimes and McIntyre are very different and complement each other through the song.
Family is the first album which she has almost entirely co-written and putting aside the usual stereotypes about country singers is well worth a listen. The late middle section for me lets this down hugely, but the stronger end more than makes up for it. As a recent release it can be found in the usual places for around £10.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Nothin' Better To Do
4 Good Friends And A Glass Of Wine
5 Something I Can Feel
6 I Want You With Me
7 Doesn't Everybody
8 Nothing Wrong - Rimes, LeAnn & Marc Broussard
9 Pretty Things
10 Upper Hand
11 One Day Too Long
12 What I Cannot Change
13 Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore - Rimes, LeAnn & Bon Jovi
14 When You Love Someone Like That - Rimes, LeAnn & Reba McEntire